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Chengdu 1


rooftop1000
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CHENGDU 1

Pilgrim Shopping Plaza

89 Pompton Ave (rt 23)

Cedar Grove

973-239-7726 (36)

After seeing some yummy pictures on Off the Broiler and Baristanet we made our way to Chengdu 1 last night. We met up with some friends and headed into the very nice well decorated room and were seated at a 4 top but quickly moved to a larger round with lazy susan for a little extra plate room.

We started with some apps from both side of the menu - Spicey Wontons dressed with a spicy sesame oil, Scallion Pancake, and Ox Tongue with Tripe also in a spicy oily sauce - all excellent. The tongue and tripe were served sliced paper thin, chilled with an awsome sauce.

For entrees we ordered Dry Fried Pork served with celery and scallion with tons of dried peppers and szechuan peppercorns, Ma Po Tofu (killer good), sesame shrimp for our "no spice" companion, and Pig Intestine in Fire Pot wich also included cubes of pig blood I believe...ummmm not great, not horrible but....

on to the teasing

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permission to drool

we will be back

tracey

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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Chengdu 1 is quite good.  While China 46 is a Shanghainese restaurant, Chengdu 1 is sichuan.  i don't know of any other sichuan places in north jersey, but if anyone does i'm all ears.

service:  horrible.

China Chalet, Florham Park, about 10 minutes from the Short Hills Mall. The chef is from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, my wife's hometown. Ask for a meal prepared as if you are in Chengdu. I recommend their fu chi fei pien (appetizer), sichuan dumplings, water cooked beef (a very spicy dish), 3-pepper chicken. I forget their official names on the menu, but the menu is mostly good as long as you don't order the clearly American stuff. I've posted on the place before with some pictures. We typically let the chef pick most of our dishes for us these days.

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I think that China Chalet is very good. 

In Fairfield, I like Hunan Cottage.

Both have extensive posts in the past.

i recall that Hunan Cottage leans more towards Shanghainese. maybe they have both though. even China 46 has some sichuan dishes. but for the most part, it's a Shanghianese restaurant, and Chengdu struck me as primarily Sichuan. i'll have to look into China Chalet for sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a decent meal at Chengdu 1 the other night - spicy wonton appetizer was delicious, and we had the Kung Pao Chicken Ding and Lamb with Special Pepper sauce. The lamb, which was prepared with a somewhat 'dry' sauce (and came with onions), had more of a kick to it than the chicken - in a good way.

No complaints about the service - efficient and courteous. The only odd thing, which was in my subconcious mind until my wife pointed it out, was the fact that they had a Kenny G-like Christmas music album playing in the background!

I definitely think we'll be going back - hopefully the next time the music will be a bit more seasonally appropriate :smile:

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We live just around the corner from Chengdu1, so we've had a few takeouts from there. The food has for the most part been pretty good. The venison (or was it lamb?) dish in a spicy hot oil sauce, with dried chili peppers was the most memorable one for me. Their liberal application of chilis/hot oil in their spicy dishes is pretty ballsy for northern NJ. :biggrin:

I applaud them for featuring a healthy selection of organ meats on their menus. But I do wonder how long those items will remain there.

Looking at China Chalet's menu on the whole, I wouldn't have thought of them as a Sichuan restaurant. However, the foold there is also top quality. My wife and I were guessing either Beijing influenced or Taiwanese or maybe "Chinese eclectic"? Not Cantonese like Noodle Chu - that much I'm sure.

andrewhwest: could you have gotten a special "Chengdu" treatment at China Chalet because your wife made it know to the chef where she was from?

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The venison (or was it lamb?) dish in a spicy hot oil sauce, with dried chili peppers was the most memorable one for me. Their liberal application of chilis/hot oil in their spicy dishes is pretty ballsy for northern NJ. :biggrin:

I had that very same lamb dish last night and it was excellent. The lamb was coated in, what seemed to be, a spice rub and was cooked dry like only the Asian culture can do. It was spicy and salty and made the back of my tongue tingle from the barrage of flavor. I will definately be having that dish again!! I also tried the 5 spice beef appetizer and it was nothing like I expected. The beef was from a cut of the animal that I have never seen before. Each piece was very thinly sliced and was a rectangle that measured approx (no I didn't take out a ruler and measure, silly!!) 1 1/2 inces by 2 inches. It wasn't solid meat though. it was almost like bacon in that there were layers of fat and meat similar to a slice of bacon. Some of the pieces of the fat layer were a bit too gristle-y for me. The dipping sauce that came with it was where the 5 spice flavor came in. I ate it Shabu-Shabu style. This place continues to intrique me and I am commited to try the more authentic items untill I narrow it down to the ones I really love. My theory on chinese restauratns, althought it holds less and less water for places like Chengdu 1, Noodle Chu, and China 46, is that every chinese restaurant does one dish, or one category of dishes really well and it is my job to research what that dish or category of dishes is. Delicious research, isn't it? Back to the drawing board as far as appetizers go at Chengdu 1 but I am getting closer on the main dishes.

