New Sichuan (or as some of you may say Szechuan) restaurant for you spicy Chinese food lovers!
Try Cafe Q, located right off SR 141 or otherwise known as Medlock Bridge Road. Accessing this from the main road is a bit tricky as you have to turn onto Wilson Road first, then turn left into the back of the shopping area which the restaurant is located. However, when A and I visited this restaurant, it was pretty crowded. We didn’t have a wait time, but there were at least two large families and four tables of four, not including ourselves. I have to say, it helps to know how to speak Chinese, even if you don’t know how to read it. There is of course, a chinese menu and an english menu. And for the most part, like most chinese restaurants that have two separate menus, the chinese menu almost always trumps the english menu. Most of our recommendations were actually based from the head waiter. I have to say, they were all very good choices. The portions were ginormous and the three dishes we ordered were sufficent for at least 2 meals for two, maybe even three meals!
First dish we tried was a vegetable-sliced pork dish. It is similar to the “wu gen can wan” dish that can sometimes be found in other Sichuan restaurants. It consists mostly of firm-dried tofu, celery, onion, marinated strips of pork, bamboo, and chilis – all of these are thinly sliced and then lightly stir-fried with a slightly spicy garlic soy sauce. It’s very refreshing, not too greasy, and easy on the stomach if you wanted to go light. They served all their dishes with rice, but this would also be good in a rice-paper wrap (like the kind they use to make vietnamese spring rolls).
The second dish is probably my second favorite: Lion’s Head Meatballs. It isn’t pure meat for you meat lovers out there. Instead, it is a special ratio of tofu to minced meat, then steamed or broiled in a claypot on leaves of lettuce or vegetable. They are huge! Definitely worth what you pay for considering the size of the meatballs. Also, when they are cooked by steaming or braising, there is a lot of “juice” that comes out which inevitably becomes more of the sauce that is used to cook the meatballs in. I would love to find a recipe for this dish as my last winged attempt was a failure.
The third dish – Spicy Fish Fillets, while tasty, was not on my top Sichuan dishes. The fish pieces or “yu pian”, was very tender and very savory. However I did not like the amount of oil that separated itself from the sauce. There’s something about scooping out flavorful, flaky fish fillet pieces but dumping the sauce and having your rice look like an oil bath. Not to mention, the separation of the oil gives way too much kick because the oil is spicy oil (chili oil).
All in all, a summary:
- Tofu-meat vegetable medley: ****.5 (4.5 stars)
- Lion’s Head Meatballs: ****.5 (4.5 stars)
- Spicy Fish Fillets: ***(3 stars)
If you want to check out Cafe Q for yourself:10475 Medlock Bridge Rd
Johns Creek, GA 30097-4433