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Entries Tagged as 'Sichuan Cuisine'

Liu Fu

Liu Fu (Johns Creek)

Before Liu Fu, there was China Inn in Chamblee. It was an institution and was around longer than I have been alive. For 30 years, it made a foothold in Atlanta offering Americanized Sichuan food. Until one day, they decided to close shop, open a posher digs, and go fine dining: fancier look and fancier prices.

Like most Chinese restaurants, there are two menus here. The readily available Americanized, English one, and the “secret” Chinese one where you have to either know how to read Chinese or bring someone who does. The servers aren’t really good with translations and most times, they are harried or just don’t have time to explain intensive offerings. Don’t worry, most of the items on the Chinese menu are also on the English one.

Sichuan food is characterized by the liberal use of Sichuan peppers (which don’t necessarily make the dishes spicy) and Sichuan pepper oil. I’ve read so many reviews complaining about the oiliness of Sichuan dishes. Liberal use of Sichuan pepper oil. Remember that.

Liu Fu (Johns Creek)

While still delicious, the Americanized version of Sichuan dishes here make the flavors subtle especially when ingredients such as pickled vegetables (sour) and dried meats (salty) are used. Three of the must-eat here are the Velvet Fish, Double Cooked Pork Belly, and Tea Smoked Duck. The Velvet Fish uses filets of fish and crisp vegetables that are poached in light sauce. The poaching makes the fish so velvety. The Double Cooked Pork Belly uses the good part of the bacon which is smoked then stir-fried with leeks and scallions. The pork has a smoky taste and the greens have a slight sweetness in them. Delicious.

Liu Fu (Johns Creek)

Black tea leaves are used to smoke the duck in the Tea Smoked Duck. This gives the duck an earthy flavor and makes the meat succulent. I like that you can taste the tea all the way to the bone. Yummy. A key to eating Sichuan dishes is with plain, steamed, white rice so you can taste all the flavors of the dish. Do that.

I cannot explain why there are three Sichuan restaurants in Johns Creek/Duluth, on the same road, within two miles of each other. All the better for us. Go try Sichuan food if you’ve never had it before. You’ll like it.

Liu Fu
11625 Medlock Bridge Rd Map.162480c
Duluth, GA 30097
(678) 957-8889

Liu Fu on Urbanspoon

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Cafe Q Sichuan Cuisine

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

This Chinese family owned and operated authentic Sichuan joint has only been open barely two weeks yet they seem to already attract a bevy of Chinese customers. The chef came to Alpharetta by way of Mississippi where he used to own a Chinese restaurant for years. After 8 years here, he decided to open an authentic Chinese restaurant specializing in Sichuan cuisine.

The first thing I noticed about the dishes here is the authentic Sichuan flavors. Lots of garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns are used, and yes, the dishes are spicy as they should be. While the traditional menu, as of the moment, is sparse and very limited, the chef hopes to expand his repertoire and present a more enhanced menu in a week or two.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

One of my favorite Chinese appetizers is pig’s ear. I love the chewy, crunchy, gelatinous texture. I’ve had many, many variations of this dish and my favorite remains to be the kind where it’s combined with deep fried, crunchy tofu cubes in a sweet-soy-based sauce. But I do like all kinds. Here, the boiled ears are cooled, sliced thinly, then laced with spicy chili oil and sweetish-salty soy-based sauce. Delicious. I could eat a whole platter of this.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

The only other place I’ve had amazingly good, authentic Sichuan dumplings is San Francisco (and China, of course). I haven’t found the same taste anywhere here until now. These boiled dumplings are homemade. The wrappers are soft and chewy while the pork filling is very flavorful. I suspect they are boiled in chicken stock as there is no floury taste in them. The fresh minced garlic topping adds additional heat and pungency. The spicy, sweet-salty sauce with it is so fantastic, I was spooning heaps into my mouth.

MaPo Tofu is a yardstick when it comes to authentic Sichuan cuisine. This dish was so unbelievably good that it was demolished before I could even turn my camera on. The spicy chili and bean-based sauce is totally spot on. The spiciness is numbing yet the bold flavors of the sauce is retained. The tofu is creamy and the minced pork adds texture to this wonderful dish.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

The Traditional Spicy Beef Stir-Fry included slices of dry-fried beef. It had lots of dried chili peppers, onions, celery, carrots, green peppers, and lotus roots to provide a crunchy balance to the tender beef. This is another fantastic, spicy dish with lots of garlic and ginger flavors.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

A surprising hit, the Chicken Breast in Garlic Sauce sounds ho-hum on paper but delivered a knock-out punch. The tender slices of chicken were infused with a spicy-garlic-chili sauce that lightly coated all the ingredients. There were crisp pieces of cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and wood ear mushrooms that made this dish an exceptional one.

Overall, a fantastic and inexpensive meal. Everything was delicious including the bubble teas with very, very chewy tapioca pearls (just the way they should be).

Insider tip:
Cash only at this time.
Prices average $5-9.

The scoop:
Cafe Q Sichuan Cuisine
10475 Medlock Bridge Rd., Suite 105
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(770) 232-9388

Cafe Q Sichuan Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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