Spiced Up Chinese Food
Brookline’s Sichuan Garden One of the City’s BestBy Ruby Lam
295 Washington Street, Brookline
Hours: Mon-Thu, 11:30 a.m. -10 p.m.; Fri-Sat, 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sun, Noon - 10 p.m.
Many of my Chinese friends told me that there is one place in Boston where I could find the best and spiciest Sichuan cuisine. Well, as much as I can’t really eat spicy food, as a foodie, I can’t resist but to give it a try.
In Sichuan Garden, there are two famous spicy dishes on the menu, Chengdu Dry Hot Chicken ($11.50) and Braised Beef Filets and Napa Cabbage with Roasted Chili ($11.50). Knowing that we probably couldn’t handle two famous spicy dishes, we only ordered the latter.
Translated in English, the Chinese name of this dish is basically “Beef cooked in broth,” which is fairly misleading in explaining the spiciness of the dish. This dish is very hot, but not immediately when you taste it. Rather, it numbs your tongue the moment you taste it and then you will slowly feels the “heat.”
One interesting piece of advice for taking Sichuan food: plenty and plenty of rice, not ice water. Rice helps to dilute the hot taste much quicker and more effectively than ice water.
The Ox meat and Tripe with Roasted Chili-Peanut Vinaigrette ($7.25) is a great appetizer to start the meal. Though soaked in red chili oil, its “hot level” is pretty low.
My two other favorites are Double Cooked Fresh Bacon with Spicy Capsicum ($9.50) and Sauteed Stringbeans with Chengdu City Spiced ($7.75). They are both medium spicy and great to eat with a lot of rice.
Despite having half the menu colored in red with “hot signs” in front of many items, Sichuan Garden has some good non-spicy dishes too. One popular dish is the Chengdu Roasted Duck, a beautifully roasted half duck with hot sauce on the side. You can always skip the sauce at first but have the option to further indulge yourself if you can still manage!