Chengdu 1 Palace, Green Brook

Wonderful review in today’s NYT: http://nyti.ms/1OCY0bF

C1 in Cedar Grove was my go-to and education in Szechuan food; I had to move once they closed that location but reading this (with mentions of most of my favorite dishes) reminds me I must make the pilgrimage to Green Brook!

“quick-fried string beans tossed with minced pork and garlic” I like this dish. I am amazed that it serves both Cantonese Dim Sum and Szechuan dishes. My guess is that they have two head chefs handling the two workflows. It is more than an hour away, but if I every near by, I will give it a try. Thanks for the post.

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We had another outstanding dinner at Chengdu 1 Palace Sunday night. This place is all about the food. You have to ignore the service and ambience, and the fact that they will bring out your entree before your appetizer :grin: Luckily we have our old reliable server Jessica that knows exactly what we like. It’s funny, we were greeted by this big boy & asked if Jessica was there, and he said ‘Oh you mean Mom’ :grinning: Wow, we were floored. We couldn’t believe that was Jessica’s son. We remember him when he was a tiny little boy in the old Cedar Grove location. Besides our usual order of spicy baby wontons, Hot & Spicy Jumbo Prawns, Hot & Spicy lobster with no cilantro and extra spicy celery & ginger, and ants climbing a tree, we tried a new dish of some sort of Hunan style stir fried lamb that was delicious. It had some tiny chopped green Cayenne Chili peppers that had a real kick to them. The overall lamb dish was not spicy, but every once in a while when you got a little piece of those peppers they stayed with you for a while :slightly_smiling_face: We used to get the Cumin Lamb, which was 5 alarm spicy, but this was a juicier version and not as dry, which I like. We had plenty of leftovers. I can’t believe that this place is that much worse than Sichuan Cottage, which everyone raves about on this forum. They even have hot pots, but we always stick to the Sichuan section.





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I forget, is Chengdu 23 in Wayne owned by the same people?

No.

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Nope! But those are my 2 favorite Szechuan spots, which Sichuan Cottage in a close 3rd. I’ve just had so many spectacular meals at C23 and (the original, mostly) C1 that I can’t let go of them even after 3 years of living down the shore!

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We had an epic mini HOdown at Chengdu 1 Palace Sunday night with @CurlzNJ and her really nice friends, and @corvette_johnny . There was tons of food ordered and comped. We had a blast and did some pretty good damage. Some of the highlights were the hot and spicy lobster, hot and spicy jumbo prawns, spicy baby wontons, twice cooked pork, kung pao chicken, stir fry lamb, shredded potatoes, comped crispy spicy chicken, and various comped steamed dumplings and other things that I didn’t get pictures of. It was great to see @CurlzNJ and @corvette_johnny again.












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That was an epic feast! As I’ve said to you and @corvette_johnny I think it’s the best way to eat good Szechuan–with a bunch of other good eaters!
I have to say that they’re not nearly as heavy-handed w the Szechuan peppercorns as the original owner was, but the food is still my benchmark for the cuisine. I think my #1 for the night was the new lamb dish; the prep is similar to the twice-cooked pork with leeks…a smattering of fermented black beans kicked it up another level, and that lamb was beyond tender. I also loved the Kung Pao Chicken Ding and the ‘dry prep’ version of Ants Climbing A Tree and will definitely ask if Sichuan Cottage will make it that way the next time I go.
Leftovers for lunch! :grin:

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Yes, I definitely remember the food being much spicier in their old Cedar Grove location, but at least I was able to taste everything, including my wine, without completely going numb :grinning: It just had a more subtler heat, and was still very flavorful. I had the Kung Pao chicken ding and twice cooked pork for the first time and really enjoyed those. It was also nice to have the shredded potatoes again. I completely forgot about that dish. We used to order it all of the time at the old Cedar Grove location.
I think we have leftovers for the next few nights :smile: Besides what we took home from our dinner, I ordered additional orders of the hot and spicy prawns and hot and spicy lobster. If we are going to make the long trip, we might as well get a few dinners out of it :slightly_smiling_face:

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Step one when reheating Sichuan leftovers: remove the chilies.

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Well I have to say, this exceeded expectations! It was a pleasure seeing Evie, Eli and Mrs P again. It was also great to meet Eric and Lynn.

When Eli and Eric start ordering and they both started saying “let’s order two” (multiple times,) I knew I was in for a treat! Lol

I think I tried everything but the twice cooked pork, the one veggie dish, and some white rice which I didn’t want to eat and fill up room in my belly :slight_smile:

The highlight of the night for me was the lobster and lamb. That lamb was outrageously tender, spicy and all around an awesome dish. I would be ordering that all week long if that place was nearby. I had that for lunch leftover and it was still great…even microwaved at work. Now that I think about it the prawns were probably up there too…it’s a close call.

The lobster preparation was something I’ve never experienced. The combo of chili, garlic and potent ginger was really something. I really liked this dish. Next time I’m bringing my butter warmer and a stick of butter :wink:

I can’t wait for the next rendezvous here. Thanks for a great night and introducing me to some new style dishes. Cheers

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I’m so glad that you enjoyed it Johnny. It’s worth the 45 minute trip for us. That lamb really is tender, and that lobster is incredible. Now you see why Mrs. P only wants to go to Chengdu 1 every time we have a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary :blush:

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For those of you who are interested in Szechuan food in general, this is a terrific read:

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Everything looks amazing, including the diners.

What wines did you pair with the food? I’m never sure what works best with highly spiced/intensely flavored food. I could use some pointers. Thanks

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It’s the only time I drink it, but I brought a bottle of Dr. Loosen Riesling…super sweet until you start eating the spicy stuff! Def helps balance it out. Prosecco is another favorite of mine, as is the Cab rosé that’s my go-to in general. I prefer lighter wines with that cuisine.

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Eli, always the gracious host, brought a malbec and I believe a petite sirah. Evie brought a riesling and I brought a common mark west pinot noir. With the chili numbing effects of this cuisine, I think we may agree that the first glass is perhaps the best of the night. Once the tongue starts tingling, I don’t think there is a need for anything “high end.” Others may disagree, but a 12-16 dollar bottle gets the job done in my book.

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It was an awesome meal Eli. Thank you for the invite and great experience. It was a pleasure seeing you and Mrs P again! Eric is definitely a true food fan and I hope he can chime in with some of his pics. I saw some on his site and they looked outstanding!

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Normally a good white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc) would go with spicy Sichuan food but Mrs. P and I only drink reds. I bought along two malbecs from Mendoza, Argentina. The Melipal was a red blend with mostly malbec, petite sirah, and cabernet franc. The Belasco AR Guentota was 100% old vine malice. “Full body, round and silky tannins and a intense finish. Very soft and silky. Balanced yet flavorful and dense. Drink now or hold. " - 90 Points James Suckling”



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@CurlzNJ I am not a Riesling drinker but I can see how it would work with the spice. I’m a big fan of the sweet/hot flavor combo. I often sprinkle aleppo pepper on chocolate ice cream.

@corvette_johnny I’m glad to hear you don’t need anything high end. $12-16 is often my price point.

@paryzer The Melipal sound great. I’m a big Cab Franc fan. By the way, how is Mrs P feeling?

Thanks all!

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Mrs. P is still in some pain and going to therapy twice a week. At home she alternates between the TENS unit and a heating pad. It’s going to take a few months for the nerves to regenerate but she is powering through it. Thanks for asking!

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