4433 Convoy St., yelp reviews
Chef Chin is a good-sized restaurant serving both Szechuanese fare and what I think of as more American, Cantonese dishes as well. In fact, one gets the sense that Chef Chin is actually two restaurants sharing the same premises. The first is for the gaijin: it’s hallmarks are forks, ice water, and a thin bright red menu featuring lunch specials like beef and broccoli. The other can be recognized by chopsticks, tea, and a thick dark red menu full of seafood specials, sauteed greens, and soup dumplings. The waitstaff have been painstakingly trained to assign first-time customers to their proper restaurant, using a variety of Sherlockian cultural clues, none of which are skin color, I’m sure.
Luckily, a little internet research gave me an inkling about this phenomenon, and so I – and my caucasian skin – walked in boisterously calling for chopsticks and xialongbao. We got our hands on both menus (containing wonderful photos, I should add) and ran amok.
The food is damn good here. We got a very tasty eggplant, some deep-fried (and aromatically spiced) pork ribs, and a chopped chicken dish which was our only foray into the gaijin menu and just fine, if unexciting. The xiaolongbao and fried potstickers were all good and almost certainly made in house. My favorite dish was fish in spicy bean sauce; it wasn’t particularly spicy or bean-y, but it had a subtle flavor, and the fish was perfectly tender.
There are a lot of items – beautifully photographed – on the thick dark red menu, and I’d like to try more, possibly all of them. I just can’t yet say for certain if Chef Chin is actually better than similarly good places like Szechuan Chef or the Jasmine. Now I must convince the mysterious deep-pocket editors that fund this blog to send me back to do more research. Do you hear me? More research!