Szechuan Impression

1900 W. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, California 91803
626-283-4622
Critics' Pick
Best Of
Szechuan Impression +

Photo: Anne Fishbein

Details

  • Mon-Thur 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • No Alcohol
  • Street Parking
If you love heat, or even just extremity, many dishes at Szechuan Impression in Alhambra will blow your palate out in a blaze of masochistic gratification, such as the boiled fish in red chili, or the "old-school hot pot starch noodle," which presents clear rice noodles and bean sprouts in a chile sauce so salty that the heat is ramped up along with it. More interesting are the dishes that rely less on the urgent sting of overpowering flavors, or pair those flavors with quieter pleasures. The fish with green pepper shows the famous Sichuan peppercorn's intensely aromatic side, and offers a purity of that flavor that is usually hard to detect through its numbing heat. Of course, if you bite into one of the peppercorns dotting the dish, you will get the sizzle and buzz you might expect, but the soft green broth in which the white fish swims has a light perfume, exotic and otherworldly, like springtime in some far-off galaxy. Or take the Zizong spicy rabbit, named for a city in the south of Sichuan province, which comes in a liquid the familiar color of hot lava but holds in its mildly fiery clutches tender baby zucchini and delicate wisps of shaved ginger along with small, bony nubs of rabbit meat. It's the ginger that ends up defining the dish, its aromatic bouquet the thing that keeps you dipping back into the copper wok even when the rabbit is long gone. — Besha Rodell

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