Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Chengdu 1


rooftop1000
 Share

Recommended Posts

Went back again.

i went with two willing, if timid, eaters yesterday. (they humored me, and I think, were sort of stunned by the amount of food i ordered)...we enjoyed the slippery wontons in hot oil, the drypanned beef (which had so many different layers of flavor. ate the leftovers for dinner and it was even better), plus sauteed snow pea tips which were simplicity itself and perfect.

But: One dish completely stood out. It's called shredded duck with szechuan flavor.

They smoke a duck, then shred it and pan fry it with thin shreds of snow pea and onion and lots of red pepper flakes. Then you roll it up in a pancake (a gen-u-ine homemade pancake, i might add. HOMEMADE...when was the last time you had a homemade pancake??) with hoisin sauce.

It was fire-breathing dragon hot, but oh-so delicious.

Even my "I-don't-really-care-for-spicy-food" friends toughed it out and had seconds.

So happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After months of promising, I told my brother I'd take him down to Amazing Hot Dog for lunch. Drove down there, only to realize they're closed on Sundays for the summer! So, I told him about Chengdu 1 and we headed down Route 23.

What a great great meal. We got the Dan Dan noodles and wontons in red oil for appetizers, and for entrees I got the drypan lamb and he got sauteed lamb.

Bot dishes were amazing. Not only was the drypan lamb a MASSIVE portion, but it was absolutely delicious. As Mzrb stated, the dish was full of flavors and "stuff": cellophane noodles, peppers, and a yummy, super spicy sauce. The dish was served in a steel pan over a flame. Very cool. I had plenty left over for dinner.

My brother's lamb was a bit more plain, but still delicious. Very tender meat and well-seasoned, but mild. He ate the whole thing.

They gave us a "family style" bowl of rice to accompany the entrees.

Total for the whole shebang was $35, before tip.

What a wonderful wonderful restaurant. Easily worth the 15 mile or so trip from Fair Lawn. If you haven't tried this place yet, go soon. You won't be disappointed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Ok - went to the shop this time; and what a great place, really - great guy/family, great place. Easily one of the best restaurants in the greater Montclair area.

Had spicy wontons (just had too) - just so good; don't let them take away sauce when you are done; save for your rice. Spicy Lamb w/ Special Pepper Sauce - this is the real deal, real Szechaun; tongue happy dance hot but perfectly balanced. Idea from above notes, the Shredded Duck with Szechuan flavor; I mean, chopped baby snow peas - come on...! So good... Finally Salt & Pepper Shrimp - served on a bed of chopped lettuce, pepper and scallions; Ok, I'm drooling just remembering this...

The presentation for each dish well crafted, symphony of spice and tastes just at the edge of too much but somehow so addictive you can't get enough...

Owner of Chengdu went to visit each table - actually look interested in his customers - and when he got to ours asked that next time, we just let him pick. You can bet I'll take him up on his offer.

Thanks, again, for thread eGullet.

Edited by waves2ya (log)

~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"...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few of us stopped by last night for a couple of dishes :shock: lets see 7 of us had

1 Soup with shiitake and teeny tiney mussles

2 Scallion pancake

3 Spicy baby wontons X 2

4 Pickled cauliflower stems in spicy oil

5 Spicy dry fried beef

6 Spicy lamb with special pepper sauce

7 House style crispy whole fish

8 Salt and pepper shrimp X 2

9 Shredded duck with homemade pancakes

10 Mapo tofu

11 Tangly eggplant medallions stuffed with ground pork

12 Spare ribs with rice powder

13 Sauteed snow pea tips

So all together thats 15 dishes and 4 bottles of assorted white wines :biggrin:

then just to fill in those little leftover spaces we went to Mark and Julies for icecream

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMG what a night. The soup actually had tiny oysters in it Tracey :raz: Chengdu 1 has now become my absolute favourite Chinese restaurant in NJ. As far as I was concerned the soup was just ok, the fish just a pass BUT everything else was absolutely awesome!!!! The lamb and beef were major standouts, as were the wontons.

And we can't forget the price, all of this was $28 per person and included tax and tip.

This place is definitely worth another visit, the only real question being when. Now we need to get a group of 10, so we can order everything else on the menu.

Tom

I want food and I want it now

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMG what a night. The soup actually had tiny oysters in it Tracey  :raz:  Chengdu 1 has now become my absolute favourite Chinese restaurant in NJ. As far as I was concerned the soup was just ok, the fish just a pass BUT everything else was absolutely awesome!!!! The lamb and beef were major standouts, as were the wontons.

