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Restaurants & Bars

Fresno - Hunan on our own

jmnewel | Jun 17, 200812:30 PM     1

After the wonderful dinner arranged by Melanie Wong on May 31, we took 4 friends to Hunan to see what Chef Liu could do for us on a regular customer basis, as opposed to an arranged dinner. Well, in anticipation of the ordering confusion that was likely in store for us, we went to the restaurant in the afternoon and set up a dinner for that evening. Waiter Sun was extremely helpful. I used Chowhounders' recommendations as the basis and let Sun flesh things out. Our meal was memorable and the price was right, about $30 per person without wine. The corkage fee is $7.

Appetizers: Jalapeno chiles. I preferred the stuffed version from the previous dinner, but they were not available on such short notice. These were just roasted plain with a bit of oil added. You have to be a pepper lover (I am not) to appreciate them.

Bon bon chicken - the contents of this cold plate disappeared in a trice. Strips of chicken and some kind of vegetable in a bit of tasty sauce.

Hot and sour calamari - a cold dish, very refreshing. One of our guests said he thought he didn't like calamari, but this was great.

Two sheets salad - I was intrigued by the hounds' mention of this dish that I had never had nor heard of. It comes on a huge platter and as its odors waft, your sinuses are cleansed. Mustard? Horseradish? Don't know. Too much to eat all of it that night , but it was great for lunch the next day.

Main courses: Peking duck. This was Sun's suggestion and it was very good. The sauce was not too sweet, as it too often is. The duck itself was good, though I would have liked more of the crispy skin. I would have preferred that the cucumber sticks that were to be folded inside with the duck be a bit more finely cut, but that is trivial.

Lamb Hunan - this was off the yellow menu and was fabulous. Lots of cumin scent wafting, tender lamb bits, everybody thought this dish was a winner.

Roasted asparagus - also excellent. Again, Sun's suggestion.

Sichuan style whole fish with noodles - I was too full to even take a taste, but I loved it the next day. I really ordered too much food, but what to cut out?

Dessert: Fried bananas - These were showy and fun (Sun brought out a platter of the deep fried bananas that were coated in sugar syrup and flamed. Then the balls were dropped tableside into a bowl of icewater), but not all that tasty. The banana flavor had disappeared and the consistency of the banana part was sort of cottonball-like. Since I was too full to eat them anyway, it was no loss to me.

We will be going back!

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