Monday, June 16, 2008

Seven Stars Pepper

I tend to be drawn to a place that has the words "pepper" or "spicy" or "Szechuan" in the name, and Seven Stars Pepper Szechuan Restaurant is made all the more appealing by the tease of seven stars. It was a little bit tricky to find on first visit because it is located on the second story of the building it is in.
The restaurant is located on the second floor where the white curtains decorate the windows

Upon being seated, we were given a little surprise plate of pickled salad that was really delicious. It was spicy and oily and vinegary, and involved small pieces of diced cabbage, carrot and celery. I'm still not completely sure whether we were supposed to eat it as a garnish with the rest of our food, or do as we did and eat it while we waited for the meal to arrive.
Next we got the Green Onion pancakes, which were flaky, layered, savory, slightly chewy and deep fried. They came with a slightly spicy soy dipping sauce. Yum.
For our main course we ordered the Dan Dan noodles and Vegetarian Mo Po Tofu. The noodles were the biggest Chinese noodles I've ever seen, so big that when they first arrived at the table I mistook them for strips of meat. These had the serious dimensional inconsistencies that make hand shaved noodles really hold their sauce. They came in a savory, slightly spicy peanut sauce with a bit of cooked cabbage.
The MaPo Tofu had a flavour in it that is distinct, but I'm not sure quite what it is. It might be a classic Szechuan spice because I've encountered it before... It is a little bit earthy and a little bit floral, and unfortunately tends to remind me a little bit of dish soap.
I was a bit timid in ordering a spice level at a restaurant that is named off the spice scale, but at 3 stars found the dishes to be not very hot. I guess it is always possible that they adjust the customer's demand to their assessment, so be sure to let them know you like like it spicy.

I enjoyed the dinner, even though the MaPo had that spice that doesn't fit my personal taste, but think the meal could have been enhanced by the presence of a few more dining companions and thus a few more dishes to go around family style. As it was, there were just two of us with two dishes, and the dinner could have used some vegetables to balance it all out.

Seven Stars Pepper Szechuan Restaurant
(206) 568-6446
1207 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98144

Seven Stars Pepper Szechuan Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Thomas said...

Oh that looks really good even if, yes, a bit on the starch-protein side.

I wonder if the spice you dislike isn't Szechuan pepper? It has an herby-lemony-bitter thing going on, and since it's available again in the US it might be showing up more often at good places.

Tofu Hunter said...

It's a little bit embarrassing, but I have a hunch you might be right.