Sichuan Cottage (Marlboro, NJ ) Updates

Oh, why didn’t I think of that!!! Great idea!

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I have never tipped for Chinese takeout. At my first visit to a place, I asked the woman next to me, 'should I tip?" and she said, ‘don’t you dare’.

Sounds like she didn’t want you to make her look bad.

In any case, these are different times. Restaurants aren’t taking in as much money, so they are having problems paying their staff, and the tipped staff aren’t getting anywhere near what they used to in tips. I want my favorite places to stay in business and the people who work there to make a living wage. I would certainly suggest paying what you would have had you eaten there before all this, and more if you can. (We were basically 15% folks, but aiming more at 20%-25% for now.)


Agree completely. We never used to tip for takeout but for months that was the only option so we’d tip as if we were dining in the restaurant. Without exception every time we said to add a tip the restaurant owner/staff was extremely appreciative of the gesture.


One thing to do is to compare the Chinese characters. For example, Sichuan Cottage’s #916 (Shredded Beef with Hot Green Pepper) is Jinli’s #B2 (Shredded Beef with Spicy Green Chili). That said, Jinli has a lot of stuff not on Sichuan Cottage’s menu (e.g. Sauteed Pig Kidneys, #N10, though it bears some resemblance to the untranslated #934).

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Great idea! I will have to do that.

Do you find, in general, that Jinli’s food is hotter than Sichuan Cottage? Some of the items we ended up with were much hotter than I expected given their chili pepper rating system.

I can’t comment on relative heat because we hardly ever go to Jinli. It’s good, but we always go at lunchtime and Sichuan Cottage’s lunch menu blows Jinli’s away. (The last couple of Jinli visits were because we either forgot it was a Tuesday or forgot Sichuan Cottage was closed on Tuesday.)

I suppose when this is all over, we’ll have to try Jinli again.

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Got it. I’d love to be able to order the same dish from each place at the same time and do a comparison. But to be honest I find spicing can be variable even from the same place.


Had SC tonight. Excellent as always. Got the usuals but tried Dan Dan Noodle for the first time. Not particularly memorable. Good, but would not order again. Beef with roasted chili, three pepper chicken, and wontons in hot oil all A+.


I had the pleasure (NOT) of having to see my dentist today, but for the first time, had to go to his Marlboro office instead of Red Bank. When I Googled the address, I saw that it is 3/10ths of a mile from Sichuan Cottage, so I was suddenly a little happier about going (and told him all of this, btw).

I honestly don’t think I’ve had SC (or any other Szechuan, for that matter) in this calendar year, so imagine how excited I was to go in and order spicy dumplings AND #922 (fish in chili oil)!! I restrained myself, because I almost ordered West Lake Beef Chowder and Lamb w Cumin too, but I’m one person. With a full fridge. And a nutritionist. :rofl: Suffice it to say I had a VERY yummy dinner, and of course, there are leftovers! @joonjoon introduced me to this dish a few years ago, and I really do love it. Of course, I’d prefer to have the giant VAT of it at a table inside with a bunch of you, but… SIGH.

I did ask the woman at the register if they were going to open up any tables inside and she said no. Caveat: I’m not sure if she fully understood my question, but I asked.


At 25% capacity and social distancing, they have the same problem Shanghai Bun does–they could open only two or three tables. I suspect that most Chinese restaurants are not feeling a big push to open, as take-out Chinese food was so embedded in our culture already. (Indeed, when one ate in the restaurant, one could watch a steady stream of people picking up take-out–often more than were actually eating in.)


I absolutely agree-and many restaurants in AP are saying the same thing-that it’s just not worth the time and effort right now to seat a handful of people inside when they can continue to serve bigger numbers outdoors.

Friends (who are not into the authentic aspects of Sichuan Cottage) just got take-out of things like Shrimp Dumplings, Cashew Chicken, Shrimp Kung Pao, and Steamed Vegetables there and were quite pleased/impressed. (They are being super-cautious about where they get food from, and only got Sichuan Cottage because we were getting it and hadn’t had any problems.)

Sichuan Cottage was not set up for inside dining when they went. I think it’s the same problem as Shanghai Bun–they are way too small to open at 25%.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold