My friend has been telling us about this new chinese restaurant, Szechuan Chef, in Bellevue. We've had Hot Pot by its sister restaurant at the International District in Seattle. We finally made plans on Friday to check it out. It's located in a shopping plaza at the corner of NE 148th and Main St.
The restaurant was hard to spot from the road as the sign did not stand out as the other neon signs. When we walked in, we noticed how big the inside of the restaurant was with high ceiling and it was very busy.
We ordered 5 typical Szechuan dishes between the 4 of us. The portions were huge and I was quite amazed that we finished almost all of them. Each dish was wonderful and had distinctive flavor of its own. Enough heat but not so much that you can't taste.
Cold Szechuan Jellyfish -- Not too spicy and actually quite cooling. Both my friend and I loved this dish but our husbands prefered the cold noodles.
Cold Szechuan Noodles -- Spicy but not too hot and a little sweet & tangy from the vinegar.
Sour Potato - Now this was a surprise dish. It was not as sour as the name suggests but it was light and refreshing. Doesn't really taste like potatoes and definitely not starchy. A nice contrast in flavor to the other dishes.
Preserved Cabbage, pork and vermiceli soup -- This was a familiar soup as it was something my grandma made quite often (minus the chili pepper)Can't remember the actual name of this dish but it was number 51 on the menu. Spicy fried chicken with green beans. It had 5 stars -- suppose to be really spicy -- but it wasn't too bad. The chicken was nice and crispy -- so were the green beans.
Szechuan Chilli Crab -- I wondered if this was going to be similar to the chili crab in Singapore but it's not. It kind of remind me of the Pepper Crab. The spicy/salty crust made the crab really tasty.
Within 10 minutes into our meal, we looked over and saw a huge line at the front of the restaurant. I'm glad we made reservation as my friend said it gets really busy about 7 p.m. Lots of people there was having "Hot Pot". I was actually surprised to see so many non-asians there as I wouldn't think this type of cuisine would be within the American's taste palate. As soon as we paid our bill, the restaurant host kindly ask us to leave as they have people waiting for the table. At least they weren't rude about it.
I'm definitely going back there. There were a ton of other dishes I want to try and the Hot Pot.