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Entries Tagged as 'Szechuan Cuisine'

Gu’s Bistro

Sichuan House

A few years ago, there were these thin slices of pork stir-fried with fresh bamboo shoots (operative word: fresh) and strips of Chinese dry tofu. And a plate of ground pork stir-fried with mustard greens. Delicious was an understatement. Those two dishes made a huge fan out of me. The place? Sichuan House in Duluth. The chef? Chef Gu.

Gu's Bistro

Fast forward to these days. Chef Gu‘s brilliance is showcased in his own place bearing his name. While I never really enjoyed his $15 per person weekend dim sum, I keep going back for favorites that demonstrate his talent and expertise in the kitchen. One thing you will notice when you eat his Szechuan food is that a highly-skilled man of wisdom cooked it — that a novice, run-of-the-mill, ordinary, sometimes notorious, groupie-followed chef could not have cooked his kind of dishes. Not by a long mile. My favorites, in no particular order…

Gu's

Chengdu Dumplings. These aren’t the usual dumplings you’re used to. And don’t mistake them for wontons, gyoza, or pot stickers. The dough is very thick, doughy, and super chewy. Get it with red chili oil which adds a little heat to the savory filling and provide a slightly sweet aftertaste. They are fantastic.

Gu's

Chengdu Cold Noodles. The ever so slightly sweetish yet savory, chili oil-laced sauce goes so well with the cold, chewy noodles. Beware of the fresh minced garlic on top unless you don’t plan on talking to anybody after your meal.

Gu's

Twice Cooked Pork. If you want to think like you’ve died and gone to pork heaven, then you MUST have this. If there’s one dish you must eat here, this is it. The ultra thin slices of pork belly (read: bacon) are first smoked then stir-fried in leeks. Heavenly. Amazing. Fantastic. Delicious. You get the picture.

Gu's

Beef Tendon. Asians love chewy anything. In fact, a good 80% of Asian desserts are all chewy. This dish is no exception. A play on texture, the slices of beef tendon in spicy-savory sauce is a great appetizer.

Gu's

Tea Smoked Duck. Most places serve duck with shriveled, dried, stuck-to-the-meat skin that is such a turn-off for me. Here, the duck pieces are so tender, the skin is perfectly crisp, and the taste and smell of tea on the meat is evident. Really good.

Gu's

Spicy Dried Eggplant. What separates this dish from those at other places is the very thin, tasty batter. Not only that, the eggplant is so tender and soft, lending a contrast to the crispy coating.

Gu's

Kung Pao Lotus Root. The nutty flavor and crunchy slices remind you of peanuts. Except better.

Gu's

Chongqing Spicy Chicken. This fried chicken nuggets dish is excellent. Each piece is dusted so lightly with flour then fried. Spicy and delicious.

Gu's

Beef Jerky. These aren’t your jaw-breaking American version. The tender pieces has a slightly chewy texture. Don’t let the chili oil distract you, it provides contrast to the sweetish meat.

All these dishes can be found on their Traditional Chinese Menu where you should be ordering from when you go here. You’d love the food here. Trust me.

Gu’s Bistro
5750 Buford Hwy NE, Suite A
Doraville, GA 30340

Tuesday-Thursday: 11:00am – 3:00pm, 4:30pm – 10:00pm
Friday-Sunday: 11:00am – 10:30pm
**Closed Monday**

Gu's Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Cafe 101

I’m going to hurt all Cafe 101 fans by saying this place is so overrated.  I have spent most of of my life eating authentic Chinese food in China and Asia.  I grew up eating real Chinese food — spending summers and extended vacations in their part of the world.  Therefore, my standard definitely isn’t the Americanized version (read: dumbed-down).  Having said that, I wouldn’t go out of my way just to eat here and get food that is, at best, 2 notches above Panda Express.  Don’t get me wrong, though, most people are okay with westernized Chinese food — it’s suited for their palates and it’s what they are used to. Nothing wrong with that.

Cafe 101

When it first opened, I really liked their Dan Dan Noodles — thick, chewy noodles doused with a hoisin-peanut sauce and topped with steamed watercress.  It was fantastic. Was, being an operative word here.  These days, Dan Dan Noodles have evolved to a super salty sticky mess.  Four times in a row (and all within 2 months), I’ve had to leave the noodles untouched, or worse, throw them in the trash when I got it to-go.

Cafe 101

The shredded beef and Chinese celery is pretty decent in the Panda Express-kind of way which is nothing out of the ordinary. The celery outnumbered the beef 12-to-1 so all you taste is celery. The beef, however, was tender. For lunch, you get a cup of hot and sour soup and their version is on the watery/bland side. The Salt and Pepper Pork Chops is a decent choice. You get strips of deep-fried pork laced with jalapeño peppers. Last complaint, they really need to do something with their steamed rice. I know the price of rice has tripled in the last couple of months but it’s still no reason to serve 3rd-class brownish rice.

Bottom line, the decor is better than the food. If you want authentic Szechuan cuisine, don’t waste your time here, head on over to Sichuan House instead.

More pictures here.

Insider tip:
Located in the round building (that used to be Tofu House) along Buford Highway just inside 285.
The pickled radish is fantastic.

The scoop:
Cafe 101
5412 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 458-8883

Café 101 on Urbanspoon

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Sichuan House

Once in a while, a craving for Szechuan cuisine hits and Sichuan House is the answer. Szechuan cuisine is characterized by very spicy foods with lots of heavy sauces and gravies. Because of the geographic location of the Sichuan province in China, the climate lends a hand in food spoiling very easily. Thus, food preservation is necessary. Pickling, smoking, drying, and salting are techniques that have been perfected in the region. Personally, I like Cantonese food better (having visited Hong Kong yearly while growing up so my taste buds are more accustomed to it); but that’s just me.

Sichuan House boasts of authentic Szechuan cuisine. Their Traditional Choice Menu includes items geared more to the Chinese palate — the Tea Smoked Duck is fantastic, the Stir-fried Beef Tripe is delicious, the Roasted Whole Tilapia with Scallions is a must try, the Cumin Mutton (or beef) is also a must try (very flavorful); however, the Spicy Sichuan Pork (salt and pepper pork with tons of chili peppers) is disappointingly all heat and no flavor.

Sichuan House

Sichuan House

Sichuan House

Other items form the Traditional Choice Menu that I never tire of include the Winter Melon Chicken Soup, Ground Pork with Mustard Greens and the not-on-the-menu Shredded Chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce. The Winter Melon soup is comforting with big chunks of chicken and slices of sweetish winter melon. It’s a good take on the plain chicken soup. The pork with mustard greens is absolutely delicious with a good bit of bitterness from the greens balanced by the saltyish pork. The chicken in garlic sauce with julienned winter melon, wood ear mushrooms, red and green bell peppers is a spicy, tasty dish. Get past its oiliness from the chili oil and you have a dish that’s truly a winner.

For a truly authentic Szechuan food, Sichuan House offers a piece of China. For the not-so-adventurous, a toned-down American version is available. The place is clean and bright while the staff is helpful but can get absent-minded (especially when they’re busy shucking vegetables in a nearby table. No worries, just flag them down to get service.

Insider tip:
All orders come with house roasted peanuts (roasted at home by one of the servers) and pickles.

The scoop:
Sichuan House
5900 State Bridge Rd
Duluth, GA 30097
Located on the corner of 141/Medlock Bridge/Peachtree Pkwy and State Bridge Rd/Pleasant Hill Rd where Target and Home Depot are.

Sichuan House on Urbanspoon

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