An Authentic, Fantastic & Inexpensive Sichuan Treat
by Chloe Morris
This Chinese family owned and operated authentic Sichuan joint has only been open barely two weeks yet they seem to already attract a bevy of Chinese customers. The chef came to Alpharetta by way of Mississippi where he used to own a Chinese restaurant for years. After 8 years here, he decided to open an authentic Chinese restaurant specializing in Sichuan cuisine.
The first thing I noticed about the dishes here is the authentic Sichuan flavors. Lots of garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns are used, and yes, the dishes are spicy as they should be. While the traditional menu, as of the moment, is sparse and very limited, the chef hopes to expand his repertoire and present a more enhanced menu in a week or two.
One of my favorite Chinese appetizers is pig’s ear. I love the chewy, crunchy, gelatinous texture. I’ve had many, many variations of this dish and my favorite remains to be the kind where it’s combined with deep fried, crunchy tofu cubes in a sweet-soy-based sauce. But I do like all kinds. Here, the boiled ears are cooled, sliced thinly, then laced with spicy chili oil and sweetish-salty soy-based sauce. Delicious. I could eat a whole platter of this.
The only other place I’ve had amazingly good, authentic Sichuan dumplings is San Francisco (and China, of course). I haven’t found the same taste anywhere here until now. These boiled dumplings are homemade. The wrappers are soft and chewy while the pork filling is very flavorful. I suspect they are boiled in chicken stock as there is no floury taste in them. The fresh minced garlic topping adds additional heat and pungency. The spicy, sweet-salty sauce with it is so fantastic, I was spooning heaps into my mouth.
MaPo Tofu is a yardstick when it comes to authentic Sichuan cuisine. This dish was so unbelievably good that it was demolished before I could even turn my camera on. The spicy chili and bean-based sauce is totally spot on. The spiciness is numbing yet the bold flavors of the sauce is retained. The tofu is creamy and the minced pork adds texture to this wonderful dish.
The Traditional Spicy Beef Stir-Fry included slices of dry-fried beef. It had lots of dried chili peppers, onions, celery, carrots, green peppers, and lotus roots to provide a crunchy balance to the tender beef. This is another fantastic, spicy dish with lots of garlic and ginger flavors.
A surprising hit, the Chicken Breast in Garlic Sauce sounds ho-hum on paper but delivered a knock-out punch. The tender slices of chicken were infused with a spicy-garlic-chili sauce that lightly coated all the ingredients. There were crisp pieces of cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and wood ear mushrooms that made this dish an exceptional one.
Overall, a fantastic and inexpensive meal. Everything was delicious including the bubble teas with very, very chewy tapioca pearls (just the way they should be).
Cash only at this time.
Prices average $5-9.
Cafe Q Sichuan Cuisine
10475 Medlock Bridge Rd., Suite 105
Johns Creek, GA 30097