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Szechuan Chef Chinese Restaurant


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#41 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 04:36 PM

Ordered 3 lunches today. Two ate til full, and I have 3 pre-packed lunches of leftovers for the rest of the work week.
The green beans are as good as to be expected.
The hot garlic prawns are fine. No biggie. Basically all the ingredients of hot sour soup, no broth, add 20 shrimp.
The spectacular dish was the fish fillet (chopped up) in chilis, pickled mustard greens, pickled veggies, chopped fresh green beans and tons of pickled dragon chilis.

Total for the whole ordeal with tea and 2 soups (though we refused the soups) was $22.75

(note, for $22 a pound they currently have GIANT spot prawns live in the clean tank. Going back tomorrow for those little f*ckers :-P

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#42 polloelastico

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:19 PM

Big props to Prone to Hyperbole for letting us know what the legit gem dishes are and what are the standard-fare, comfort renditions. Very helpful for when I want to dine accordingly.
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#43 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 12:45 PM

Big props to Prone to Hyperbole for letting us know what the legit gem dishes are and what are the standard-fare, comfort renditions. Very helpful for when I want to dine accordingly.

Thanks. Glad to help. Was hoping it was being perceived as helpful and not overkill. Going tonight for a pound of live spot prawns wokked Szechuan style, and another pound simply steamed. Will report.

EDIT: here is that report: (distraught that I didn't take a moment to clean my phone camera lens and hold steady)

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A pound (more no doubt) of each:
Sichuan style
and
Steamed, plain, served with heavily gingered soy dip.

BOOYAH!! And only $21.95 a pound.

The crispy ones were just right for eating whole. Oh, and half or more of the shrimp had tons of "tamale". So good!!! These were not overcooked either. A fear I have when steaming.

Three of us got out for a song given that $12 of the tab was beer, and we had at least 24 massive live spot prawns plus 10 Xian Long Boa, Veggies, Cumin Lamb, and hand shaven noodles for under a hundred bucks. see ticket... Leftovers for about 2 more meals.

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#44 JandJ

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:49 AM

I'm not exactly sure whether I just caught a really bad day or if things are heading downhill, but we had one of the most dreadful Chinese meals in recent memory here a couple of days ago. Our first experience perhaps 2-3 months ago was quite a bit better, but based on this meal, I seriously doubt that we will return. We ordered 3 dishes: onion cakes, Mapo Dou Fo with minced pork, and eggplant with hot garlic sauce. The onion cakes were OK... a bit greasy and missing some of the more intense onion flavor we'd like, but the accompanying sauce was pretty good. Not great, but acceptable. However, the two main dishes were a disaster. The Mapo Dou Fu was smothered in oil and extremely greasy in texture. The pork was of very poor quality and chewy, even a bit gristly. The flavor was passable, but it was hard to get past the large amount of grease in the dish. The eggplant suffered from a similar issue. It was also smothered in oil. The flavor was also just OK, but the eggplant itself was slimy from the large amount of oil and the dish simply had a terrible texture.

I would contrast this with Taste of Sichuan in Bethany which served up one of the best Szechuan meals we've had in PDX for quite a while recently. Their consistency can be a bit spotty, but even at their worst, our experience with Szechuan Chef was many levels below that.

#45 ExtraMSG

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 11:09 AM

I went recently and everything I had was solid. Big restaurants like this have a lot of staff and send out a lot of food. Hard to say what one meal would mean.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#46 JandJ

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:11 PM

I went recently and everything I had was solid. Big restaurants like this have a lot of staff and send out a lot of food. Hard to say what one meal would mean.

That's fair, and I may well have been overly harsh. However, my issue was not only with the preparation (which certainly could be indicative of a "bad day") but also some of the ingredients. The pork was awful... not very flavorful, chewy, and even in spots gristly. Yuck. That's a broader issue IMHO.

I usually don't report single off days at a restaurant, however, this one was bad enough that I though it justified an airing. I appreciate your insight (and any others as well) in order to get a wider perspective. If more people have had recent good experiences there, I might rethink whether we should give them another try. Either way, it will be a while.

#47 jennifer

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:07 PM

Finally made it here.  Wow, this is my new favorite Chinese place in town!  I took notes from this thread on what some good dishes were, and ordered off that for our first visit.  But we can't wait to go back and explore the menu some.

 

They were out of whole fresh fish, so we got the fish fillet in spicy black bean sauce.  Terrific!  Super fresh clean tasting fish, my guess is it was rockfish, and this enormous portion for $13.95. Cooked perfectly.  I was shocked at how inexpensive this was.  

