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Double Li - Szechuan cuisine across from LTH [closed]

Double Li - Szechuan cuisine across from LTH [closed]
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  • Post #31 - September 23rd, 2007, 12:21 am
    Post #31 - September 23rd, 2007, 12:21 am Post #31 - September 23rd, 2007, 12:21 am
    cas wrote:I went there last night and was very impressed. I had the dried chili chicken (many more dried chilis than the table next to me), fish in chili oil and ma po tofu. I would definitely return. I was a bit miffed at the "only Chinese" portion of the menu. It was considerably larger than the English only section. What country is this? I know no one who knows Mandarin to take. Un fair. I should boycott but it was just so good.


    You could ask the food server to recommend dishes from the Chinese menu. That's what I did when I went to Double Li. The food server picked out several dishes for us, and she even translated some of the stuff on the wall. And we liked everything she recommended! The food was simply fantastic and very spicy.

    If that fails, you could take Mandarin. : )
  • Post #32 - September 23rd, 2007, 7:40 am
    Post #32 - September 23rd, 2007, 7:40 am Post #32 - September 23rd, 2007, 7:40 am
    Unlike many other places I've been to, Mr. Li seemed to have no problems answering questions and trnslating/explaining what the dishes listed in Chinese were...and after ordering them, delivering the full un-dumbed down versions to our table.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #33 - September 23rd, 2007, 8:08 am
    Post #33 - September 23rd, 2007, 8:08 am Post #33 - September 23rd, 2007, 8:08 am
    Li said that he is working on a fully translated menu, including wall specials that should be ready next month. The enthusiasm and curiosity that he's recieved from his Western customers has convinced him that his initial assumption that "Americans don't want real Chinese food," was incorrect. Last visit, when we asked for suggestions, Li recommended a fiery intestine dish and a chile duck dish--both were very good.

    I haven't had anything yet that I didn't like from either side of the menu. If Li isn't around to make suggestions, I wouldn't hesitate to just point randomly at a few dishes on the Chinese-only (for now) menu.
  • Post #34 - September 25th, 2007, 1:22 am
    Post #34 - September 25th, 2007, 1:22 am Post #34 - September 25th, 2007, 1:22 am
    LTH,

    Found my second visit to Double Li even more enjoyable than the first, Lamb with cumin hot pot was intense, vibrant, spicy enough to make m'th'su and my brow sweat and my bride's eyes water, in particular as the rich broth cooked down.

    Lamb w/cumin hot pot
    Image
    Image

    Szechwan Pig ear had it all, layers of flavor, heat, crunchy, rich pork, an almost bacony goodness.
    Image

    Szechwan tripe seemed more intense the second time around, almost as if Mr. Li is developing a trust with his non Asian customers.

    Szechwan Tripe
    Image

    Black Pepper Garlic Beef is a simply brilliant dish, layers of flavor, all bold, bit of crunch, bit of sweet, a table sweeping hit.

    Black Pepper Garlic Beef
    Image

    Finaly an Area 51 style photo of both tofus side by side. Bear Paw is 'straight' tofu in a light ever so slightly sweet sauce. Kodia Tofu/Pocket Tofu,* is ground tofu, ground chicken w/whipped egg whites, very light, quenelle like, delicious. I should note Yellow Truffle pegged the name Pocket Tofu upthread.

    Bear Paw Tofu (L) - Kodia Tofu/Pocket Tofu (R)
    Image

    Mr. Li, in verbally translating some of the menu items for us, listed off 6-7 types of tofu dishes, many of which sounded quite interesting.

    Great meal, reasonably priced and Mr. Li said he, as Trixie-Pea mentioned upthread, is actively working on a translation of the Chinese side of the menu.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *Previously referred to by me as Light Tofu.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #35 - September 26th, 2007, 7:28 pm
    Post #35 - September 26th, 2007, 7:28 pm Post #35 - September 26th, 2007, 7:28 pm
    My recent visit was far less successful than those recounted above. I was dining alone shortly before 9 p.m. on a Friday. I don't read Chinese and so was limited to the rather short English portion of the menu; my effort to get suggestions from my waitress was met by a blank stare. I ordered Szechwan dumplings and dry chili chicken, pointing to the menu when my verbal order received a quizzical look.

