No frills, just delicious!.
This no frills restaurant, hidden on the second story of a shopping complex in the ID, has fast become my go to for Chinese food. The location isn't exactly scenic, but the food is delicious, there's always a table, and the service is fast.
So - so and way too much MSG.
OK, seriously, folks, if your food crunches because of the MSG on it, that's a sign that there's TOO MUCH MSG.
We have had a few meals here. The first couple were pretty good, so we went back. Lately things haven't been so good. We've noticed that the "drier" dishes (meaning not hot pots, but things like string beans or noodles) often arrive with massive amounts of MSG on top. At first we couldn't figure out what the strange crystals all over the top of our food were. We finally realized that it was MSG - easily a tablespoon or more sprinkled across an appetizer-size plate of sesame noodles. They were seriously crunchy from the MSG!
The hot pots we've had are good, but now that we've branched out and noticed how MSG-laden some of the other food is, we've been reluctant to return.
A Major Disappointment.
The food was mediocre, serving size often extended by too many onions. Not very Szechuan, not very distinctive, not very satisfying. No wow factor, though the hand-shaven noodles were better than average. Hot & sour soup lacked some key flavor; Mongolian beef was stir-fried rather than flash-fired, and so the whole did not exceed the parts. Service was surly and we felt rushed.
Best Ever Szechuan in the ID.
Seriously. I'm really not kidding. I think I'm a master at the Asian scene in the ID by now~ but I missed this place for years. I will remedy that mistake to the best of my ability. How could I have not been here before? The Dan Dan Noodle is so gloriously addictive, with the almost creamy texture of the sauce clinging to the silky noodle; as it the pancake appetizer, with a toothsome bite and a wonderfully spicy and vinegary sauce. I'm also a huge fan of the "HOTPOT". This place is a hidden gem from the rest of the city. Whenever I visit, it's full of different asian family and friends at other tables that have such great looking dishes, I get embarrased because I stare and want to ask what everything is. If you're not a fan of "hot" food, then make sure you ask the servers to help, it tends to run to spicy (read:szechuan). The service is ammenable, and can run to really friendly. They will help you navigate along the large menu. I really like the location, as it's upstairs at the corner of 12th and Jackson, and around dinner time there is a plethora of activity to watch while you cook your meat of choice in hotpot and slurp up the delectible hand shaven noodles.
I don't understand why this place only has a rating of 7.0. I'd give it a 9.0 and I go there for lunch about once a week. The food is fantastic and the service and ambience are quite good for the International District. Try the Chongching (sp?) chicken, twice-cooked pork, chopped pepper chicken, cumin lamb and garlic green beans. If you like good Chinese food (and i don't mean sweet n' sour chicken), you won't be disappointed.