Hello again ChowHound readers,
I ventured north to the Mason area, to drag a friend who likes traditional Chinese food, up to the Sichuan Bistro ( http://www.sichuanbistro.com/ 7888 Mason-Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040-9316 513-770-3123).
Make sure you get the orange 'real chinese food" menu, as well as the white American Chinese menu and the newer green Malaysian Food menu! *L* The orange menu has all kinds of "interesting" items! ^L^ Lots of "Pig's Ear" items, whole fish and so forth.
We (or should I say "I" since my friend can't eat spicy food) started with orders of Hot and Sour Soup, Pot Stickers, Cold Sesame Noodles and Dumplings in Red Oil.
The Hot and Sour Soup wasn't very traditional (in my experience) or enjoyable, as they made it 'hot' by grinding in *lots* of black pepper. AAANNNT! The 'hot' of Hot and Sour Soup should come from vinegar, not tons of black pepper. All the black pepper does is irritate your lips, not make you sweat. -L-
The Cold Sesame Noodles were excellent however, light and totally non-sticky, with a nice sesame flavor and swimming in Red Oil! ^L^ Yum!
And the Dumplings in Red Oil were good, although not outstandingly good. Very large and 'plump" with filling, cooked perfectly, and again literally swimming in Red Oil, but the filling was lackluster. I give them a B+ or A-.
Which seemed odd, because the Pot Stickers were (in my experience) The Best Pot Stickers On Earth! @L@ Oh the filling was SO good! Savory, complex, juicy, with flavors of pork, onion and garlic. I would go back here just for the Pot Stickers, praying they will be as good as these were! ^L^ And they were very large, with fairly thin rice flour wrappers (for their size) and *stuffed* full of the delicious filling! And cooked perfectly too, steamed warm and pan fried on one third of their outside so it was almost crisp and blackened. Again, the best Pot Stickers I have EVER had! As this is a traditional Chinese restaurant the may have been packed with MSG, but hey if they give me Alzheimer’s, I won't remember that, but I don't think I could ever forget their flavor! ^L^
Wow, I am really 'talking' too much! Sorry! For our entrees, I ordered one of my favorites, Ma Po Tofu "extra spicy" and my friend ordered some beef curry dish off the Malaysian menu. (What? Come to a "traditional Chinese restaurant", and order Malaysian food?)
I won't even comment on my friend's beef curry dish, I tried it and it was okay, although I think the rice that came with it was better than the beef. ^L^
And my "extra spicy" Ma Po Tofu was *very* spicy (be careful at this place folks), which I love, and very simple, that way I like it. They do put ground pork in their Ma Po Tofu, unless you tell them not to, so be aware! Unfortunately the chile paste is one of those very salty kinds of chile paste, so if they put enough in to make it dangerously spicy, it is also extremely salty. -L- I enjoyed the spiciness, but I think I consumed several full GRAMS of salt by the time I was done. ºLº Ahh, the sacrifices we make sometimes! ^L^
No dessert, and I only drank water (and lots of it!) while my friend had a uninspiring glass of the house red wine. He has a 'thing' about Chinese women however, having spent lots of time in southern China, and he was in heaven!!
Oh, and I think he shares my opinion about the Pot Stickers! ^L^ I took pity on his inability to enjoy really spicy food, so after I tried a couple of the Pot Stickers, I offered to let him eat the four that were left. As I remember it, I looked down at my plate for a moment, and when I next looked up, "POOF!", they were gone! @L@
If you like Chinese food, I recommend the Sichuan Bistro! Not everything is great, but they do have The Best Pot Stickers On Earth! =L=