I met up with Mr. and Mrs. Lambowner and two of her co-workers today at Cooking Girl in Montrose. After some scheduling hassles and anxiety about being able to get a table (it looks very small on the outside), Lambowner discovered on Yelp that they take reservations so we were all set. The website isn’t much help on this. The capacity per the Fire Marshall is 65 and there are only 7 dedicated parking spaces (and no reserved parking!)
They advised us they serve family style which was perfect for us so we could try many dishes - we ordered nine. I tasted eight but only got three pics in the frenzy. I think it’s fair to say we all over-ate. I’m still stuffed six hours later.
Several of the dishes we wanted to try were not available including the Organic Dumplings, Hand-cut noodles, and a special announced on the chalk board, Two Pepper Chicken or something like that. The menu was different that what is online on the website - several additions, several deletions.
The first dish to come out was the Soft Bacon which has received many raves on Yelp. This is just a small portion on my saucer. It was better than I expected and I went back for more. Before the dishes started arriving and we were chatting, Lambowner and I had both voiced concerns about all the hype and wondered if it was just ‘Montrose hype’ particularly since it hasn’t received any coverage in the foodie media yet. After this dish I was ready to pronounce the place the real deal.
The next dishes came out in quick succession. I believe this is, from the left, Cubed Spicy Chicken (or something like that), Dry Fried Green Beans and Kungpao Chicken. I’m not a big fan of the latter but this was very good; also think I’ve had better green beans but the cubed chicken was great.
Some Dan Dan Noodles were ordered (it’s on the appetizer menu). Usually that is one of the first things I order at a Sichuan restaurant but I decided to pass on it this time since we had so much food coming. According to reports I really missed out on something great and possibly the spiciest dish of the day. I’ll be back.
Then came Soy Fried White Lotus, an unbelievable cabbage dish that we all loved and then Crispy Orange Beef which was like crack. Hopefully Lambowner will have some pics of these; if not, I know there’s at least one pic of the cabbage dish on Yelp.
I ordered the Combo Rice Noodle Casserole with Shrimp and Fish, since we had made arrangements to meet here under the guise of the DOTM for this month. I was the only one to try any of this and I took only a few bites and brought about 9/10ths of it home. I’ll report on the leftovers in a day or so!
The last dish to come out - I think the kitchen had to be reminded - was a sausage dish. We basically all just picked at that one a little and my judgement is undoubtedly clouded by the fact I was already over-stuffed.
It was fantastic company and a fantastic meal. I’m sure I’ll find my way back. If you go, go with company and make reservations so the only hassle will be finding a parking place.
We did all notice a general absence of spiciness and the numbing effects of Sichuan peppercorns. I got more of that from the dish I had at Uyghur Bistro last week than from all of these dishes. And it seemed all the seeds had been removed from all the peppers in the cubed chicken dish which had an abundance of pepper pods.
I saw an exchange on Yelp with one diner complaining about the lack of spice and the owners replied they don’t like spicy food themselves so they don’t serve it. A bit strange, admittedly. And maybe part of the reason the place hasn’t received any coverage from the foodie media: Mala Sichuan Bistro has been raved about for several years as the most authentic Sichuan restaurant in the whole state and their second location is only a dozen blocks or so from here.
Still, again, I enjoyed it and will be back.
Thanks again to Lambowner and her cohorts for a great time today.
ETA; The website