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Eight congenial diners met at Golden Garlic Restaurant on DeAnza in West San Jose last night for a combination Tianjin and Szechuan dinner. The unusual combination is the product of a husband/wife team from Tianjin and Chengdu.
Our meal included--
Hot & Sour Special Fish Hot Pot (Black bass)
Steamed Fish with Chopped Pepper (Catfish)
Sliced Beef & Honeycomb Tripe in Chili Sauce
House Special Fancy Cut Whole Cucumber
Dry Pork Intestine with Green Pepper
Fried Chicken with Dried Chili Szechuan Style
Steamed Spare Ribs in Lotus Leaf
Potato with Green Chili
Stir Fried Prawn with Lily and Peas
Braised Eggplant, Tianjin Style
Diced Beef with Golden Garlic
Green Bean Crepe, Tianjin Style
Noodle with Thick Gravy, Tianjin Style
Jellied Tofu, Tianjin Style
Goubuli ('Dog Won't Touch') Bao (non-menu item)
The two fish dishes were pre-ordered from the Chef Special Reservation menu.
My favorites of the meal were the Diced Beef with Golden Garlic and the Hot & Sour Special Fish Hot Pot. My first piece of diced beef was perfectly cooked, juicy and tender, with some nice char and great flavor. Not all the pieces were quite that perfect but they were all good. The fish hot pot was very sour, with lots of Szechuan peppercorns.
The mildly spiced Tianjin dishes provided a respite from the spicy Szechuan dishes, though none of the dishes were intensely spicy. A disadvantage of the combination was that it was hard to appreciate some of the milder dishes after eating spicy chilies and numbing Szechuan peppercorns.
Based on its name I had expected the Goubuli Bao to be very interesting but it was rather plain. However the dough provided a good palate cleanser when switching from Szechuan to Tianjin dishes.
The server was friendly and helpful, offering suggestions such as warning us about small bones in the fish hot pot.
After such a large meal something sweet was in order, but they don't offer any kind of dessert. Fortunately a very short walk away was a food court with a shaved ice & boba place that satisfied our need for sweet.
Thanks to Melanie for organizing our meal and pre-ordering for us, and to the whole group for the very pleasant company.
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