Have seen relatively little comment on this place. Maybe I am missing it. It is located just north of the Studio Theater. Used to have plexiglass barrier, but now has open counter. Still pretty basic. Known for having a Chef trained in China in authentic Szechuan. Written up in City Paper for having close to honest to God authentic heat level for Szechuan if you ask for the right stuff. Ask for "ma la" specialties.
Sounds about right to me, although items have not been consistently so, so hot as to be unbearable. I think the ma la stuff has been pretty consistently excellent. The Ma Pow tofu with ground pork is amazing. Not only hot, but very earthy. Soft white cool tofu in a bath of fire and flavor. All of the good things any complex spicy food from any cuisine has. Heat in the front of the mouth, strong middle flavor, and burn that gets more intense, not less after you swallow a bit. I crave the stuff. Excellent deal, too. Seems unique to me for anything around DC that I have ever had. Not your dumbed down beginners Szechuan. The chicken ma la is similar, but with different flavors and not quite so far of the heat chart. Other ma la items even less hot, still pretty earthy and interesting. The double-cooked pork, for instance, not all that spicy at all, but fantastically flavorful fatty chucks of pork in a wonderful stir fry. Not your parents' Chinese food.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this place, or am I the only one driving up 14th Street a couple of time a week because I am completely addicted?
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