Spicy House

spicy2Spicy House is a family-style Szechuan joint, complete with lots of pictures on the menu, an aquarium, and a golden dragon gate.  There were only two of us at this particular meeting of the Convoy Recon, so I can’t say with any completeness how good the menu is, but I can say that what we did have greatly exceeded expectations.  We skipped the lunch menu items (smaller portions with rice, egg rolls, and a salad, I think) and went straight for dinner plates of Eggplant and Green Beans and Szechuan Fish with the standard steamed rice and tea.

spicy1The fish, and quite a bit of it, came swimming in a malevolent red lake of spicy goodness and a handful of cilantro on top.  It was perfectly tender: tasty and spicy at once, and a little bit of that numbing spice – I think it’s called “flower pepper” – but not enough to make me feel like I was at the dentist.  But in my mind, the Eggplant and Green Beans dish was a stand-out.  It was spicy as hell but also hugely tasty, braised  just right so the eggplant was a little crusty on the outside and hot mush on the inside.  I am often accused of hyperbole: still, this may have been the best Chinese eggplant I’ve ever had.  I keep dreaming about savory crinkled purple boats lobbing salty cannonades at my taste buds.

In conclusion, Spicy House will be revisited and its menu explored more fully, though how I could ever go there and not order the Eggplant is beyond me.  Cheers!

Note: see the comment below for more heartfelt Spicy House accolades.

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2 Responses to Spicy House

  1. Convoy Recon Officers’ Log Supplemental, Stardate 80313
    I have too long lamented and grieved for the gaping hole left in San Diego’s Chinese culinary scene by Ba Ren’s departure, basically refusing to eat out for Chinese of any sort since (6 months?). So I am happy, nay ecstatic, to report Ba Ren’s shoes have been filled to my almost complete satisfaction by Spicy House. Interestingly, I had tried Spicy House 18 months or so ago for lunch and been underwhelmed, but last night based on the preliminary Convoy Recon report here, Kris, Maya and I decided to go for it again after landing from not to afar at the airport.

    The first good sign was that a former waiter of Ba Ren was among the four parties waiting for tables around 8 pm. I perked up some more when I saw a red pepper and black bean spiced fried tofu deal next to the wood ears and mustard greens in the cold dish glass case. That all turned out not quite so great as hoped but still pretty good. The Ma Po however was excellent with a nice schezuan pepper numbyumness, and the Dan dan noodles had a bit more sesame in the hot oil than usual but very nicely spiced (Kris observed a Hunan influence here and elsewhere). But what blasted things into outer orbit was the Napa cabbage with fermented beans, drenched in hyper garlic infused oil with savory salty fermented soy beans. I believe this may even be superior to the storied spicy vinegar stir fried Napa at Ba Ren. We also enjoyed delicious garlic stir fried hollow stem leafy green. Kris conversed in Mandarin with our waitress about making a dry pepper cooked dish with tofu, which would be custom as it’s currently only offered with various meats and organ choices; our waitress regretfully but nicely advised that next time when its not so busy… this was also how we got this non-menu item started off with Ba Ren, making it onto a subsequent generation of the menu. We can’t wait to try that along with the highly reviewed eggplant above (like next week).

    In summary, where I doubted I now believe. I came to scofff but stayed to pray. Spicy House carries the mantle of the legendary Ba Ren forward, boldly exploring new worlds of Schezuan awesome sauce in San Diego.

  2. Lor Wood says:

    Went to Spicy HOuse on Sunday. Yumm!! Also had eggplant, though not with beans and the whole fish. Deeelish!!

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