Thought I would start a new thread on this topic given the latest surge of interest on the part of the local and SF Bay hounds.
SF Board thread on Chef Liu (formerly of China Village in Solano)
About Chef Liu
Stopped in yesterday to return the Sichuan menu (not the one online) that Chef Liu graciously provided for me to make copies and distribute, and to have lunch. I've been reading about Dan Dan noodles for a couple of years on multiple boards but never ran across them, so today was the day. WOW, crispy ground pork on top of perfectly cooked noodles laced with cabbage and peanuts, in a red chile oil sauce (I requested spicy). The layers of flavor were outstanding, Speaking with Kathy, the lovely front of the house manager, I'm not sure I got the authentic heat, it had a great slow burn, but didn't bring tears to my eyes, sweat to my brow, or clear my sinuses, but OTOH I do love my chipotle and habanero sauces, so who knows? Being a neophyte, I have nothing to compare them to, but a little voice in my head tells me I'm likely to be disappointed ordering them from any other place in the future. Kathy also insisted that I try their hot and sour soup, compliments of the house, again I fear I'm spoiled by the balance and depth of flavor, only rival I can conceive of is the one Thai Royal Orchid offers.
Kathy mentioned that one of their waiters recently visited Beijing and was blown away about how well known and respected Chef Liu is there. I mentioned that local hound glazebrookgirl had checked out the menu on their website only to find dishes one typically sees all over town and not the cuisine the chef is famous for. Asked if I thought she should include the Sichuan menu online, I replied definitely.
Since I was there prior to the lunch hour I was able to spend a little more time talking with Chef Liu so I asked about the Tanjia dishes that Melanie Wong mentioned in her post. My pronunciation was so off that it took a brief moment or two to clarify what I was asking. The bottom line is that it would be possible to put together a special meal of these subtle, mostly seafood dishes, with at least two weeks notice since Monday is the one time in the week they have to travel to the bay area to shop for ingredients, some of which would take a week to clean and prepare, one of which I understood to be dried fish stomachs?
I took a look at their wine list, typical of what you'd expect a restaurant vendor to put together, to its credit it did have a riesling and a gewurztraminer. Diners are welcome to bring their own, corkage is a whopping $7/bottle.
Finally, Melanie was able to create a PDF file of the menu from a fax I sent to her. If any local hounds are interested in a copy email me at dlw38 AT sbcglobal DOT net