And we can't forget the price, all of this was $28 per person and included tax and tip.

This place is definitely worth another visit, the only real question being when. Now we need to get a group of 10, so we can order everything else on the menu.

Tom

Group of 10?? Count me in!

I just came back from there. Lunch with a couple of friends who came from Cleveland -- for THIS place! I'll let their pictures speak for themselves when they get them on line.

But whenever a group wants to go back, please count me in. I'll monitor this thread for notice.

BTW -- they have a dish there that I had in China at one time, but a dish that is never seen in restaurants. Shredded potatoes. At home I make it with Sichuan peppercorns. At Chengdu 1 they don't use the hua jiao, but the subtle taste of shredded green pappers make this humble dish a cut above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This place is definitely worth another visit, the only real question being when. Now we need to get a group of 10, so we can order everything else on the menu.

Tom

You poor thing, you definitely didn't get enough to eat! Maybe we should have let you guys order just a Few. More. Dishes. :raz:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And me!

Have guests staying with me who are just moving here from Hong Kong...we got take-out from Chengdu (i let them order)...and they were very impressed with what NJ had to offer. Along with the usual suspects we all know and love (say, like the sichuan dumplings), we also had bok choy with black mushrooms which was simple and clean-flavored, pork with garlic sauce...from the szechuan side of the menu and was so absolutely different from any "with garlic sauce" offering at a typical restaurant. For instance, it had chunks of fresh garlic in it! Lamb with szechuan flavor was great.

But to be able to order with 10 or more people...it boggles the mind what all we could get up to tasting.

I feel like their number one fan sometimes, practically stopping strangers in the street and telling them to go.

Well, I suppose you guys are strangers...but somehow we all seem now joined by the Chengdu bond!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You poor thing, you definitely didn't get enough to eat! Maybe we should have let you guys order just a Few. More. Dishes. :raz:

I'd put money on the fact that if we'd order another plate of the dumplings, you girls would have continued eating along with us :raz:

I want food and I want it now

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband Bob and I were the lucky couple from Cleveland who lunched with Jo-Mel on Sunday. (I've started an Imagegullet album that also includes photos from our last lunch, at Hunan Cottage, entitled "Lunching with Jo-Mel") here:

Lunches With Jo-Mel

The food and service were fantastic!

The Spicy Baby Wontons seem to be de riguer, and we also started our meal with these tasty bites:

gallery_21337_5052_83549.jpg

We also tried the Scallion Pancakes, which balanced the heat of the Wonton dish nicely:

gallery_21337_5052_106613.jpg

The Spicy Lamb w/Special Pepper Sauce was both spicy and special- just as advertised! And TSA actually allowed us to carry our leftovers onto the airplane on Monday:

gallery_21337_5052_32957.jpg

gallery_21337_5052_54232.jpg

Again, we balanced out the heavy spice of the lamb against a very mild dish, which was one of the handwritten specials inside the menu - Chicken with Loofah (I've bathed with Loofah, but never eaten with one before!). The dish was simple, yet elegant and delicious. The loofah is a gourd, and it cooked up very tender and a little sweet.

gallery_21337_5052_88111.jpg

We also enjoyed the Sliced Potato dish Jo-Mel described:

gallery_21337_5052_3576.jpg

Finally - a whole fish (we couldn't get a straight answer on what kind - striped bass?) with Pickled Mustard - impeccably fresh, sweet fish with a slightly spicy, richly flavored sauce:

gallery_21337_5052_109187.jpg

And you don't need to have a communal bowl of rice; if you want the more authentic experience of your own rice bowl, just ask and they will accommodate!

gallery_21337_5052_11283.jpg

Sharing a Chinese meal with Jo-Mel is always special, and Chegdu made it even more so!

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Positive write-up in tomorrow's NYTimes - New Jersey section.

The critic mentioned the Shredded Potatoes with Green Pepper in his "What we liked" list. I am SO happy to find a place that makes this dish! A favorite of mine. In fact, even before I saw or read the Times article, I had planned making it for dinner! (which I did)

Time for another trip there?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very happy for the folks at Chengdu 1; hopefully this will send many new customers their way! Of course, now I need that lamb dish. Sigh...

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Positive write-up in tomorrow's NYTimes - New Jersey section.

The critic mentioned the Shredded Potatoes with Green Pepper in his "What we liked" list. I am SO happy to find a place that makes this dish!  A favorite of mine. In fact, even before I  saw or read the Times article, I had planned making it for dinner! (which I did)

Time for another trip there?

