After treking to the Edmonds Ranch 99, myself, my husband and the pups were very hungry. The fact is, even if you nibble at the table of every single sample lady in the place, you will still be hungry at the end, especially if one pup is a growing and permenantly famished boy.
As we walked out the door, we spotted a flyer for Szechuan 99. The name rang a bell as a place I had heard of from this board so we headed on over.
Coming from so cal and the riches of the san gabriel valley, our chinese food standards are high and that includes our standards for szechuan. In the 3 months since arriving in Seattle, we have found 2 places serving Chinese that we liked--the Xi'an restaurant on Lake City and Mike's in the ID. So we approached Szechuan 99 with a great deal of hopefulness but a bit of trepidation. We were not disappointed.
In approaching a brand new restaurant, there are two approaches: ordering a few items cautiously or throwing caution to the wind and ordering way way too much food [even if one of the eaters is a bottomless pit]. We always go for the more is better approach.
We started with 3 cold special dishes--firm tofu with peanuts, shredded potato cold dish and hot spicy beef slice. Everything was very tasty, so tasty that there was nothing to bring home.
Our main courses included fish with tofu [listed as a special], Xin Jian Cumin lamb, twice cooked pork [listed as a special that night], sauteed spinach, 99 tofu and hand shaved noodles with pork. When originally persuing the menu, we noticed that the Chinese version of the specials had more stuff listed than the English side. Humph. But the waitress was happy to translate and tell us what the unnamed items were.
Everything was delicious. I was particularly fond of the twice cooked pork which seemed to include the thick cut rice noodles. My husband thought the dish was delicious but perhaps the noodles were a way of using less meat. I think the noodles might make the dish more appealing to American tastes which are less fond of fatty meat. I also really like the fish with tofu--the sauce was very flavorful and the fish was fresh and light.
My husband's favorite was the lamb and the 99 tofu. The smell of the lamb brought back memories of food stands in Beijing. If only the taste of american lamb lived up to the smell! But this is probably a personal preference and no fault of Szechuan 99. The lamb was tender and cuminy and very tasty.
In the 99 tofu, the tofu is cut in cubes and deep fried and then [i think] stir fried with dry fried green beens and chilis. Its a very tasty dish but like all fried dishes, is not nearly as good the next day. So if you order it, be sure to eat it all up.
For a green veggie, we had the spinach which was nicely prepared. Even the younger pup ate her share which is saying alot since she seems to think that the color green when applied to food means there is something wrong with the item.
The last dish to arrive were the hand shaved noodles with pork. These can be made with chicken, beef or veggie if you prefer. I first had hand shaved noodles in China--they are a taste memory for me. This version lived up to my memory.
Spice wise, of the dishes we ordered only the noodles and the greens should not, and were not, spicy. Everything else was a good amount of heat and definitely contained the delightful szechuan peppercorn. We didn't feel that things were "dumbed down" for us.
As you might imagine, we carried home a lot of leftovers which were greatly enjoyed the next morning as breakfast. The waitress very kindly offered to pack up some rice to go with our food but we declined--restaurant rice is unnecessary in a home that owns a neuro fuzzy rice cooker.
The one annoying thing is that Szechuan 99 is a bit of a drive for us but when I think about it, not that much longer than a drive from our old house to the San Gabriel valley and well worth the trip. Now if someone could just explain to me why the heck they are located in Lynnwood?????
6124 200th st SW
Lynwood, WA 98036