Restaurant: Lao Sze Chuan
Location: 152 S Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91204. Phone number (818) 552-8888
Date: February 28, 2016
Rating: A little Americanized
From my cellar: 2011 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault. VM 90. The 2011 Meursault is quite beautiful, even if it shows some tightness from its recent bottling. White peach, pear and spice notes all wrap around an energetic frame. I very much like the way the 2011 opens up in the glass. The Comtes Lafon Meursault is now a blend of various parcels, mostly Clos de la Baronne, En la Barre, Luraules and Crotos.
1995 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese. 93 points. Beautiful golden color, nose incredibly fresh, elderflower, ripe peach, slate, no oxidation. Depth of flavor with high acid, fresh with long lean finish. Could not believe Michael Jordon was playing baseball when these grapes were harvested… it’s holding up well.
From my cellar: 2004 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese. GV 92. #1; COLOR-nice golden; NOSE-burnt BMX tires meets peaches, apricots & pears; spritzy; TASTE-beautiful bluestone; gorgeous dried Apricots; viscous & oily; gorgeous peach juice; very polished; great, great wine; very delicate; nice floral aspects; subtle cactus juice & on the finish; a concoction of Cantaloupe & dandelion dancing on the back-end; very complex; great balance of acidity & fruit; great structure; absolute elegance at it’s finest; DS-92; GV-92
Eggplant with garlic. Decent, although I’ve had much better versions of this dish.
Tea Smoked Duck. Pretty good. Looks like Peking duck but this had a smoked flavor. Not as characteristic as the best versions I’ve had, but good.
Ma Po Tofu. They said there was even no pork in this version, which is odd. It had the correct chili oil mala flavor, although it wasn’t super spicy. The chili oil here is pretty good.
2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 93. Opaque ruby. Potent, mineral-laced raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by suave floral and spice qualities, picking up white pepper and cola accents with air. Seamless, round and sweet on the palate, offering intense red berry preserve and floral pastille flavors with a touch of allspice. Finishes sappy and precise, with velvety tannins and a late jolt of cherry compote.
2008 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 91. Bright ruby. A heady bouquet displays fresh red berries, sandalwood, dried flowers and a hint of baking spices. Creamy in texture, with lively acidity lifting sweet red and dark berry and candied rose flavors. Becomes sappier with air and finishes with very good clarity and lingering spiciness. Avril thinks this wine will surprise people with its ability to age.
Overall, Lao Sze Chuan beat my expectations slightly. It is Szechuan, but it’s not seriously hard core about it. Food-wise, I’d say they are middle of the pack as SGV Szechuan restaurants go. The ingredients were pretty fresh, and the meat better than many SGV places. The location is good too, and there is some decor to the build out. Prices are reasonable. Service was great too, better than you’d likely get at a more authentic spot. Very nice servers and they did a great job staging stuff. They didn’t charge us corkage and even gave us a regular discount (as Chevy lives across the street and goes all the time)! A+ for effort.
Now somehow, mysteriously, Lao Sze Chuan has been voted “one of the best Chinese restaurants in America.” Or at least it garnered a real reputation in Chicago. This isn’t hard to imagine as real Szechuan is probably nonexistent in Chicago. Here it’s just fine. Good even if you live in Glendale and don’t want to drive down to the SGV. For me, since Glendale is actually slightly further (in terms of driving time) than the SGV, I’d only go if meeting friends.