:sad: If only we were in the neighborhood!

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The more I've thought about this review (and mentioned it to friends), the more I think Corcoran didn't fully do justice to Chengdu 1 and their menu. I know the place has zero atmosphere (except for little Miss Ivy), but it's a truly terrific menu, and one that isn't found too many places--certainly not in NJ. As an example, one omission that surprised me is that Corcoran only mentioned the peanuts that are available for the table, but neglected to talk about the thinly sliced broccoli stalks in chili (?) oil--another wonderful 'pre-app' at Chengdu 1.

Bottom line is that I hope the review gets more people in there to check out the food--and not from the Americanized side of the menu!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The more I've thought about this review (and mentioned it to friends), the more I think Corcoran didn't fully do justice to Chengdu 1 and their menu.  I know the place has zero atmosphere (except for little Miss Ivy), but it's a truly terrific menu, and one that isn't found too many places--certainly not in NJ.  As an example, one omission that surprised me is that Corcoran only mentioned the peanuts that are available for the table, but neglected to talk about the thinly sliced broccoli stalks in chili (?) oil--another wonderful 'pre-app' at Chengdu 1.

Bottom line is that I hope the review gets more people in there to check out the food--and not from the Americanized side of the menu!

agreed.

Chengdu 1 is best-in-class. Although that class is very small in NJ, it's right up there with best sichuan in NYC.

Chengdu1 is a "very good" restaurant, while last week's Latour is barely a "good" restaurant (and not much better than others in its class), rather than the "very good" that the NY Times gave it. I normally agree with his assessments, but not these past few weeks. i have to wonder if he's known to places like latour.

not everyone gets those pickled vegetables to start, even if you don't want fried wontons. perhaps he got peanuts each time. the vegetable is on the menu, IINM, for about 2.95. Perhaps they give them to people they recognize, or when they have a whole bunch.

Edited by tommy (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went with a pretty large group a while back and the food was across the board fantastic. I don't remember specific dishes right now, but the variety and balance of flavors and textures was flat out amazing. The price to value ratio is so high. As far as ambiance, I was too busy eating to notice. I think they have tables and chairs, but maybe we ate standing up. Their takeout is great as well. Most of their dishes lend themselves well for take-out. Some dishes like the Ma-Po Tofu are just as good as eating them there.

-Al

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NancyH -- didn't they remove the wontons and bring us the Chinese pickles without our asking? (I think this was the restaurant where it happened.) We were ordering some choice dishes and I was speaking Chinese (limited) to them --- and out came the pickles!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NancyH -- didn't they remove the wontons and bring us the Chinese pickles without our asking?  (I think this was the restaurant where it happened.) We were ordering some choice dishes and I was speaking Chinese (limited) to them --- and out came the pickles!

No - I think it was Hunan Cottage where that happened.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I guess I've been too busy eating at Chengdu 1 to post about it here, but last night (after my first great meal of '08) I realized that we're doing our fellow eG readers a disservice by not reminding you all of how wonderful the food is here! Thanks to a certain person who shall remain nameless, I've been going to Chengdu 1 at least twice a month, and the food just never fails to knock us out. I've taken friends who aren't normally excited about food, I've taken vegetarians (!), and I've even taken my folks. Everyone agrees that this is exceptional food at exceptional prices, and we always introduce someone to a dish they've never seen/heard of before.

Our crew's consistent favorites:

The (free) pickled broccoli stems in hot oil

Spicy Baby Wontons (get a bowl of rice and pour the remaining sauce over it)

Lamb with Spicy Pepper Sauce

Salt and Pepper Shrimp (these seem to get larger each time I'm there)

Snow Pea Tips

Chicken Casserole

Whole fish in hot bean paste

Ants on a Tree

Shredded potato with pepper

Double-cooked pork

Sausage with leeks

Chicken (or shrimp) with crispy walnuts

Scallion pancakes

Peking Duck (with HOUSE MADE pancakes!!!)

I also want to remind those who are spice-shy (or intolerant) that Sichuan food isn't all spicy! There are plenty of options on the menu, and the chef (Lien) and the waitresses will tell you honestly if a dish is hot. I've also found that the heat from the spices/peppers used is very different from the heat you'd get when eating something like a jalapeno; even if I try something that's too spicy for me, it hasn't killed my palate for the evening. The heat/spice hits, and then it dissipates. Bottom line is that this is a VERY good restaurant and if you haven't already given it a try, it's well worth the trip. :wink:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...