Yesterday I took a ride to SC, as I’ve been craving some legit Sichuan for weeks. I’ve been telling friends who used to live in Philly that it’s the only place I’ve found down here in 7 years that qualifies, so they also placed an order. I got my usual: dumplings in hot chili oil, sesame noodles, and #922, fish and tofu in hot oil.
I’ll start by saying I haven’t had SC in close to a year (since my last post) AND I was feeling the pressure of having told my friends how great it is. Sesame noods were spot on w great kick. Dumplings were different but delicious, so no complaints. Sorry to say that wasn’t the case w the fish dish, which @joonjoon introduced me to a few years ago. The broth that came with it yesterday was minimal (it used to be almost like a giant bowl of soup/hot pot), and while it had some heat, it was missing the deep color and depth of flavor that I had come to love. It also had no contrasting texture - just fish + tofu. It used to have bean sprouts (and MAYBE glass noodles?). When I have the leftovers later today, I’ll add some bok choy, since I have some in the fridge (channeling @MsBean ).
Bottom line is I suspect they have a new chef. SIGH. It’s still the only place that’s been consistently good, but I’m sad.
P.S. I did have the foresight to stop at Nicholas Creamery on the way home for some Rainbow Cookie ice cream, as I always want something sweet after spicy food.
Sorry to hear the fish was disappointing. Have you ever been to Jinli? It’s the one in the plaza with the Asian Market up the street from SC. We did take out from there and thought the food was very good.
The one time I tried Jinli, they were closed. That’s because I had tried going to SC was closed, so it was probably a Tuesday; haven’t tried again, but it’s certainly worth a shot based on what you and others have said!
Re: the ice cream, I did like it - although I’d like double the amount of ‘stuff’ (cookie pieces, chocolate) in it. I also liked the fact that it’s more ‘solid’ because of the almond base vs. their regular cream bases. I do often feel like I’m racing/eating NC’s ice cream faster than I want to because it’s melting quickly. Oh, and the PB Whiskey is pretty damn good too!
There is an entire Jinli thread (https://www.hungryonion.org/t/jinli-sichuan-cuisine-marlboro-nj/14347). Summary: About on a par with Sichuan Cottage–better on some things, not as good on others. Was a bit pricier, a couple of years ago, IIRC, but who knows now. For dine-in it seemed to be very noisy. Of course, since all we’re doing these days is take-out, that wouldn’t matter as much. Not sure of their current hours, but it had always been the backup place when we managed to forget that Sichuan Cottage was closed on Tuesdays.
We picked up food at Sichuan Cottage Sunday: Three Pepper Chicken (of course), Shredded Pork with Sweet Bean Sauce (very good), and Fish Fillet with Chopped Chili and Black Bean Sauce (very spicy, but not much black bean). Gong hei fat choy!