Friday, March 22, 2013

Chicago's last lunch at LAO SZE CHUAN is a bit wan (3-16-13)

We were visiting our friends uptown and headed to wonderful new
Chinese spot nearby called LAO SZE CHAUN and rated one of the top ten
Chinese restaurants in the country by a Chinese newspaper (does the
owner perhaps own the paper?). At any rate the dark décor at 4832 N.
Broadway St is okay with lots of lacquer looks and Chinese décor. The
tables and chairs are simple wooden and nothing is fancy, especially
the men's room!
A plate of super spicy but fabulous SZECHUAN CABBAGE appeared and the
three adults gobbled it up.

We were cold from the snow flurries, so the three adults ordered tea
and it came barely lukewarm. We sent it back and it took almost 20
minutes for a hot pot to reappear. Oddly, the Vegetarian SPRING ROLLS
came with ice cold centers. I was beginning to wonder if the heat in
the kitchen was broken!
We sent them back and new ones appear, scalding hot, of course, and we
were not charged for them either...which was nice. I do have to say
thought that the grease on the plate was intense on both the rolls and
the PORK POT STICKERS. I wish they would place them on a towel to
absorb some of the grease before placing them on a paper doily that
just enhances the oily features.

The hit appetizer was the SPICY STING BEANS with BLACK BEAN SAUCE that
features what I was sure was crispy tofu and mushrooms. It was superb
dish that we all raved about.
For the main course our friend ordered a monstrous bowl of NOODLE SOUP
with VEGETABLES that was as big as my head and full of tasty noodles
and veggies. It did require a bit of chili sauce for spice as it was
pretty plain. The big hit for the main course was the GARLIC PEAPOD
LEAVES which are the leaves of the pea pods sautéed with garlic. These
leaves are apparently very expensive and considered a delicacy...we
loved them.
The Chef's SPECIAL CHILI Chicken has a "very spicy" warning, so we
asked them to tone it down a bit. It was small chunks of fried chicken
in a slightly greasy red chili sauce laden with whole chilis....tasty,
but again, where is that paper towel when you need it? The DOUBLE
FRIED SLICED DUCK was a tasty dish with lean duck slices and tasty
veggies, but I hit two small bone shards which turned me off so fast.
Rather than fortune cookies or fruit we got tasty little mango sucking
The decision we made was that one needs to stick to non-greasy, non-
fried and especially vegetarian dishes here.