Szechuanese restaurants have opened all over the suburbs, and at last Chinatown has a Szechuan restaurant, a very ambitious one. It is elegant, after a fashion, its bright yellow fabric walls decorated with swirling three-dimensional abstract paintings and punctuated with elaborate draperies and keyhole-shaped doorways. The kitchen has had its ups and down, but seems to have settled into handling esoteric dishes very well, standard things like egg rolls and spareribs not very well. Sauces are intricate, vegetables crisp, peppery dishes properly so. The extensive menu lists rarities such as shower-fried chicken, lamb sauteed with garlic and honeyed ham. The appetizers are extensive, including tantalizing cold sesame-and-pepper flavored bon bon chicken, marinated jelly fish like crunchy noodles, and perfumy marinated beef. They handle fish expertly. But their lemon chicken is dry and sprinkled with lemon juice rather than lemon-sauced.
The most interesting time to dine at Szechuan is Sunday morning, when the Chinese community turns out for the dim sum. While their meat and seafood dumplings are, in general, not as good as those at some other local restaurants, they have a wide choice, and are the only restaurant to serve long crispy fried rolls that taste like unsweetened doughnuts, to dunk into almond tea. It is a delectable, subtle dish.
No restaurant in town attempts more than this Szechuan restaurant, and the disappointments are few.