I’ve been told that LA’s Sichuan food is superior to that of the SFBA, and had my first sample at the Tustin location of Sichuan Impression. The menu contains items I’ve not seen in the SFBA, or like toothpick lamb are just appearing. The sample of dishes we ordered were nuanced and delicious. Pickled chilies were a common thread-- I tend to see those more in Hunan than Sichuan dishes in the SFBA.
I followed recommendations in the thread devoted to their original location.
- Classic “Potato Strips on Street Corner” : the crinkle cut shape would suggest a french fry with a dry crunchy outside and a starchy inside. Nope! The texture was similar to Sichuan shredded potatoes—wet, more radish-like, which went great with the numbing Sichuan peppercorn seasoning.
- Tea smoked ribs : subtle smoke, juicy taut meat, and a sprinkling of not-bitter garlic chips. Mmm.
- Fresh bamboo shoots in red chili sauce : clean feeling for a dish flavored with chili oil. interesting— the flavor of their chili oil was more similar to Fuchsia Dunlop’s version than that which I’ve had at restaurants in the SFBA. Different, not necessarily better or worse.
- Golden soup with fish fillet : this hits some of the same beats as hot and sour soup, but with a squash-y backbone and huge pieces of fish. I loved the pairing of the slick soup base with wood ear mushrooms, slippery clear noodles (mung bean or yam?) and similar thickness, but higher friction, enoki mushrooms. There’s a good amount of acidity to balance out the mucilaginous texture of the soup base.