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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Seattle
Food
Feel
Price
7.5
3.0
$15
Chinese
Casual restaurant

Hours
Daily 11:00am–9:30pm

Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

www.sichuan.cwok.com

International District
1048 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA
(206) 720-1690
Sichuanese Cuisine
Good if you’re into hot pot, better if you speak Chinese

Many Chinese restaurants are distrustful of Caucasians that assure the waitstaff they can handle the really spicy stuff. But Sichuanese Cuisine might be the I.D.’s most stubborn.

The specials board is only in Chinese, and if you ask the server for a suggestion, you’ll get the safest dish on the menu. If you can’t make your case in Chinese, or convince them that you were “last here with Chinese friends and liked their food more,” the best you can hope for is that some of the strangers sharing the large, round communal tables will help you make sense of the specials—or at least won’t mind if you point to their food.

The most reliable dishes here are the hot pots and the tasty, cheap dumplings. Sautéed green beans, or fresh Chinese greens stir-fried very simply, are good accompaniments. The amateur-hour dishes—Kung Pao chicken, for example—should be avoided. But when will these authentic Chinese restaurants open their minds to the possibility that white people might actually want to try their real food? The rise of a new food-blogging gastro-generation has created a huge opportunity for certain small, ethnic places to grow their audiences considerably, and encourage cultural intermingling while they’re at it. By actively refusing requests for food that’s spicy or authentic, they’re missing a huge opportunity.

The place is a hole-in-the-wall, with cheap tables in a tiny space in the same sketchy parking lot that houses Tamarind Tree. Of course, sketchiness is a signal for authenticity.

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