01 October 2007

Double Li

You move to a great new city and at first you're floored and thrilled by all the great restaurants there are to try. Only a bus-ride away. Or a train and a bus. Or two buses. Or...

After a while, you get a little jaded and find yourself returning to the same places over and over. It takes conscious action to break the old patterns.

So Friday evening we went back to Chinatown for the first time in ages--honestly can't remember the last time we ate there. But I have been following an lthforum.com thread on Double Li for some time, and--as a Szechuan food fan--it's been in the back of my mind to try. So I met Victor down near his office and we hopped into a Zipcar and checked it out.

This place is located at 228 W Cermak, almost directly opposite lthforum.com's namesake restaurant, (little) Three Happiness. It's a little difficult to find the right door, but once found, you enter a bright, typical-looking Chinese restaurant. The English-language menu is rather limited, but the lthforum.com thread described lots of interesting stuff from the Chinese-language menu. Unfortunately, I did not have the lth thread memorized; the only attractive dish I could remember from it (as I wasn't up for Szechuan tripe) was peapod leaves.

Still, the English-language menu does have a few standouts: we tried the black pepper-garlic beef tenderloin. This was really wonderful, with amazingly tender and beautifully flavored beef with red and green pepper chunks. The stir-fried peapod leaves with garlic were also fabulous. Appetizers were decent but not crazy-wonderful: we had Szechuan wontons (tasty morsels) and scallion pancakes (greasy and good).

Service was friendly if occasionally language-challenged. We felt welcome from the start and when we were done eating the waitress came to ask if we wanted to pack up the rest to take home. Then she saw that there was absolutely nothing left to pack up, and she rewarded us with a smile that told us we were EXTREMELY good children.

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