Lao Sze Chuan
2172 Archer Ave (in Chinatown Square, on the very end)
Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Victims: Grubwithus
The Damage: $24.50 each plus a $10 corkage fee.
The Background: I went to Chinatown on a dark and dreary and frankly freezing cold Chicago night. I almost didn’t make it. (When will it end? Really. When???)
But I was going to Lao Sze Chuan, a place I’d been to time and time again with my Chinese colleauges between 1998 and 2004. I used to let them do all the ordering. They liked that about me. They introduced me to tripe and changed my life.
This time, I was there with Grubwithus, the social dining experiment. (You should try it.) There would be no tripe this time. We were still all strangers to each other.
But we did start out with these very fat and very delicious pork potstickers. I felt greedy. I AM greedy.
Around this point of the evening, I lost track of my picture-taking as the Lazy Susan spun round and round and the red wine in my glass got lower and lower.
And then the desert came. Lao Sze Chuan makes my kind of dessert…Crispy Sweet Potato cakes. (You might know that I like very few desserts. I am more a savory person. However, I do make exceptions for macarons, lemon tart, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and mango sorbet.) These were, in a word, stellar. They say people drive all the way down to Chinatown just to pick up an order of Lao Sze Chuan crispy sweet potato cakes, and now I know why.
The Verdict: I love it here. Really. We also had Chef’s Special Dry Chili Beef, Tony’s Chicken with Three Chili, Szechuan Smoked Tea Duck, and Garlic Chinese Broccoli. And they were all awesome.