Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Good Impressions of Szechuan Impression

Farm Chicken in Chili Oil
Szechuan Impression serves some of the best food in LA. This won't be news to a lot of people, but I was slow to get there.  I had a mourning period after Chung King closed and then settled into Chengdu Taste. I had heard great things about Szechuan Impression, but just hadn't made it there. I was lucky that My Annoying Opinions was in town and suggested we meet there.

My Annoying Opinions is a whiskey blogger who visits LA twice per year. We usually meet up in the San Gabriel Valley for a meal, to exchange whiskey samples and so that he can get material to make fun of me for the next six months.

Almost everything we ordered at Sichuan Impression, and we ordered a lot, was outstanding. The traditional Sichuan dishes that I'd also tried at Chengdu Taste were better at Szechuan Impression with more spice and brighter flavors.  Here are the highlights:

  • Farm Chicken in Chili Oil, cold chicken bits and peanuts in a stupendous chili oil.  This is all about the sauce, which I would have been happy to slurp from the bowl if I didn't think it would spill and permanently turn my shirt bright red. It's hard to explain in words how good this stuff is, which is I guess why I stopped food blogging in the first place, but it's really good.
  • Lamb on Toothpicks, pretty much the same as the popular dish at Chengdu Taste with intensely cumin flavored lamb buried under a mound of cilantro. 
  • Boiled Fish with Rattan Pepper. This is probably the best Sichuan boiled fish I've had. It's fairly similar to other versions with pickled peppers and lots of peppercorns, but the flavor is sharper with a bit more acid. It's really wonderful.
  • Leg Crossingly Yum Beef Soup. Is there a better name for a dish anywhere in the world? This is similar to the Korean bone broth seolleongtang with its cloudy beef broth and thin strips of brisket. This one also had radish and some chili powder for topping. 
  • Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar. For dessert, this is crispy fried rice cake served in a pond of deep, black sauce which tastes like molasses. Another dessert on the menu, Cinderellas Pumpkin Rides were tasty fried pumpkin fritters, though I preferred the rice cakes.  
So check out Szechuan Impression, and also see My Annoying Opinion's review which has photos of every dish hastily taken in the few seconds he could hold me off before I jammed my chopsticks into the bowl.

Szechuan Impression
1900 W. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 283-4622 


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