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Szechuan Chef Chinese Restaurant


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#1 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 02:36 PM


Starting topic. Going to check this out this week based on recommendation from FoodLuvr mutual acquaintance. Said to do (good?) Hot Pot.











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#2 dagrassroots

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 02:47 PM

Is it the same as the one in Bellevue?

#3 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 04:41 PM

Is it the same as the one in Bellevue?


Good question. Don't know. Never been to either. Excited to check it out since not far from my condo.
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#4 dagrassroots

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 07:16 PM


Is it the same as the one in Bellevue?


Good question. Don't know. Never been to either. Excited to check it out since not far from my condo.

Szechuan chef in bellevue used to be very good, on par with bamboo garden (taste of Sichuan's twin restaurant in Bellevue) but there chef left and opened up a different restaurant. It still has good dishes but overall the quality dropped a bit. Even still it would be above average for Chinese in Portland.

#5 averilpdx

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:27 PM

link to restaurant site:

http://szechuanchefportland.com

Yelp link:

http://www.yelp.com/...n-chef-portland


I love the copy on the website. Very charming. (for example, "Welcome to experience the best meals in our fairyland!") I will try this place just because of that line.

#6 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:43 PM

link to restaurant site:

http://szechuanchefportland.com

Yelp link:

http://www.yelp.com/...n-chef-portland


I love the copy on the website. Very charming. (for example, "Welcome to experience the best meals in our fairyland!") I will try this place just because of that line.


Good one! yeah, I rolled just reading the opening page. I love it!! Best of all, in the Gallery, an inordinate amount of pics are dedicated to bottle shots of Remy Louis XIII, Hennessey, and Chivas. LEGIT! :-D
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#7 bnrgoalie

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:38 AM

This is the space formerly occupied by Shanghai Noble House, which was once a favorite take-out place for us (living not far away) but in recent years had slid into mediocrity. We tried take-out at the new place last week. With the caveat that we are far from the most adventurous when it comes to Chinese food, we were quite pleased. The menu is definitely more diverse than Shanghai (and I think it is related to a Seattle place as someone mentioned above). We'll be back.

#8 Jill-O

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:16 AM

Welcome to the site, bnrgoalie!
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#9 goodbyeohio

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 06:21 PM

Yelp says "Attire: Dressy". Is this the case? Thinkin about heading over tomorrow, but I left my khakis in Delaware.
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#10 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:51 PM

Ha ha goodbyeohio! Guffawed aloud at that one! I think you'll be okay in casual attire ;-)
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#11 goodbyeohio

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:03 AM

Went last night to check it out. Ordered relatively safe: hot & sour soup, green onion pancake, szechuan style mapo tofu, chong qing chicken.

the hot & sour was a spicier version the standard stuff you'd expect.. at some places, it seems as though the soup's been around a while (tofu disintegrating, etc) but not the case here. i didn't see any pork in this version but it was very tasty. appropriately HOT and SOUR.

green onion pancake was pretty good. it was a little undercooked in the center, but not offensively so. it was served with a great spicy/garlicky/smoky sauce that fixed any other problem with the dish

mapo tofu was excellent. very similar to lucky strike's version, although $1-2 cheaper for twice as much food. like LS, you have to pay for rice. not super spicy. great leftover this morning.

the chicken was thighs cubed and deep fried, then tossed in a super szechuan peppercorn-heavy chili dust, which was awesome. the presentation of this dish (to compare again to lucky strike) was very similar to hot pepper chicken bath, except fried. these little morsels of chicken were super crispy and crack-like, although after eating 4-5 in a row, your tongue is totally numb. im not sure how these will be left over, the crispness was awesome.

for two people, this was too much food. i would stick with two apps again but maybe split only one main. we will easily have enough leftover food for 4 individual meals.

the total with tip was $32. only tea and water were consumed liquidically

on an authenticity note: it doesn't have the down-home feeling that many like 82nd ave joints, but this is why it's good for me (the mrs. wants vanilla chinese food in a clean atmosphere) and the menu DOES offer the more esoteric szechuan dishes. its a great place to satisfy the adventurous eater AND the orange chicken/moo shu pork person.

overall good stuff, great value, excellent service. i will return.
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#12 Flynn

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:21 AM

Thanks for the report. Very excited about this since I live in SW and did not enjoy Shanghai Noble House. Looking forward to seeing if this place rates alongside Lucky Strike or szechuan joints in other cities.

