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.
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.
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.
11625 Medlock Bridge Rd Map.162480c
Duluth, GA 30097
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