Dave’s View: I got Americanized at Szechwan Garden on Lafayette Road the other day. Yes, I did allow myself to be Americanized, but deep down in my heart, I just wish I was left alone. The menu at Szechwan Garden is huge. You can get about any Chinese item, like tripe, frog or duck tongue. I could have done the adventure and tried the duck tongue, but I wasn’t in the mood. I just wanted something simple and easy. I ordered Chicken with Chili Pepper and I was told by the server that it had bones in it. Now, I’m not a “bone” type of guy. I have had many meals with bones and I wasn’t in the mood to navigate around “bones” again. I was thinking to myself this will be like the spare short ribs you get at a Chinese restaurant. Short, stout, and not much meat on them. (False images of miniaturized chickens with very little meat were floating in my head.) So when I heard, they have “bones” in them, I looked down in my huge menu. The server replies, “We do have Spicy Popcorn Chicken, which doesn’t have any bones.” I’m thinking, I’m not looking at this menu again, so I said, “Yeah, go ahead and give me that.” I was Americanized. How bad was it? Here you go:
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re a dumbass. Yep. Can’t disagree. All I can say it was probably fried in the same oil as the fish because I could taste some remnants of fish in the batter. It was extremely spicy, with its dried chili peppers, and jalapenos. Not much of an adventurous Chinese dish. I’m sorry. I failed you.
Service is fantastic, just don’t let them Americanize you. Or, go into the place with an adventurous attitude. Look at the menu for thirty minutes to two hours(really you would spend two hours looking at a menu?) and pick something you’ve never had before. As the saying goes, “Don’t be a Dave at Szechwan Garden, you big pussy!”
Service: 8.5 Food: 6 Ambiance: 9 Total: 23.5 out of 30
$35-$40 with adult beverages.
Andrea’s View: This food adventure was “family style” blown to epic proportions. And I’m not referring to the fact that we were dining with family. We were. But I am referring to the huge portion sizes at Szechwan Garden. So here’s the warning that I would have liked to have had before Dave, my parents, and I all descended upon this restaurant: They serve the entrees family style, meaning that each entrée is big enough for a family of four to pass around and share. When all was said and done, we ended up with two appetizers, four family sized entrees and an entrée sized side of green beans. The staff was giggling, other patrons were staring, and we were completely clueless. It was pretty awesome.
I myself ordered the pan-fried green beans (the interweb told me to) and the chicken in dry pot. I know what you are thinking, “Really Andrea, green beans in a Chinese restaurant?” But really, these are not just any green beans, these are perfectly blanched then fried in pork fat and garlic, until they are salty, meaty bits of green bean heaven. I am not exaggerating. They are the “bomb.” Now my chicken in dry pot is a kind of misnomer. It came in an enormous fondue pot, but it was anything but dry. The fondue pot came complete with a sterno underneath and the liquid inside the pot was boiling. Along with the liquid lava came chicken, bell peppers, red chili peppers, mushroom, bamboo, and peanuts. And it was hot. Not just temperature hot, but spicy hot. Now, I was warned about that, the dish on the menu had two red chili pepper icons next to it, and our server also re-enforced that this dish was hot. Neither she or the menu was lying. But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, it was really good, even if my dad did ask if I was okay because I looked a little flushed. At least I wasn’t crying. And I did take it home and eat it for lunch the next day. Along with the green beans. I would have fought every single one of them for the left over green beans.