#13 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:06 PM

Went last night to check it out. Ordered relatively safe: hot & sour soup, green onion pancake, szechuan style mapo tofu, chong qing chicken.

the hot & sour was a spicier version the standard stuff you'd expect.. at some places, it seems as though the soup's been around a while (tofu disintegrating, etc) but not the case here. i didn't see any pork in this version but it was very tasty. appropriately HOT and SOUR.

green onion pancake was pretty good. it was a little undercooked in the center, but not offensively so. it was served with a great spicy/garlicky/smoky sauce that fixed any other problem with the dish

mapo tofu was excellent. very similar to lucky strike's version, although $1-2 cheaper for twice as much food. like LS, you have to pay for rice. not super spicy. great leftover this morning.

the chicken was thighs cubed and deep fried, then tossed in a super szechuan peppercorn-heavy chili dust, which was awesome. the presentation of this dish (to compare again to lucky strike) was very similar to hot pepper chicken bath, except fried. these little morsels of chicken were super crispy and crack-like, although after eating 4-5 in a row, your tongue is totally numb. im not sure how these will be left over, the crispness was awesome.

for two people, this was too much food. i would stick with two apps again but maybe split only one main. we will easily have enough leftover food for 4 individual meals.

the total with tip was $32. only tea and water were consumed liquidically

on an authenticity note: it doesn't have the down-home feeling that many like 82nd ave joints, but this is why it's good for me (the mrs. wants vanilla chinese food in a clean atmosphere) and the menu DOES offer the more esoteric szechuan dishes. its a great place to satisfy the adventurous eater AND the orange chicken/moo shu pork person.

overall good stuff, great value, excellent service. i will return.


Great deal! Thanks goodbyeohio for this overview. You beat me to it. I plan to go by the weekend. I am really enthused even more now based on your first impression. The fact they they bother to use a high dose of the peppercorns in the chicken dish, for better or worse, does hint at the attempt for non-dumbed-down cuisine.

Cheers!
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#14 Flynn

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:24 PM

Checked it out tonight. It was a promising first visit. Ordered the chongqing chicken, cumin lamb, hand shaved dan dan noodles with pork and vegetables, and kung pao chicken (so my wife wouldn't freak out).

Hand shaven noodles were great. Plenty of spice, and not too greasy:

Posted Image

The cumin lamb was also a winner. Like much of this cuisine, you have to be ready for a flavor bomb. This was a good version with very tender lamb slices:

Posted Image

My only slight quibble with the chongqing chicken was that they went just a little heavy with the salt. Otherwise it was delightfully crispy and spicy. While this was a more traditional version, I slightly prefer the flavor of Lucky Strike's pepper bath version.. Still worth ordering this since it's a classic:

Posted Image

Very happy to have this in the neighborhood. This meal was better than any I've had at Taste of Sichuan, and it appears that they can play ball with Lucky Strike. I'll have to try some other dishes to get a feel for the place. Almost pulled the trigger on some sliced fish in hot oil, but that would've been way too much food.

Other notes: Four huge dishes + one beer + one glass of wine was $66 with tip. Tsingtao is the only beer they have. Other diners were all going with the non-Sichuan basics, except for a big Chinese family who was tucking into a massive hot pot.

#15 Quo Vadis

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 06:30 AM

Those noodles look great. Want.
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#16 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:24 AM

Nice! Flynn, I so respect your ah thor ah tie that I'm kicking myself even *more now for going to Shandong instead of here. Shandong was serviceable, but Szechuan Chef looks to be exactly what I am longing for. I'll get there this weekend! Thanks for report! Yeah, I'd need that fish you missed! Some Tsing Dao to wash it down!
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#17 Flynn

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 07:29 AM


Checked it out tonight. It was a promising first visit. Ordered the chongqing chicken, cumin lamb, hand shaved dan dan noodles with pork and vegetables, and kung pao chicken (so my wife wouldn't freak out).

Hand shaven noodles were great. Plenty of spice, and not too greasy:



The noodles look yummy, but they are in no way dan dan mian. They are hand shaved noodles with pork and are probably great. But dan dan mian are nothing like that, and are not typically made with hand shaved noodles, but rather with more uniformly cut noodles, with a savory sauce on the bottom of the bowl, topped with a bit of almost crispy-sauteed beef (pork is common too), maybe with a few leaves of spinach or other green. The sauce is hiding at the bottom, not coating the noodles. That is the diner's job to stir the components together. No cabbage.


That's right, it was my error in writing it up. They weren't dan dan style and not listed as such on the menu. They have dan dan noodles in the soup noodles section.

#18 Flynn

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 08:01 AM

Nice! Flynn, I so respect your ah thor ah tie that I'm kicking myself even *more now for going to shite dong (Shandong) instead of here. Shandong was serviceable, but Szechuan Chef looks to be exactly what I am longing for. I'll get there this weekend! Thanks for report! Yeah, I'd need that fish you missed! Some Tsing Dao to wash it down!

I won't make any sweeping proclamations based on one visit, but my dinner was good. Definitely worth trying more of the menu. It takes some work to find out which dishes stand out on these type of huge, non-specialist menus.

Tell us what ya think.

#19 goodbyeohio

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 08:29 AM

They have dan dan noodles in the soup noodles section.


thanks for mentioning this. i should have asked wtf is up with this but was distracted. did you ask about it?
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#20 Flynn

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 12:27 PM

They have dan dan noodles in the soup noodles section.


thanks for mentioning this. i should have asked wtf is up with this but was distracted. did you ask about it?

I didn't. I think that traditionally it is more of a broth under the noodles, and that the dryer version is an adaptation.

Although I did end up getting dryer versions in different parts of China, I remember the ones in Sichuan proper being more of a very spicy, oily broth under the noodles.