Sichuan Fortune House spices up the rather bland offerings around Pleasant Hill, with authentic Szechuanese food and a menu that’s almost a dead ringer for that of Chowhound fave China Village. Apparently, Sichuan Fortune chef/owner Ben Zhang was once a head chef there.
The knockout dish is the spicy/numbing dan dan noodles—Melanie Wong thinks they’re even better than China Village’s version. Maple would say the same of Sichuan Fortune’s chile-and-garlic-laden water-boiled fish, for the complexity of flavors.
Tea-smoked duck sautéed with roast chile has an “intriguing mixture of flavors (rich, fatty, smoky, white-hot),” says pastramiking, and “cumin lamb was well-seasoned with jalapeños and small dried red chiles.”
Hounds also recommend XO sauce lamb, cabbage, and pork clay pot, and Chengdu spicy prawns.
The owner says the kitchen tends to default to a less spicy mode, given the local clientele, so speak up if you want them to really bring it, Szechuan style. “My sense is that the kitchen is best at the style of dishes that have a wallop of chiles, peppercorns, garlic, and salt,” says Melanie Wong. “The things that rely on finesse and a judged touch might not be the things to order here.”
Sichuan Fortune House [East Bay]
41 Woodsworth Lane, Pleasant Hill
China Village [East Bay]
1335 Solano Avenue, Albany