May 01, 2017

Little Szechuan

By Lori Draz

The first-ever Taste of Little Silver event is set for May 21, so we decided to take an advance tour of the town and try one of the many eateries in Little Silver. We went with a retro favorite, the Little Szechuan. I had heard so many good things about this place, I was excited to try it and our group was not disappointed.

The white building, with bright red lettering and convenient corner location, makes it easy to find, and judging from the steady stream of take-out customers, it is a real favorite. Inside, we were pleasantly surprised to find an old school sit-down restaurant. It’s a little small and low-key (no red dragons or elaborate fish tanks), but it does remind you that places like this are getting harder to find. It’s very enjoyable to pass around the plates and share with everyone at the table.

With our complimentary hot pot of tea and bowl of noodles and duck sauce on the table, we picked three classics for appetizers. We had heard the egg rolls were great, and they were. The filling was not overly compacted and dried out; in fact, they tasted like they were just made. We also had the steamed dumplings. Not bad, although I didn’t get the plum dipping sauce that always makes them even better. Our third choice, the shrimp toast, was simply delicious. The four high-topped triangles were full of shrimp flavor and packed that crispy crunch that you look for in shrimp toast. DO try them.

We kept in a classic vein with our entrees, although diner one was a little braver, opting for the hot and spicy Szechuan shrimp. They had a kick, alright, but not eye-watering. In fact, the heat was just right and provided a little zip when paired with the milder selections the others made. I picked the lemon chicken, one of my favorites, and it truly satisfied. Diner three got the Peking duck. It serves two and comes with eight pancakes that they assemble tableside for you. At $32.50, it was the most expensive item on the menu, which should tell you about the affordability, and it was delicious. We each had a pancake, with four to spare for the next day. I do wonder which species of duck they use, as we got a chuckle when we counted four legs, served to the side. We also ordered the lo mein, fried rice, and green beans as sides and each was very good.

There is no dessert menu, but they do bring you a plate of orange slices and fortune cookies to conclude your meal.

In general, I will say we were pleased with all our choices. The food was not overly salty, as you see in so many Chinese restaurants. It allowed you to really taste the flavors. As the dining room filled and the take-out customers kept popping in and out, you could see why this place has been around for such a long time. I will admit the service left a little to be desired. We would have appreciated a few more visits to our table, as we needed more ice and water from time to time. However, the quality of flavor and reasonably priced menu made this meal an excellent value. We will be back to try more favorites, which I’m sure will deliver on the authentic Chinese/American taste.

 

The cost: Low

What we liked: The traditional feel and the comfy chairs, the not-overly-salty taste, the easy-to-spot location and plenty of parking, and the hot pot of tea.

What could be better: The service could be a bit friendlier. The big windows in the dining room against the dark room are hard on the eyes. Don’t face them or just sit next to them for comfort.

We give it 4 J’s.

Little Szechuan is located at 485 Prospect Avenue in Little Silver. They’re open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 12:00 to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 to 9:30 p.m. Call (732) 842-3823. Visit www.littleszech.com.

 

***Special Note: If you’re planning on attending this month’s Taste of Little Silver event, as we are, prepare to sample delights from these Little Silver restaurants: The Healthy Palate, Sickles Market, Gianni’s, McLoone’s Restaurants, Olivia’s, Acme, Turning Point, Ye Olde Pie Shoppe, Graze, Angelo’s Italian Market, Ferucci’s, and Felicia’s Kitchen, plus lots of merchants and music, too. We’re sure it’s going to be a super fun day. A Taste of Little Silver is scheduled for Sunday, May 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is free to all!