Szechuan Chef Brings the Heat in Cold Noodles

Dish: Szechuan Cold Noodle

Place: Szechuan Chef, Bellevue

Price: $5.99

In the bowl: The menu says nothing beyond the dish name. So I asked my server, and she explained that the sauce is made with garlic, green onions, vinegar, chili oil, and soy sauce.

Supporting cast/What to do: Eat before it gets cold? No such pressure on this one. But make sure you mix the noodles thoroughly to get them all coated with sauce. You can add extra chili oil if desired, but I think this one's rated and spiced right, at a three-pepper (out of five) level.

Noodling around: A long time ago, I knew a Sharon Cape who lived in Manhattan (yes, we called her S. Cape from New York), and one of her favorite dishes was cold sesame noodles. I grew to appreciate the nutty quality of those noodles, and find these to be similar, especially with their cold, creamy texture.

The big difference is that these noodles, found in the Cold Appetizer section of the menu, have some heat to them. Hey...this is a Szechuan restaurant. Note that the dish is made with dry wheat noodles.

Also, there's no sesame paste in the recipe. This surprised me a bit, but I guess the sesame seeds help give that impression.

What the noodles do have is a lot of garlic. A serious amount, such that you'll have garlic breath for some foreseeable time after your meal. You might want to bring some sprigs of parsley to chew if you'll be in the vicinity of anyone who hasn't joined you for this garlicky feast.

If you want more: I like other items from the cold appetizer section, like Pork Tripe with Hot Sauce ($5.99) or Young Bamboo Shoots with Dry Bean Curd ($4.99). But you might want vegetables and a contrasting warm dish, so why not try something like Chopped Pepper String Bean with 4 Pancakes ($10.95)?

Be aware/beware: This is a Szechuan restaurant I like to recommend, with the numerous Chinese customers testament to the quality of the food. And if you're not Chinese, you might get the same "Can you really eat that?" treatment that I get.

Beware the big Walmart next door. The good news is that the store seems to have brought life back to this almost-forgotten shopping center. The bad news, for me at least, is that it's Walmart.

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