Szechuan Chef Chinese Restaurant
15015 Main Street Ste 107
Bellevue WA 98007
Great Chinese Restaurant in Bellevue Outskirts
By: Steve G
If you lived in the outskirts of Bellevue for over 7-8 years, you probably remember the old K-Mart that has long since closed. Personally, we thought nothing much of the strip mall in that location, but in recent times a large number of restaurants have started opening up along that site and Szechuan Chef is one of those which is surprisingly good.
As we entered the front door, we did not know what to expect. Generic Chinese decorations, mediocre food? Bearing down our stomach and mustering our courage we stepped through the front door. Once inside, we were pleasantly surprised at the level of work and ambiance in the restaurant. Track lighting and high ceilings dominated the space above us, creating a deep sense of space. Deep reds and blacks dominated the color scheme with a spattering of bamboo trees spread around the establishment. We wondered if Bamboo trees were the new “it” thing since a lot of the new places seem to use them. Not only do we get to eat, but we also get to eat in forest. One of the reviewers thought it came off as a little too gaudy, but it works. From the outside, you never would have expected this much effort put into the interior.
In seconds we were seated and as we glanced at the menu, which was several pages thick, we were amazed at the number of dishes served. Our water came in these huge towering purple cups that we could only describe as chalices. We almost had the inclination to break bread and serve mass before we came to our senses and remembered we were in a Chinese restaurant.
With the vast array of food to choose from, we decided on four dishes to order. Seafood Gravy on Noodles, Green Onion Pancake, Hand Shaven Noodles, and Chicken with Soft Tofu. Family style was the way to go, but they also have lunch specials available as well. For those with a disposition for Hot Pot, they also have all you can eat Hot Pot Buffet as well.
The Seafood Gravy on Noodles came with a very thick sauce, hence the gravy, mixed with various pieces of seafood ranging from squid to shrimp to scallops. Vegetables like batchoy and carrots were also put in for good measure. The noodles were more of a wheat rice noodle, very similar to a thick spaghetti noodle. Overall, the dish was prepared very well and has the capacity to fill 2-3 people on that dish alone.
The Green Onion Pancake was decent at best, with about eight pieces and a soy sauce for dipping. Prepared and fried in oil and low heat, it was very bubbly on the outside but it was not as layered as green onion pancakes at other restaurants. Now it may not be the creme de la creme of Green Onion Pancakes, but was an adequate appetizer at best.
The best dish by far was Hand Shaven Noodle with thin slices of noodles and hot chunks of well cooked chicken and vegetables. Like many of the dishes, you have a choice of what level of spice you want. We ordered the three (3) star and honestly, it was not for the faint of heart. Our mouths were burning, but luckily we had our huge chalices of water to douse the flames.
Chicken and Soft Tofu plate is drenched in a light brown sauce with some chili oil. We were worried that it had the same punch of spice of the Hand Shaven Noodles but sadly it seemed more toned down. We needed an endless supply of water for our burning mouths (a la Hand Shaven Noodles) and the service was quick to reload our cups multiple times and checked up on our table constantly.
As far as prices go, a lot of the items were a couple dollars more than would you expect at a similar restaurant in the International District, but most of their dishes have unbelievable taste and quality. If you're looking for good Szechuan Cuisine on the eastside, be sure to check Szechuan Chef. If the food and modern interior are not enough to pique your interest, check out their huge cups its worth a stop.