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Su Gia ("Da Sichuan") in Newark

Melanie Wong | Sep 21, 2005 03:31 AM

Finding "Q" closed and replaced by the much less interesting looking Peony Garden, I turned my sights toward the next strip mall over and the neon sign of Su Gia. I remembered "tanspace" mentioning that the star chef at New China Delight had trained in this kitchen. This is a Sichuan specialist, though the English language menu gives little hint of that. Luckily, my waiter was very helpful and I just asked for a few of my standard favorites.

#907 Tan Tan Noodles (Hot Chinese Spaghetti), $3.95, is on the menu I can read. This is a very good and authentic version with gritty and well-seasoned pork, near identical to Mountain View's New China Delight with the use of spinach. No peanut butter, and plenty of ma-la from Sichuan peppercorns and red chili oil.

Suan ni bai rou, $5.95, is slices of fresh bacon bathed in chili-spiked garlic sauce. The meat was a bit coarse but still tender and rich. The saucing had more spicy heat and chili pepper influence than I prefer, but I enjoyed it just the same.

Cucumbers with garlic, $3.95, is not a usual offering here. When I asked for it, my waiter said he'd have to check with the kitchen. He came back with a plate of pao cai, saying that the kitchen didn't have any cucumbers, and asked if I'd like to try it. I declined and said that I had plenty already. Later he returned to my table and said that the dish was ready, if I wanted it. I had noticed the Latino kitchen assistant leave briefly and return with a bag from Ranch 99, so I guess this one was shopped to order. I accepted the dish and am really glad I did. The mashed garlic was still pungent yet with the sweetness of partial roasting. Salty, oily, and with that garlicky savoriness, the crunchy, wet cukes were deliciously satisfying.

These three dishes were as good or better than New China Delight in Mountain View. The icing on the cake is that Su Gia's prices are about 30% lower. I'm looking forward to trying more from the menu here.

Su Gia Restaurant
(Da Sichuan)
35233 #F Newark Blvd. (next to Ranch 99)
Newark 94560

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