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Sichuan Chowdown Report: Chili Garden in Milpitas


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Sichuan Chowdown Report: Chili Garden in Milpitas

Melanie Wong | Jul 15, 2008 11:37 PM

Last February in a post about Darda, “daveena” included a mention of neighboring Chili Garden and some of the interesting items on its menu.

Today seven chowhounds (and one guest) rallied for lunch to check it out. We discovered that Chili Garden has a new Chinese name (while the English has stayed the same), as shown in the photo below. The ostrich, deer and Roberto have left the house.
Chili Garden’s grand opening banner

That said, the current menu still offers many Sichuan specialties. “tanspace” did a yeoman’s job helping us communicate with our server. Here’s the list of what we ordered, please jump in with your comments.

Cold Dishes:
C2. Spicy pork ear, $6.95
C4. Cucumber in vinegar sauce, $4.95
C6. Chicken in hot sour and fruit flavor, $5.95
C8. Couple beef (fu qi fei pian), $6.95

E19.Twice cooked fish fillet, $9.95
F1. Roast lamb leg with cumin, $13.95
F9. Beef in fiery sauce (“water-boiled beef”), $9.95
G5. Chong Qing spicy chicken, $8.95
K2. Stir singua, $7.95
L7. Ground pork noodle (dan dan mien), $6.25
LS20. Spicy pork intestines (lunch special size), $6.25
R6. Sesame bread, $5.65
R7. Green onion pan cake, $2.25

My favorite dish was the spicy pork ear, which our waitress had recommended. Pressed into a terrine-like block and then shaved into slices, like the version at Oliveto’s Whole Hog dinner, the crunchy slices of pig ear bound with gelatin were so thin you could see through them. Interleaved with thin slices of cucumber and then doused with Sichuan peppercorn sauce, the fanned presentation was absolutely gorgeous. The taste and texture was even better.

Here’s the “after” shot of our lunch table,
By the time the dan dan mien came out, I could barely muster for a small taste.

We had also wanted to order the steamed lamb dumplings, but these were sold out. A rather insipid soup of the day and steamed rice were included with our meal. With tax and more than 20% tip, our bill came to only $16 per person.

A white board offers additional dishes, but I forgot to ask about these.

We passed the hat and raised more than $75 for the Sichuan earthquake relief fund. Thanks for helping the people and culture that brought us this delicious cuisine.

* * * * Sichuan Chowdown Series * * * *

Chili Garden, Milpitas (July 2008)

Little Sichuan, San Mateo (July 2008)

Great Szechuan, Richmond (June 2008)

Hunan Restaurant, Fresno (Chef Liu rediscovered, May 2008)

China Village, Albany (November 2007)

South Legend, Milpitas (July 2007)

Zone 88, San Francisco (December 2006)

Little Sichuan Express, Fremont (September 2005)

FeldmanFest @ China Village, Albany (Chef Liu’s last night, September 2004)

Spices! II, San Francisco (January 2004)

Lu Lai Garden
210 Barber Ct, Milpitas, CA 95035

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