Dinner at Sichuan Impression 錦城里 in Westwood/West Los Angeles
If you’re a Chinese foodie, then you’ve been waiting for Sichuan Impression to open in the Westside since it was announced that they acquired the location that used house Jin Jiang, a Chinese American style restaurant (similar to those like Yang Chow in Chinatown) that was in business for over 25 years before shuttering this summer.
Sichuan Impression originally wanted to open last Sunday, but they didn’t quite finish setting up the place, so Tuesday became their opening day. They opened with little fanfare, and by Thursday, they have been written up by EaterLA. Since yesterday’s lunch service, long queues began for form as many locals, particularly ex-pats who work or study at UCLA come down for a bite one of Southern California’s most popular Sichuanese restaurants.
And they didn’t disappoint. They brought in a chef from Chengdu to work with the other chefs and kitchen staff to create new dishes for this location, as well as ensuring that the kitchen churn out dish after dish of deliciousness.
The dishes, for the most part, are just as good as those at the Alhambra location. One major difference here is obviously the prices, as they are slightly higher, compensating for the higher rents on the Westside.
Of all the dishes we ordered tonight, only the Impressive Sausages, Impressive Cold Noodles and the Wontons in Spicy Chile Oil didn’t impress me at all. Flavorwise, they were rather ordinary, and the texture of the cold noodles (versus room temperature noodles) were unpleasant.
Delicious were the Bean Jelly, Steamed Chicken in Chile Sauce, Kung Pao Chicken, Stir Fried Lamb with Cumin, Mapo Tofu and Fish Filet with Rattan Pepper all sang with a depth of flavor with the expected spiciness from the chiles and numbing effect from the Sichuan peppercorns.
For their first week, they’re doing well with service and, especially, the preparation of the dishes. Once the servers get into their groove, then things will be running like a well oiled machine. The host station still needs more time to be able to answer questions by customers waiting for 20 or 30 or 45 minutes for a table and better keep order around the host station.
No reservations taken. Just put your name, contact number and the number of people in your party and wait…but make sure everyone in your party is present when called as they may refuse to seat you not everyone’s present.
Now, if they could have spent some money renovating the restrooms. The main dining room looks new, but the restrooms remind me of Chinese restaurants from back in the 1980s.