Sichuan Impression opened yesterday on the second story of a strip mall on Santa Monica Boulevard in West LA, heralding what could be a major new Chinese food destination on the Westside. Already the place is bustling with Asian college students, local office workers, and curious food lovers looking to try a taste of SGV.
Sichuan Impression, one of Eater’s essential 38 restaurants from a national level last year, cooks up a wide menu of classics, plus some new school plates. The bill of fare opens up to multiple layers of specialties, from the saucy spaghetti-like special noodles to the heavily spiced mapo tofu to cold steamed chicken swimming in a chili sauce. More obscure dishes like bullfrog, toothpick cumin mutton, and even rabbit show up on the menu without any hesitation. The rather large dining room looks like it fits around 80 diners in a sleek but otherwise unremarkable space. The vistas out to Century City are pretty sweet, though.
For anyone living west of La Cienega, or even west of the 405, Sichuan Impression instantly becomes one of the best places to eat Chinese food in the area, which also boasts Din Tai Fung, Kato, and Meizhou Dongpo. Prices at this location are on par with the SGV, which means some of the special dishes go up to $30. Otherwise a table for four could probably spend around $25 to 30 a person for a meal here, which is pretty terrific considering it saves Westsiders the sometimes hour-long trek to the 626.
There were a few early service issues today, as the servers forgot to pour any water (or even ask for it), and neglected to bring jasmine tea despite ordering early in the meal. Perhaps the staff was overwhelmed by the lunch rush, which isn’t visible from the photos here. Still, the restaurant expects that waits will get very long, as a small area outside holds a water dispenser and an iPad to keep track of parties.
According to users on Food Talk Central, Sichuan Impression’s initial hours will run 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., with a break until 5 p.m. Dinner service commences at 5 and runs until 9:45 on weekdays. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays bring continuous service from 11:30 a.m. to around 10 p.m. The valet lot is complementary for 45 minutes, and charges $2 for every 20 minutes thereafter.
Sichuan Impression. 11057 Santa Monica Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA. 310-444-7171