Taste of Chongqing is a relatively new Sichuan restaurant on Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel. I'm a big fan of the San Gabriel Sichuan stalwart Chung King, so it was hard for me not to compare.
I always start a Sichuan meal with a selection of the traditional cold appetizers. Smoked chicken was fine but lacked the intense smoke of Chung King. Marinated cucumbers were refreshing and nice to eat along with the spicy foods that followed.
Sichuan style fish with peppers is the equivalent to one of my favorite Chung King dishes, hot pot fish, white fish cooked in a spicy broth. The fish at Congqing is tender and nicely cooked but the broth lacks the sizzle of the highly spiced Chung King broth. If you're looking for spice, the deep fried shrimp have it. Big hits of pepper and Sichuan peppercorn, so much so that I had to eat it in very small amounts. Lamb with pickled peppers was one of my favorite dishes with plenty of spice playing well with the gaminess of lamb.
On the less spicy side, sauteed green beans were very nice and they do a fabulous chow mein with a nice smoky flavor.
My initial reaction to the Taste of Congqing is that it is less funky, but also less flavorful than Chung King. I'd rather go for the raw, in your face flavors of Chung King.
Taste of Chongqing
172 E Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776