As the Chinese network in the East Valley grows, so too makes the California-Arizona connection. It’s been a wild few years, but Phoenix remains acquainted with local Chinese fare at the grand scale. Meanwhile, Southern California is becoming really crowded with equal. So, when it comes time to open his very own eating place, what’s the supervisor of a Sichuan joint in Irvine, California, to do? Go east, younger guy.
Xiaohan “Bear” Xu had heard of the developing Chinese restaurant scene in Phoenix. He’d also heard that a lot of it became subpar. So together, along with his wife, Janice Yu, and his business associate, Zhao Wang, the trio chose south Tempe because of the vicinity for their first restaurant. After a few months of upkeep, Old Town Taste opened on April 6. Ho hum, another day, some other new Chinese restaurant inside the East Valley, you are saying.
Stop proper there. You’re going to need to pay attention to this one. On the southeast nook of Broadway Road and McClintock Drive, tucked right into a strip mall two doors down from BP Street Café, Old Town Taste makes a few impressively refined Sichuan and Beijing-fashion food. Want more memories about the exceptional activities, devour and see in the Valley? Subscribe to azcentral.Com for publications, critiques, and professional recommendations.
How the owner ended up in Arizona
“Bear,” as Xu likes to be known, hails Shandong, a coastal Chinese province simply south of Beijing. He first got here to the USA as an excessive college change scholar, studying economics at Michigan State and finance at Pepperdine. Ditching a white-collar profession to head run a restaurant may be an enterprise trope; however, it’s rooted in truth and crosses cultural barriers. Studying finance became his circle of relatives want. Cooking and inviting customers was his.
In the end, Bear’s dreams won out. He discovered himself managing a pair of Chinese restaurants in California and seeking to open his very own. Given Bear’s history, it needs to come as no surprise that Old Town Taste suggests an unusual stage of polish. This is a quick room — vibrant and glowing with aqua banquettes, dark tables, chairs, and walls depicting a rural Chinese town.
The menu is deep and will take the time to explore. Cold Sichuan appetizers are on hold for perhaps a month. The team is simply seeking the proper chef to spearhead that effort. But the relaxation of the menu could be very sturdy, and the kitchen is already turning out a few critical gems.
On the Sichuan facet, they’re bringing the hearth. The house’s unique spicy pot is one of those chaotic, throw everything in the pot creations, with elements like glass noodles, bean curd, lotus root, quail eggs, and thick slabs of spam, all swimming in soupy ma Los Angeles fire. If in the same wheelhouse, a little extra subtle is Chen’s saute fowl, a dish of braised fowl wings with peppers and onions in a thick, rich gravy that hums with spice.
The Chongqing-style spicy fowl can be one of the Valley’s best. Available with or without bones, the little nuggets are deftly fried to a volcanic crisp, buried in a pile of frizzled chiles, Sichuan pepper, garlic, scallions, and ginger. Eat some of the warm; however, keep some of them for later in the meal — the flavor adjustments absolutely because it cools. Crisp lotus root is similarly dealt with Sichuan spice, plied with slivers of sweet pork belly, and served in a flame-fired dry pot.
Highlights additionally consist of “gentler gems.”
But even as chiles are well-represented, the menu is also chock full of gentler gemstones, consisting of a real stunner: the fish-flavored eggplant strips. Because it’s also regarded, Yu Xiang eggplant doesn’t contain any fish (a long story for once more). Rather, long Chinese eggplants, break up lengthwise, are stir-fried with floor red meat and a vinegary-sweet sauce, heavy with garlic and ginger. This is one of the high-quality variations I’ve had in a while, singed to a tasty, caramelized crisp.
The squirrel-shaped fish, so named for cross-hatch cuts made to its flesh, is fried and doused with a bold sweet-bitter, suffering no lack of sugar but thoroughly balanced. And a section of “ironwork” dishes consists of a hearty, homey providing of spareribs — slippery, smooth morsels paired with inexperienced beans in a thick, sweet, soy-ahead gravy and served with flat corn desserts.
Barely a month into its run, succinctly said, Old Town Taste is an area to watch very, very cautiously. And hopefully, the bar will remain excessive when the crew heads returned west — it wouldn’t be the primary time a California Sichuan eating place has dipped in pleasant after a scorching begin. But this plenty is already clear: If California desires to help build our nearby Chinese restaurant scene, extra spots like Old Town Taste can be totally welcome.