For this week’s review, Jonathan Gold heads to Chengdu Impression, the new Arcadia restaurant that is perhaps less focused on “spicy-food adventures” than its counterparts (we’re looking at you, Chengdu Taste).
That means there are no “stretched metaphors on the numbing power of Sichuan peppercorns” to be found in the review, instead honing in on the tasting menu that, albeit being a sort of “tourist menu,” is “not be a bad way to go” at $45 per person:
On the first composed plate, if the bun in which the spiced beef is stuffed is a little caky and dry, the wrap of impossibly fine threads of chicken and crunchy vegetables that sits next to it would be exquisite even without the numbing green drops of Sichuan peppercorn-infused oil. The beef-brisket soup may be the single least spicy thing you’ve eaten in a Sichuan restaurant, but the flavor of the radish simmered in it seems extra-rich for the contrast. There will be a quivering cube of that famous braised pork belly, served in a swirl of reduced sauce more familiar from French tasting menu restaurants; a beautiful, miniaturized version of the water-boiled fish served at every Sichuan restaurant; and three perfect kung pao shrimp. [LAT]
The star of the show, however, is an adorable black sesame panda dumpling that “you would rather hug than eat:”
Out comes the panda dumpling — a soft, glutinous, mocha-like blob stuffed with as well as painted with dense, sweet ground sesame.[...] Is there any way to cut the panda neatly into two? The flubbery beast laughs at your inadequate spoon. Have you taken a picture of it yet? Please do. [LAT]
The Goldster concludes by recommending the Chengdu-style lettuce, house-special pork belly, and beef tendon with bamboo shoots.