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Boston Area Sichuan Brookline

SICHUAN GARDEN brookline, long REPORT- TERRIFIC

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Restaurants & Bars 10

SICHUAN GARDEN brookline, long REPORT- TERRIFIC

opinionatedchef | Feb 5, 2006 10:37 AM

i happened across reviews of this, non-CH, from a Sichuan native, who said this was the only authentic sich. food they had had since coming to the u.s. Couldn't find any CH threads on it, so we went yesterday noon and had a terrifically interesting and delicious experience. to begin,i must explain that MANY of the english dish names had nothing to do with what we would associate with those words. i really wanted to try things that i had never had before, so i trusted the web raves i had read for specific items, and went with some rather odd sounding things.also, a lot of what we ordered were what would be considered Tapas-sized, though generous tapas, and ran in the VERY reasonable $4-$6 range. Thus:
Our FAV'S: Szech. pork dumplings w/red chili vinaigrette (really wontons w/ tiny filling and lovely light soy-chili oil, chopp.peanutsvinaigrette); Special flavor chicken (not like any other of same name) cold, poached and sliced with thick soy-based sauce(i have never had anything like this before) and chili oil and chopped peanuts. fascinating contrast of textures,flavors;Julienne jelly fish with scallion pesto.if this WAS jelly fish, it basically was there for texture(slightly chewy/crunchy), mixed with slivered carrots and served cold, dressed with a wonderfully refreshing rice wine vinegar sesame oil dressing; Garlic sauce w/shredded cucumber.cold, super crunchy and refreshing.; Baby Eggplant w/ minced chicken and complex brown sauce- an entree portion, new dish (not on the menu. the owner-woman raved about it when we were going to order the yu siang eggplant,so we got it instead. yay); Cold tofu skin rolls filled with shiitake and bamboo shoots////

We would not order again: ma pa tofu- lovely silky tofu but very off-flavored sauce; Cheung du dry hot chicken- odd lack of flavor. looked great but couldn't taste chicken; Chilled noodles w/ spicy sesame vinaigrette- nothing distinctive or tasty
( had hoped it would be like that very unusual cold chili noodle dish at Chili Garden in Medford Sq.);Poached tender beef w/ 5 spices-paper thin slices, arranged in a pretty fan, fine flavor, just didn't thrill me; Green Bean Tofu with roasted chili vinaigrette(definitely NOT tofu. seemed to be a flavorless agar gelatin, sliced into fingers [hence the 'green beans'?] with the ubiquitous chili vinaigrette). another contribution to the 'refreshing palate cleanser' category but not interesting.
one caveat with these tapas sized things- many of them have a similar treatment with the soy-chili oil- chopped peanuts-scallion dressing.so you'll want to seek more variety.
the four other parties there were all speaking chinese. the tall handsome server/front of the house-man- was tremendously friendly. i've never had an asian waiter smile so much at us ,and it made us feel so welcome. the next table over had a dessert dish of sticky rice w/ dates that i'd like to try next time(on the chinese-only menu sheet). we're very glad we went and will look forward to hearing raves of other dishes from CH folks, to add to our next visit.
p.s. the turkish place next door looks well worth a visit too!

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