Monday, December 17, 2012

Szechuan Tasty House Review

After a long day at the outlets for the GF and a long day of catching up on Fringe for me, neither of us wanted to cook dinner. So - we decided to go for some Chinese takeout. Our mainstay Chinese takeout place is Square on Square. During our two years in Philly, we simply haven't found a place that is 'decent' enough to compare. Compared to my 25+ years in NYC though, I'm sorry to say that I have not found any place that offers great Chinese food (Americanized or not) for takeout. If only Han Dynasty delivered ...

In our chance to discover something unique - we decided to play Chinese food takeout roulette. How does that play out? I simply go on GrubHub and choose a random place that we have not yet tried. Unfortunately the GrubHub reviews are deceiving .. and to be honest ... you can't really trust any of the other reviews out there at first glance since there are the masses that will consume mass-produced Americanized Chinese food without any care to actual taste or textures. And we didn't have the time to go through to vet the quality of reviewers out there (Yelp Elite or not!) - we were simply too hungry!

So we settled upon Szechuan Tasty House ... tasty indeed out-deed?

Cheese Wonton ($4.50)

Crab rangoon? That's pretty much what this tries to emulate - we've essentially got cream cheese inside of  a wanton wrapper, which is then fried. Unfortunately - the frying was pretty poor - the dough was thick, chewy, and to be frank - a bit limp. The innards were decent - but how do you get cream cheese wrong? The accompanying duck sauce was prototypical of any Chinese takeout place.
Sesame Chicken ($8.95)

This sesame chicken was crispy - but in a tough way. Quite stringy, the chicken was not juicy at all. As you can see in the bottom portion of the picture, the sauce was wet - there was no substance to it other than an inherent garlic taste. The broccoli was limp and insipid. Overall, the dish was sweet, which is typical for Sesame Chicken.

Vegetable Lo Mein ($6)

This Lo Mein did not taste very fresh at all. The noodles were limp and had no texture. The dish included a lot of veggies including sprouts, red onions, and broccoli, however they did not have much flavor to them. There was an underlying heaviness to the dish as well - as though the grease of the pan had integrated itself into the entirety of the dish. Not exactly appetizing.

Sauteed String Bean w/ Minced Pork ($8.95)

The string beans did have a nice snap to them. However, the minced pork was waaaaay too salty. The dish had the occasional sliced raw garlic, which I appreciated, but I can see how that would not be everyone's cup of tea.

Delivery service was fine though nothing to write home about. GrubHub informed us that the meal would take approximately 45 minutes. It arrived close to an hour later. The delivery person left the bag with the doorman rather than waiting for us to come down.

Overall - you get what you asked for, not necessarily what you wished for. The GF and I played Chinese food roulette - hgh risk and high reward. Unfortunately, there was no reward to be had here. The portions are plentiful and the prices are decent. However, the taste was simply not there. Here's to another two months of never wanting to order Chinese takeout, though I'm sure we'll be back.

Feel free to leave any comments/advice letting me know what Chinese takeout I should be trying. Perhaps I'm just not in the loop!

Szechuan Tasty House
902 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 925-2839

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