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Double Happiness (Lao Sze Chuan)

Erik M. | Apr 1, 200201:45 PM

After eating WAY too much brisket on Thursday, and after eating nothing but burgers and fries on Friday, our systems needed a rinse-out. Being the season of (bodily) renewal, we craved seafood and fresh spring vegetables. So Saturday, we headed for Lao Sze Chuan for dinner. It was the best meal that we've had, this year.

We ordered the Bon Bon Chicken (#106), Szechuan Wontons (#805), Clams and Tofu Soup (#314), Dou Miao/Peapod Leaves (#616), and Spicy Eel Szechuan Style (#417).

Bon Bon Chicken was the only weakness in the lineup. I mean, its not remotely weak, but I think that Spring World's version (Hand-Shredded Chicken with Spicy Sesame Vinaigrette) has spoiled it for me. Its got a brightness that I like.
The Szechaun wontons were excellent. Steamed, light pork wontons bathed in chili oil, topped with minced garlic and scallions.
The clam soup was just what the doctor ordered. Soft tofu and super-fresh clams in a delicious, delicate chicken/pork stock. [I'd buy that stock if he'd bottle it. ;)]
When asked, the waitress said that the freshest vegetables of the day were the peapod leaves. Ah, Spring! A far cry from the anemic, hydroponically grown leaves that are on offer the rest of the year.
I was curious about their eel dishes, never having tried eel in a Chinese restaurant, so I also asked the waitress what her favourite eel dish was and she recommended the spicy Szechuan preparation. The plate held bone-in twice-cooked eel, dried red chilis, black beans, and qin cai/chinese celery in a nearly non-existent sauce. (Dry style) It was fantastic. There was not a whole lotta eel on those bones, but the texture and taste were amazing. Crunch yielded to a buttery richness. The celery was a revelation as well. Toothsome, with the taste of celery and cilantro.

Two delicious orange slices and two very auspicious fortune cookies sent us on our way.

Erik M.

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