Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lao Sze Chuan

I'm a huge fan of Chinatown but my family always goes to the same two places: Emperor's Choice and Phoenix. We love them both that we never had a reason to explore other options - that's why I'm grateful some work friends decided to organize a Sunday evening trip to check out Lao Sze Chuan. As a local foodie I've heard a lot about Tony Hu and his empire but had never experienced it myself. Chinatown is great because it's both authentic yet approachable (and most restaurants have figured this out by having entirely different sections or floors for seating). Lao Sze Chuan does a very nice job of presenting a menu with an overwhelming number of choices with clear labels to steer you on your desired path. Our Sunday night dinner didn't need to go exotic or push the envelope so we ordered familiar dishes and didn't even really flip the pages. Everything we ordered came as expected and tasted great - fully embracing the "Americanized" Chinese food we've come to love growing up on Panda Express :) I'm not disappointed by this because the food was high quality and gave us what we wanted. If we were interested in pigs feet or hot pots we could have ordered those (which is to say if you want adventure, there's plenty to try).

We didn't send back anything left on the plates but if I had to pick a favorite dish it was the classic Mongolian Beef - with a slightly sweeter sauce than usual as opposed to spicy. It's a tried and true dish but when you do it well, it's one of my all time favorites. I also really liked the pork mu shoo and the vegetable fried rice. The most surprising dish was our dry chili chicken, which looked a lot scarier and spicier than reality. It was simply very good fried chicken pieces in an interesting sauce. I would definitely order that again. I didn't love the pot stickers (sad day) and the string beans were nothing compared to Emperor's Choice beans. The lone fish dish - sole in black bean sauce - was solid but middle of the road comparatively.

I'm a fan of LSC even if we had a little trouble with the language barrier ("white rice?") and couldn't quite understand the out of focus panda pictures on the walls. Our service in the beginning was also strangely absent since it was a high volume time of night. But even so, the food was very good and we had a lot of fun with a large table on a Sunday night (and it's hard to ever complain about poor value in Chinatown). It would be for me to choose a new place over my long time family preferences - but it does go to show how many great options there are in Chinatown.

Lao Sze Chuan on Urbanspoon


  1. I've heard great things about LSC and it's been on my list for some time. Very jealous of your dinner. I've been craving some good chinese food for awhile now. I have heard that they deliver :)

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