 

Also got XLB for the kid, hand shaven pork & veg noodles and baby bok choy & mushrooms for us, along with the fish, and  lemon chicken for the kid & our friend.

 

All this was only $56.  Crazy!  

 

Every dish was a winner.  Loved the gigantic smoky tasting mushrooms in the bok choy dish.  

 

Can't wait to go back!  

 

Baby bok choy & mushroom stir fry:

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Lemon chicken.  Every much the sticky sweet mess you'd expect, but the fry job on the chicken was nice without any greasiness or off putting weird chemical tastes I so often get with these types of dishes.

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#48 philthyanimal

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:25 AM

Had Szechuan chef for the first time yesterday. I was pretty impressed with how quick the food came out considering they had a banquet of about 80. Everything was pretty delicious and I dined with 13 others and we practically cleaned up our plates which is a rarity for our family. Easily my fav Chinese restaurant in town. Orderd xlb...decent and better than most but nothing worth raving about, I prefer their version to taste of Sichuan...the broth was warm and didn't have that abundance of chicken fat taste from the gelatin that often ruins xlb. Wrappers were a bit thick and tough but that is to be expected at a place where there may not be much turnover. Had salt and pepper prawns, spicy lamb hot pot, dry fried mushrooms in hot pot, an eggplant and tofu dish, string beans, two special pancakes, hand shaved noodles, crispy chow mien noodles, and a chili crab. Everything was solid and enjoyable but nothing particularly stood out as hands down better than another. My aunt dialed everything back to mild and it still was pretty daemn spicy and this is coming from a family who loves spicy food. The only thing that sucks about this place is there are so many things to try on the menu that it would be difficult going as a party of one or two bc you would either over order or have to make some tough choices. The menu indicated that they do ayce hot pot on weekends for 14.99. I haven't experienced it yet but from what they posted in the menu the variety seems better than any ayce hot pot in town. I'll do a report when I go for hot pot in a couple weeks.

#49 averilpdx

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 01:09 PM

Tried this place for lunch today (first time). Had the chopped fish with chilis.  So good. Crispy, clean tasting fish and lots of crunchy, spicy bits of chili and vegetables. Small sampling but I'll be back for sure. May not be able to order anything else!



#50 Angelhair

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 11:56 AM

Excellent meal last night. This place seems to be a go-to when one of us has had a bad day. We typically order the same few things and add a couple of new ones. Standbys always are chile crab, hand shaven noodles, dry cooked string beans and sometimes hot & sour garlic wonton soup. They now have a new menu of what they call "homestyle specials" and we ordered the lamb hot pot off that menu last night. So good -- similar to that cumin lamb above, but even more savory -- it's dusty and funky and delicious.

 

I just love this place. We sit and drink icy tsingtaos, pick at the crab and talk. Numbing peppercorns make mouths tingle and you break out in a light sweat. Servers all work together, bringing by more napkins and beers. By the end, I am picking out peanuts and packing up leftovers, my nose is running and my mouth is still on fire. Life is good.



#51 vj

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 08:38 PM

I love Szechuan Chef. Angelhair introduced me to it and I am a devotee of their hot & sour garlic wonton soup. I haven't had anything there that I wouldn't order again. 

 

I took a friend there the other day and we got way too much food, including my favorite soup, soup dumplings (okay, not great, but I still enjoyed them), the hand shaved noodles and cumin beef. Great meal!



#52 Flynn

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 04:13 PM

I'm very happy with Szechuan Chef these days. I had some shaky meals in 2014, and found myself hitting up Taste of Sichuan on random trips to Vancouver (RIP) or Beaverton. The last 12-18 months have been solid at SC, which is great since they are 5 minutes from my house.

 

Last year, a group of us did a back to back with Taste of Sichuan Beaverton and Szechuan Chef. There was no consensus on who did a better job with the same group of dishes. No real duds in either location. Having said that, here are my personal preferences:

 

At Taste of Sichuan: hot pots (especially the fish), Dan Dan noodles (the non-hand shaven variety), smoked duck, pig ear in oil, sichuan dumplings, rabbit in oil, sliced pork belly in peppers, dry green beans, almost all of the specials board

 

Szechuan Chef: Stir-fried crab (any of these on special), chonqing chicken (gotta tell them to go spicy), cumin lamb, stir-fried lamb with peppers, hand-shaven noodles, special spare-ribs, any lamb rib special, all of the soups.



#53 pwillen1

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 05:34 AM

thanks for the report. you prefer the chonqing chicken at Szechuan Chef??? 


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#54 Flynn

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 12:40 PM

Truth be told, I don't think either of them do a particularly notable version. I've had too many soggy, mild renditions at ToS to recommend it as a standout.