Eric

Edited by ejebud (log)

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Les Marmitons-NJ

Johnson and Wales

Class of '85

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I also tried the 5 spice beef appetizer and it was nothing like I expected.  The beef was from a cut of the animal that I have never seen before.

I'm gonna say that's probably sliced beef tendon. Beef tendon has a mild flavor that's only faintly reminiscent of an animal, so it needs help from a tasty sauce. I like it for its texture.

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I think some of that mystery meat was in our Ox tongue and Tripe dish it streaky and almost had a crunch....its in a picture up top.

good stuff

tracey

first picture lower right corner.....

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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I dropped by this place last week at lunch time for some take out. And let me say, I was impressed. I ordered the Dan Dan noodles, the wotons in red oil, and hot and sour soup. The Dan Dan noodles and the spicy wontons were both amazing, and unlike anything I've had at other Chinese restaurants. The portion of the wontons was a bit small, but it was made up for by the very large portion of Dan Dan noodles. I guess they're both considered appetizers, so they were only like $3.95 each. The hot and sour soup was good, but nothing revolutionary. The broth was nice and thick though. I would definitely return here for a sit down dinner. The menu is pretty extensive and prices are very good on most items. I hope they do well.

I also think it's kind of funny that Eric mentioned that he thinks Chinese restaurants tend to do one dish well. I have more experience with take out Chinese joints than the sit down Chinese restaurants, but I noticed the same thing with the take out joints. Each place seems to do one dish better than any other place. Here in Fair Lawn, there's a very successful take out Chinese retaurant called Man Hing. They're very good overall, but their best dish is their boneless ribs. There's another joint on Broadway (I forget the name of it) that does excellent pork lo mein.

When I lived in Waldwick, there was a great hole-in-the-wall take out place called Lee Garden. Again, very good overall, but they have one unique dish that I have never found anywhere else. They simply call it "Chicken and Shrimp in Brown Sauce", and offer it only as a combo platter. This dish gets my vote as one of the best take-out Chinese restaurant dishes ever. It's simply boneless chicken and shrimp (nice big pieces too!) in a brown sauce with a lot of heat (they'll tone it down if you ask them). I still drive up there every once in a while to get this dish. It absolutely rocks! They also do a very cool cheap fried shrimp appetizer. Not big pieces, but they give you a lot (about 20 pieces or so) and it's only like $4.00. If you live near here though, you have to try the chicken & shrimp in brown sauce!

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Stopped by for take-out the other day.

Ordered appetizers of small spicy wontons and

pork with fresh garlic. Both outstanding. Wontons

were tender and sichuan spicing was delicious. The

pork was pork belly and naturally full of flavor.

We had shrimp in a sichuan sauce and a chicken dish.

Whoa, really terrific in terms of taste and spicing.

Next time its the lamb dish everyone is commenting on and

one of their sichuan fish offerings.

I really liked this place.

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I think some of that mystery meat was in our Ox tongue and Tripe dish it streaky and almost had a crunch....its in a picture up top.

I really have no idea what part of the cow that is. I took a look at their takeout menu and the appetizer Eric had is indeed listed as "beef".

If I were to guess, it almost looks like the gristly part of chuck-eye steak.

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We went here last Friday with a friend who has traveled extensively in China and is a Sichuan maven. He pronounced the food the "real deal." There were about 5-6 tables occupied at 8PM on a Friday, and we certainly had no problems with service at all. I'm sure that the few words of Chinese that my friend offered up didn't hurt.

Appetizers were the wontons in red oil, dan-dan noodles, pan-fried dumplings for the less adventurous. All were first rate although I have to concur that the portions of the wontons and dan-dan noodles were a bit small, even for 3.95. Main dishes were the lamb noted previously, chicken and 3 kinds of pepper, braised fish in a slightly spicy sauce, but not particularily Sichuan-flavored, ma-po tofu, and chow-fun (again for the less adventurous). All were excellent although I didn't personally have the chow fun. Yes--five mains for 4 people but this restaurant is a bit out of our usual driving range.

