Sichuan Spice And Everything Nice
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A lot of care goes into Sichuan cooking, and Spicy Pavilion owners Gary Tu and his wife Wendy Cheng, along with their daughter Qi, present a rare culinary finesse that has otherwise been lost in this style of Chinese cuisine.
Produce is bought each morning to stock the restaurant with quality ingredients, and menu items such as Beef Rolled in Chinese Pancake ($8.99) are made fresh each morning, with hours of preparation and cooking put into the recipe. Customers can literally taste the freshness in the food at Spicy Pavilion, as well as the exhilarating spice from the prominent Sichuan chilies and peppercorns.
For all you spice lovers, this one’s for you. But for those who are unsure about trying extreme spices, the eatery can adjust the spice levels, too. It is good to note, however, that the clean tastes of Sichuan peppers produce a numbing feeling rather than a painful experience — and the food is so flavorful that the spice only exists to enhance the food, not overpower it.
Easily a favorite at Chinatown’s Spicy Pavilion, Stir-fried Eggplant in Ground Pork ($12.99) is expertly cooked in a hot wok with green onions, garlic, Sichuan chilies (no peppercorns), ginger, ground pork and eggplant. The restaurant uses Chinese purple eggplant, instead of the local variety, because the color is vibrant and beautiful, the texture is softer and the taste is milder. This dish is perfect over rice and can be amped up with more spice, if desired.
Chinatown Cultural Plaza,
100 N. Beretania St., Ste. 113, Chinatown
Tuesday-Sunday, lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner: 5-9 p.m.; closed Monday