Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zuien, Kanda (四川厨房 髄苑)

While friendships and taxes may be forever, value is fleeting. Yesterday while walking deeply northward into Kanda to revisit Yamaichi, I passed this place and was impressed by the spread of gaudy crap outside. I resolved to visit. At 35% the price and probably 50% more calories, Zuien is never going to be as exciting as Yamaichi. But it sure is good value.

Chinese decorating will never stop puzzling me. The stairwell here, and the whole interior, were filled with puzzlements, starting with this doubled sign. They got a 2-for-1 deal so they thought they'd tell you twice what kind of place they were? Well, if it's Szechuan, it's good for me.

There were all manner of fake bonsai, jade-y bits, and those atmospheric fountains the spray a little mist, but I was inspired to take a picture of The Great Seal of Szechuan, or whatever these things hanging by the stairs were.

Check out all the bamboo in the cases, and the big carved seals on the walls! This is pretty funny, and I guess it must be authentic because the staff were all Chinese.

The TV was a nice feature - it keeps you busy while you wait. It was showing a dubbed version of Mel Gibson's We Were Soldiers. In the context I kept feeling like the staff were making some kind of statement against American imperialism.

Mass quantities of food are very much in line with American imperialism, however (and Chinese capitalism, and probably Uzbeki agrarianism if you get right down to it). This is your basic Y600 lunch set at this place, and I didn't kick when mama charged me Y700 for it. The beef with oyster sauce was an unfortunate touch; it had that texture that says to me "We're Chinese, and we know how to get textures out of a cow that you never thought possible." The egg with chives was really salty. I liked it.

I'd go here any time I wanted a big, cheap Chinese lunch. I could almost recommend it to you. Incidentally, the night offering is 'Order Viking', which is like 'Order Buffet', which means that for Y2900 per person you can just keep ordering until you drop. And it's cheaper on weekends.

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