|11:30am - 9:40pm|
|2/F, Chengdu Champagne Plaza, Dongda Rd.|
|Comments (Add Comment)|
Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
This unassuming local restaurant on the second level of Champagne Plaza is surrounded by several newer and trendier eateries, but it still packs in the crowds, especially at lunch. We dropped in one evening to see what the appeal was all about and perused an extensive menu of typical Sichuan dishes. Our server said the house specialties were meatball soup, fish dishes, or dry pot. We opted for dry pot with rabbit as the protein (chicken, ribs, and other options are also available). Eggplant dishes are usually good indicators of a kitchen's skill and attention to detail, so we asked for some eggplant from the selection of cold dishes and, spying a pile of mashed potatoes on a neighbouring table, asked for an order of those too.
The eggplant had been peeled and grilled carefully before being tossed with seasonings and charred hot peppers. It was one of those dishes that you make a note of - not only to order again - but to make a special trip back to the restaurant to eat. Both the eggplant dish and the dry pot landed on the table within nanoseconds of being ordered. The rabbit pieces in the dry pot were crisp and spicy and delicious with plenty of the “ma la” numbing heat that makes you want to take another bite and another bite. Our only quibble was the lack of starchy elements in the dry pot: it had lots of lettuce heart, but a few spuds or chunks of rice cake would have taken it over the top. Our mashed potatoes came out a few minutes later, robed in a meat sauce that made them into a pile of instant comfort food.
Most of the other diners were groups of downtown white collar types, but there were a few tables of families and dates in the room. The restaurant has a couple of private rooms that seat up to 12 people. Cost per diner about 40RMB, which is a bargain for dishes this good in the area.