The Library Bar at Sichuan Garden II, MA, Boston, Woburn

I know it’s been open since October, but I had a great dinner and drinks session with my son at the “hidden” lounge at Sichuan Garden the other night. We got in earlyish, around 6:15, so we asked if there were seats in the new lounge. We were ushered upstairs through a back stairway from the Baldwin Bar. Ran was working the lounge, and made my son a lovely smooth gin drink , with aromatics in dry ice. It was called the Oracle, and was delicious. I had Ran’s take on a Manhattan, also really good. I’ve heard from native sichuan eaters that the food doesn’t compare to Sichuan Gourmet, but I really love the food here. The Wen Jun Chicken has a wonderful smoky flavor, it’s one of the few non spicy dishes there, and is terrific. The dry hot beef was great, and the dumplings in chili vinegrette were as wonderful as always. My son can’t eat here without an order of the magnificently crispy Chengdu wings. The room is beautiful and fun, we made friends with the table next to us, which I suspect happens often here. After dinner we were ushered out of the secret exit by Ran; after you leave you can look back at the doorless panelled wall, and feel you were in on a new, delightful secret.

Its probably true that the kitchen skills at Lao Sichuan (AKA Sichuan Gourmet) are better than at SG2. But they do a few things very well, in particular a house special chicken which is their take on deep fried chicken with spices (e.g. Chongqing chicken) with stuffed dry peppers and lots of huajiao. It’s served in a basket lined with foil, and the numbing oil drains out into some shredded lettuce beneath. Easily my favorite dish there and one of my general favorites.

I’m with you, love the house special dry fried chicken. It’s hard to find on the menu, and I always forget what they call it, so I have to describe the tin foil and catch basin. My son turned me on to the Wen Jun Chicken, also an awesome dish.

I’ve never seen it on the regular menu, only the specials menu. It’s called “Sichuan Flavor Chicken: Panko diced chicken, cilantro, bell peppers, peanut stuffed chili peppers, vinegar.”

That menu also says the Wen Jun Chicken has Thai chili and cilantro. Your definition of “not spicy” might line up with mine. It also has ‘gastriq’ [sic] which might be a sweet and sour sauce?

Just the tiniest sweet and sour, but not sticky like in many a Amerochinese restaurant. More smoky. Not many thai chilis, neither.

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

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2