There was definitely some Sichuan peppercorn numbing effect but not as much as when I had them for the first time--at China 46--the dish there being the spicy capiscum noodles. This was before the importation ban--so either they use a little less at Chengdu or the irradiated peppercorns are not as potent.

My only quibble was probably my fault with ordering but there was a certain repetition of taste between the two spicy appetizers and the tofu, chicken and lamb. And I might have overdone the spice and volume of food as about a half hour after the meal my stomach felt like a simmering volcano. And then the next morning...

Highly recommended.

Edited by markymark (log)
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I think some of that mystery meat was in our Ox tongue and Tripe dish it streaky and almost had a crunch....its in a picture up top.

I really have no idea what part of the cow that is. I took a look at their takeout menu and the appetizer Eric had is indeed listed as "beef".

If I were to guess, it almost looks like the gristly part of chuck-eye steak.

Wow, "mystery meat" is very scary! It conjures up images. Just today in the News, they reported a Chinese tradition (In Beijing) of grinding up cardboard, flavoring it with pork fat, and stuffing it into sticky bun appetizers that they sell on the street.

Aaargh.

(Edited to provide this link):

IHT Story about Cardboard in Steamed Buns

Edited by menton1 (log)
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Upon arriving home this evening, I came to the realization that I had basically run out of food. After putting up some pasta water, I decided I just wasn't feeling boxed pasta and jarred sauce. I am glad I came upon this thread.

I placed my first Chengdu 1 take-out order, but certainly not my last. I ordered the dan dan noodles and sichuan wontons. Both were excellent, but the sauce the wontons came in was just incredible. The noodles tasted like a great combination of Sichuan and Italian and were a great substitute for the never-made pasta. For mains, I ordered the spicy lamb dish and Ma Po Tofu with pork. Both dishes were bursting with flavor and complimented each other nicely. My mouth is still tingling a bit, but round 2 is not far away.

It's tough when 1 person orders 4 spicy dishes! I probably ordered enough for 2, but I can already tell the tofu dish is going to make a killer leftover lunch with some rice.

It's nice to have a genuine Sichuan restaurant in the area. I look forward to going back with a larger party and being able to sample more of the menu.

-Al

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I just can not believe I can now get Chinese food like this delivered to my door (approx. 30 min's)

Mapo Tofu, dumpling in red oil & scallion pancakes - simply astounding. Tofu was fresh, light, mapo sauce with ground pork & black bean; dumplings garnished with crushed ginger and everything hot (spice) hot (temp); I can't wait to really eat at this place...

You'd be hard pressed to have it be this good in NYC.

Thank you Chengdu # 1...

~waves

"When you look at the face of the bear, you see the monumental indifference of nature. . . . You see a half-disguised interest in just one thing: food."

Werner Herzog; NPR interview about his documentary "Grizzly Man"...

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I picked up an order from them last weekend and am so happy that Chengdu is here. Since moving from NYC I have bemoaned my suburban status for many reasons, but the lack of real Chinese food was a major part of my unhappiness.

Okay, I still miss NYC, but the prospect of chengdu makes me v. happy. I had lunch there recently by myself after the lunch rush and couldn't decide what to have. The owner said to trust him, asked me what interested me and brought a lovely dish of velveted chicken with chinese greens that was mild (my request) and subtle and perfect.

I'd lost the menu for take-out, so followed many of the recs here. The sichuan dumplings were a treat and the surprise winner was the Shrimp in Sesame, which was not the nasty fried shrimp in glob sauce you usually find around here. The sauce was delicate and rich with chopped garlic. The shrimp themselves were perfectly cooked and just the right amount of salty.

I look forward to eating there with a big crowd soon, so I can try more. Hmmm...maybe that's where all us egulleters should meet?

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I look forward to eating there with a big crowd soon, so I can try more. Hmmm...maybe that's where all us egulleters should meet?

I was hoping someone would say this soon.....

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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Wow, "mystery meat" is very scary!  It conjures up images.  Just today in the News, they reported a Chinese tradition (In Beijing) of grinding up cardboard, flavoring it with pork fat, and stuffing it into sticky bun appetizers that they sell on the street. 

Aaargh.

(Edited to provide this link):

IHT Story about Cardboard in Steamed Buns

Shew. Thankfully we can all return to Chengdu 1 now for parts of animals that you can't get at your local supermarket. Tendons, tongue, stomach lining, sign me up.

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Laksa, The chef at China Chalet is from Chengdu, so it doesn't take much more than knowledge of the menu to get the "Chengdu treatment". However, I recommend that any non-Chinese person emphasize that they want their food just as if they were in Chengdu. (Assuming that you really do want your food spicy).

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