Your only complaint might be Chinese cuisine's rejection of the magic of baking, meaning several luscious sauces shall go unsopped. So, ask for a little more of that steamed rice to avoid wasting perfectly prepared sauce.
Service with smiles
Members of the Chen family are quick to smile and quicker to satiate your appetite.
At 19, Sophia moved to Eufaula from Fujian — which is just across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan in mainland China — to open a Chinese restaurant. She moved to North Carolina shortly after to work in another Chinese restaurant. That's where she met Yuan Ren, and they began a two-year courtship that led to marriage and then kids.
Leo does a lot of cooking but said his brother Yuan Zhong Chen is the chef and mastermind behind some of the city's most exciting foods.
The dish that has made this a chef magnet might not be one that appeals to the masses. It is the Spicy Ox Tongue and Tripe, sliced ultra thin, slathered in a sauce that literally bites back and served room temperature or a couple degrees below. The sauce is heavy on oil infused with Szechuan peppercorns. The result is a sauce capable of making your mouth glow in the dark. A gulp of water will only spread the well-intended hurt. Chef Kurt Fleischfresser likens it to sticking the tip of your tongue into the business end of a 9-volt battery and developing an addiction to the sensation. I call it some of the best Tuesday afternoons of my life.
Fair warning: The best of Szechuan Bistro registers on the spicy end. That isn't to say Szechuan Bistro doesn't cater to more cautious palates, but it would be disingenuous not to admit the fiery arts are celebrated more ardently here.
Szechuan Bistro joins the ranks of Grand House, Golden Phoenix, Chow's and Dot Wo at the top of the heap of Asian cuisine. And they throw a heck of a Chinese New Year party for repeat customers.
Go with a group, and be adventurous!
If you go
Szechuan Bistro, 1010 W Memorial Road, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with hours extended to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Delivery is available to a limited area and with a $15 minimum.
For more information, call 752-8889 or go online to szechuanbistro.com