After James G's original "promising chinese restaurants" posting on March 21 and subsequent checking on this place, I finally got to try it yesterday lunch. I followed the blog advice I had found and had the spicy potato noodles, and supplemented it with spicy dumplings sichuan style and rice ball chendu style (fried version for contrast). The noodles were excellent, clear noodles with a spicy/sour red broth. The dumplings were among the best I've ever had, big and soft skin with tasty filling, in a broth similar to the noodles but perhaps a bit sweeter. The rice balls were so-so, rice flour rolled in sesame seeds and filled with a sweet filling. Overall, it was clear to me at that point that the place had real possibilities.
Upon paying my bill, the owner asked me how I came to be interested in the authentic chinese type foods, so I mentioned bulletin boards etc. and how some westerners really do like the good stuff. I then asked what her chinese customers like best. Amazingly, she responded, and (with a couple of assists from the waitress) went thru the Chinese menu and picked out what she feels are the best/most popular dishes. I list them below. (Note--all those she listed are marked on the menu as being spicy, in some cases double spicy)
Sliced beef traditional sichuan style
Spicy dumplings sichuan style (mentioned above)
Spicy beef over vegetables (double hot)
Black pepper beef
Stew beef in beer sauce
**tofu and vegs
Mapo bean curd
Hot and spicy tofu (double hot)
Tender chicken country style
Sliced chicken hot and spicy
Diced wild rabbit with pickled vegetables (double hot)
Five spice wild rabbit
Shredded pork with hot pepper
Shredded pork in ginger and garlic sauce
Double cooked pork
Spicy ribs in hot pot (double hot)
Spicy fish with pickled vegrtables in soup pot
Fish fillet with pickled vegetables
Whole fish in traditional bean sauce
Gong bao jumbo shrimp
Gong bao squid
Given how good I know the spicy dumplings are, I trust the lady. Also, I asked her what day the main chef wasn't there and she told me (with a bit of a wink)--Tuesday.
If anybody tries any of this stuff, please post.
Maybe we can have a chow group sometime soon--any day but Tuesday.
The address is 660 S. Pickett in Alex. It's at the corner of Van Dorn, between 95 and 395.