China Village (Albany) Downhill Alert

CV has been a favorite family place for us, but we’ve had two terrible meals there over the last few months (soup served before everyone arrived, dishes definitely not the same quality). It absolutely felt like different chefs were in the kitchen and all the front of the house staff were new faces. I asked to speak to a manager (Eric) about our experience in an effort to provide some feedback, but he didn’t seem very interested.

While at another Sichuan restaurant, we spotted one of our favorite waiters from CV and he told us the owner / chef John Yao has retired and CV had indeed changed hands.

JSYK.

I hope the new owners can pull it together, but we’re not likely to return, what with all the new amazing Northern places popping up all over the East Bay and elsewhere.

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Thanks for the report!

Long-time fans seemed to think that China Village never fully recovered after the fire in the early 2010s. After the fire, staff went to Happy Golden Bowl/Ancient Szechuan, and later opened Sichuan Style on Solano. The inaugural Sichuan chef (Liu) is at Royal Feast in Millbrae and folks can find many China Village favorites at Sichuan Fortune House (Pleasant Hill), and Sichuan House (Walnut Creek).

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They’ve been consistently good for lunch, for me. But today I ordered a small “Seafood Deluxe” soup. In the past, it would be teeming with chunks of shrimp, squid and scallops. Today, though, it had about half as much shrimp, only a few chopped up pieces of squid and no scallops that I could find. And they’ve raised their prices across the board. I’ll still visit, but maybe less frequently (I used to go about once a week).

Thanks for all the intel on chef relocations! I’d be inclined to agree that things weren’t really the same after the fire. But the food was still really solid - after this latest change of management, I can’t say the food is worth returning for.

Thanks for the update. I knew they were sold by the original owner. I forget his name but he would often walk around the restaurant and if he saw us would always ask us how the food was. He was very conscientious about the quality of the food and I am not surprised the food has gone downhill since he is no longer there. The same decline in quality happened at Adjanta up the street after the original owner left. We haven’t been back to CV since some “just ok” meals there last year. The last time we went the lines were crazy and I had never seen the restaurant so busy. But the dishes were not executed as well as they used to be. I’ve been wondering how it was doing and it’s sad to hear they have not recovered. At its peak we had some phenomenal meals there. I still remember the sublime MaPo tofu with Dungeness crab, spicy rabbit (they had this in the early days but took it off the menu) and a dry-fried Sichuan fish dish we would always get there. Our current favorite place in the area is Wojia on San Pablo.

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Thanks for the update. My experience at CV had been reasonably good a while back although large family birthday dinners were challenging. However, once my favorite waiter opened what is now Sichuan Style up the street, I moved my business there.

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