Szechuan's Dumpling just opened in Arlington Heights last week and I was dying to try it and today was the day for a lunch visit! They took over a space formerly occupied by an American Chinese restaurant, Jade Garden, of no fame whatsoever so there were high hopes for this restaurant and the buzz was on out on the web already.
Interior is OK, one big square room, nice and bright with big windows looking out over Mass Ave in the center of Arlington Heights. Parking could be an issue on a busy day, but you could always park at Penzeys, who doesn't need some more spices?
You get some plain boiled peanuts to start with when you sit down.
With lunch you get a House Daily soup, today it was pork with yellow beans. Nothing really exciting here.
Of course, I had to try the Pork Mini Juicy Dumpling and here they are! 8 dumplings and there was really nothing mini about them. They are served with a Black Vinegar/Soy/Ginger sauce. Somebody else reported that you got a chili sauce with them but this is what I got and the dumplings were really good and don't just bite into them, you will get soup all over you. The trick is to carefully bite the top off, slurp off some soup and then add some of the sauce and then carefully take a bite. The pork was nice and juicy but the soup was overly salty but I haven't heard any complaints about that anywhere so this might just be opening jitters.
My main lunch dish was the Shredded Pork with Bamboo Tips and Hot Chilli. This was marked as spicy on the menu (Yeah!) but didn't look very spicy but after tasting it, it was nice and hot with a good amount of heat from the bird eye chillis. The pork was tender and the bamboo shots had been properly soaked so I was very happy with this dish. There is Calamari, Squid, Pork Kidney, Okra among other things available on the lunch menu! They also have Braised Pork Legs and I'm assuming that's Pork Shank but have to ask the next time. I asked if the Ma Po To Fu (their spelling) was vegetarian or not and the very nice waitress said that it comes with pork, but they can make it vegetarian if you ask. The service was good and they were pretty busy at lunch and the managers were walking around asking people how things were. The very reasonably priced soup bowls were enormous and I like that you have a choice of noodles and the same goes for the stir-fried noodles.
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