Philadelphia, PA 19131
Third time is a charm.. I had experienced a few small service errors in two prior visits which marred an otherwise extraordinary couple of dining experiences. I understand this is brand new place, training staff and getting to know the neighborhood. On my first visit, I was served everything at once (pacing error) and actually got the wrong fish dish (out of two) which though delicious, was not what I ordered (my plan was to compare dish-dish against my goto Han Dynasty).
On my subsequent visit, the dry pepper pork was just warm enough that I didn’t return it. Again, extraordinary in taste, but they were unprepared for the crowd they had at lunchtime. I’d spoken to the manager (whom I found out is a co-owner) and he was sincerely apologetic and determined to make things right. Today, he waited on my table personally, and ensured that every aspect of my experience made up for the small mistakes last week. The DanDan noodles were life-changing. He made sure they were prepared “Chinese style) with extra sauce and the combination of numbing Szechuan peppercorns and got peppers brought tears to my eyes (literally.) I had to take off my jacket.
The beef in hot sauce that followed was equally good, but of dozens of DanDans, I’d tasted, this is the gold standard. The fresh cucumber juice is a “must have” to temper the heat. Even the wonton soup broth (came with the lunch special) was hearty. I learned some tricks. If your waitperson seems less than fluent in English, order by number to avoid confusion. When I entered today, I was the only non-Chinese customer there. If you want AUTHENTIC Chinese food, ASK for it “Chinese style” or they will probably dumb it down (which you might prefer.. I don’t judge.)
In the future, I’ll be sure to mention I’d like a dish sweeter, less-salty etc. You really should try the place. Lunch specials are a bargain, and dinners are on a par with any “Best of Breed” place out there.