It’s been more than a month since I got back from Los Angeles but I still have a number of meal reports to go. After a string of sushi reports here now is a brief account of our return to Chengdu Taste in late July. Our lunch there was one of the highlights of our trip last summer; despite noting in the write-up of that meal that we’d be back on each trip, we unaccountably failed to go in December. Well, there was going to be no such error on this trip. Once again we escaped the long lines by going for lunch on a weekday, not too long after they opened. We still had to wait but not for very long. And this time we had our table to ourselves. While the restaurant was full throughout, it does appear that the opening of the new branches in Rosemead and Rowland Heights have eased the pressure somewhat (our meal was again at the original Alhambra location). Though I’m sure weekend lunches still draw the lines.
I am also happy to report that the opening of new branches has not had any negative effect on the quality of food. Last year’s lunch was the best Sichuan meal we’d ever had (at least since the heyday of Chung King at its original Monterey Park location in the early 2000s) and this one came close to that. It was very hard not to order again some of the things we especially loved at that meal (particularly the “Flavored Pork Crura” and the “Spring Onion Chicken in Pepper Sauce“) but we were resolved to try all new things. We were also resolved on this outing to do a more rounded order in terms of flavours, textures and dish types and to not blow our tastebuds out with heat, heat and more heat.
As always, the great benefit of having a home base in L.A. is that we can do our usual over-ordering (there were only the two of us) and carry leftovers home for dinner.
This is what we got:
- Wonton with Chicken Broth
- Boiled Fish with Green Pepper Sauce
- Flour Steamed Beef
- Braised Dong Po Pork Crura
- Cabbage with Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Chengdu Style Fried Rice
There are more details in the captions in the slideshow below but I will note that that the fish, the flour steamed beef and the cabbage were the particular standouts.
Service is the usual SGV brusque but also more attentive than at most places (I guess they have to be to keep the tables turning). With tax and tip this came to $83 with a lot of leftovers. An incredible value for the quality of the food. We’ll be back for sure this December—and maybe we’ll try to come with more people and really load a table up (and get their mao cai as well). We also need to get out to their more recent competition: Szechuan Impression and Chuan’s.