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Restaurants & Bars

Sichuan Garden, Brookline -- still great

yumyum | Nov 17, 200602:03 PM     19

After thoroughly enjoying Anise not long ago, decided it was time to get back to Sichuan Garden to compare. Bottom line, I still think SG is a great spot when you are craving spicy food and meaty goodness. Our group ordered pork dumplings in chili vinaigrette, chilled noodles and sliced beef tendon to start. The beef tendon was new to me, and I liked it a lot -- it's more a textural thing than a flavor thing really, but the chili kicked everything up a notch. For mains we had to order the sentimental favorites -- pig's foot, wenjun prawns and beef filets with napa cabbage -- but this time we also tried the whole fish with tofu and the camphor smoked duck. Wowie! Both those dishes are great too, and now it will be nearly impossible to choose between all the favorites. They also do one of the best versions of pork fried rice I've ever had. Never would have thought to order it but I'm so glad we did. My only quibble with the place is the dishes can tend to taste alike because most everything comes with the same chile vinegar sauce. Anise struck me as more nuanced. But mixing it up with the delicious smokey duck and the fried rice and of course the mind-blowing pork foot makes for enough variation for me to want to return again and again. Super friendly service from both our waiter and our hostess who seemed to be the manager/owner. A ton of food and drink for $35/head. I like Anise but Sichuan Garden will always have a solid place in my dining rotation.

Stopped into Matt Murphy's for a drink beforehand -- my how they've tarted the place up. There are cocktails on the menu now and the place has a very different feel. I think I prefer it the old way.

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