Recently opened at 6th Ave. and 11th St., Shu Han Ju doesn’t even have a permanent sign on the front yet. Nor does it have a liquor license, so for now you will have to BYO. I’d been waiting for it to open, but was a bit skeptical as the temporary sign says Authentic Chinese Food, Sichuan Style. Did that mean it was really authentic Sichuan? So once I saw the menu posted I took a look, and it seemed quite promising. Lots of spicy dishes, many of them the same as what we’ve had at Szechuan Gourmet, so we decided to give it a try on Wednesday night, hoping it would turn out to be a good place to have around the corner from home.
I’m happy to report that we were very impressed. The Chengdu pork dumplings were comparable to those at Szechuan Gourmet, and the ox tongue and tripe were even better. Cumin lamb was the best we’ve had, tender and juicy, substantial pieces of lamb, again better than SG and way better than Legend. The only dish that did not excite was the chicken with Chinese broccoli, which was supposed to be spicy but had no detectable spice (don’t know what went wrong with that one). We added some chili oil and pepper which livened it up.
I am thrilled to have Shu Han Ju in the neighborhood, and hope they will be successful. Even if you don’t live nearby, it is well worth a detour.