Lao Sze Chaun, Chicago

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wendy picked this award-wining Chinese restaurant located in Chicago's Chinatown, which was just a few miles from the Symphony Hall on Michigan Ave. I got to drive in Chicago for the first time picking Wendy up from rehearsal for the Chicago Symphony's performance of Bach's Saint John's Passion. I was thrilled to get to see Symphony Hall again. She invited me to see Sting perform on a Tuesday night last May in the Hall and it was unbelievable, so I was equally excited about Friday's performance in the Hall. On my driving in Cook County, it was a little scary for this Memphis driver, the cabs were in and out of traffic like mad. And I certainly didn't want to be in charge of repairing Eran's Maxima if I wrecked it. Luckily, no wrecks were had so we were off to her favorite China Town establishment.

It was a healthy-packed restaurant located in a strip mall in China Town. Lae Sze Chuan opened in 1998 by Tony Hu, after graduating from the Culinary Institute in Sze Chaun, China. This restaurant is world famous and recognized by the motto, "one style for one dish, a hundred dishes have a hundred different tastes". And that's exactly what we got...We were seated immediately and our waitress brought water and spicy cabbage to the table. Wendy loved the cabbage and I did too. We had to wait on high school friend Brett Gardner to show up for dinner and when he arrived he said, "this reminds me of Garfield's". And it did to both of us since we've been friends with Brett and his family for more than 22 years. Wendy, Brett and I all went to different high schools in Oklahoma City, having a friend in common during those years, and remain a close crew always reminiscing about old times with each other. We would eat out at the Oklahoma City chain Garfield's a lot. And it's ironic that Brett and Wendy live in the same town now, fun times!

So with our cabbage going on empty, Wendy ordered up the Szechuan String Beans, Crab Ragoon, Sliced Tender Pork with garlic sauce, Tony's Chicken with Three Chili and last and overly not least, the Chinese Eggplant in garlic sauce. If you read my blog, you know I try and never splurge on a giant meal due to my calorie counting, etc, but good lord that was a lot of food! My favorite was the Chinese Eggplant, Wendy and Brett both loved the pork and spicy chicken. The food was delicious and we enjoyed Tsing Tao beer and white wine with our dinner. The eggplant was great with the steamed white rice. I loved the crab ragoon as well, crunchy and perfect. The spicy chicken with three chilies was crispy chicken with red pepper flakes cooked in red chilies. I loved it's spicy kick and went well with the rich eggplant. Our conversation was great, it is always divine to catch up with old friends when the conversation is so easy. Brett owns a very successful lighting business in Chicago, he just got back from the Grammy's, Wendy is hugely successful with the CSO and then there's me, busy with work and community service. What a great time catching up!

No dessert for us but we, of course, opened our Fortune Cookies. Mine said "you will have success in your business", Brett's said something about love and Wendy didn't get one, dang it. We all cracked up at the cookies, I think mine was meant for Brett!

Lao Sze Chaun is a really good, authentic Chinese restaurant and reasonably priced, our food and drink tab was $70 for three. It is a great place to go for real Chinese food and a great place to catch up with old friends.

Lao Sze Chuan, 2172 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, IL, 312-326-5040 Check out the many awards and compliments they've received!!

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