    After ordering, I regretted not choosing something with a vegetable in it, and thought I might add to my order. No one came near me till the first dish came. It was the chicken. I asked about the Szechwan dumplings and was told they would be a few more minutes. That happens -- it didn't bother me much, but the waitress rushed off before I could augment my order.

    The dish I received looked nothing like the photos shown -- the chicken meat was all but buried under an enormous amount of chilies. There must have been three or four times as many chilies as chicken morsels. It was difficult to find the chicken amid so many hot peppers.

    After I was about halfway through this exercise, my waitress returned and said my "potstickers" would be another 15 minutes -- was I willing to wait? "Or you can cancel." Since I hadn't ordered potstickers and didn't want any, I canceled.

    However, I did order vegetables instead, both verbally and by pointing to "stir-fried mixed vegetables" in the vegetarian section of the menu. I waited, still rummaging around in the chilies for the chicken. Finally, the waitress returned bearing another dish: "Here is mixed vegetable fried rice," she announced.

    This "mixed vegetable" dish consisted of a lot of pallid, bland and somewhat greasy rice with shrimp, chicken and tough, gray beef. The vegetables were limited to a few cubed carrots, peas and some bits of onion.

    I ate very little of this unwanted, unappealing dish and decided to take it home to my cat. When the waitress packed up my leftovers she added a pair of chopsticks, "So you can practice. It's very interesting." I was at a loss as to what she meant by this, since I had eaten my entire meal with chopsticks, using them as I was taught to do as a small child and have been practicing regularly for decades. I guess the Asians -- both here and in Hong Kong, Korea and Japan -- who have told me that I use them skillfully were telling polite lies.

    I gather I was unlucky and that it may be possible to get good food -- or at least the food one orders -- out of this place, but I don't think I'll go back unless I can find a Mandarin speaker to go with me.
  • Post #36 - September 27th, 2007, 12:59 am
    Post #36 - September 27th, 2007, 12:59 am Post #36 - September 27th, 2007, 12:59 am
    "So you can practice. It's very interesting." I was at a loss as to what she meant by this.


    You must remember to grasp chopstalk with thurnb. Now you can pick up anything. Part of glonous Chinese history and cultual.

    /somebody back me up that these are exact quotes from the wrappers at Emperor's choice; I'm not that creative or cultually insensitive on my own.
  • Post #37 - September 27th, 2007, 1:08 am
    Post #37 - September 27th, 2007, 1:08 am Post #37 - September 27th, 2007, 1:08 am
    It was even worse than I remembered:

    http://hobowilson.blogspot.com/2006/12/ ... ltual.html
  • Post #38 - September 27th, 2007, 7:10 am
    Post #38 - September 27th, 2007, 7:10 am Post #38 - September 27th, 2007, 7:10 am
    LAZ wrote:I gather I was unlucky and that it may be possible to get good food -- or at least the food one orders -- out of this place, but I don't think I'll go back unless I can find a Mandarin speaker to go with me.

    Lea,

    I'd most certainly say you were "unlucky" I've been twice and, while the first time Mr. Li seemed a bit surprised at our willingness to try anything/everything, by the second time around he was fully in tune with the fact non Asians were keen on pig ears, Szechwan tripe and lamb with cumin hot pot.

    Though I don't speak Mandarin I'd be very happy to go to Double Li with you, how about we set up an LTH group dinner together for early next week.

    Regards,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #39 - September 27th, 2007, 8:14 am
    Post #39 - September 27th, 2007, 8:14 am Post #39 - September 27th, 2007, 8:14 am
    Hmmm....I'm a bit bummed by LAZ's unfortunate experience. Jimthebeerguy and I had been planning on eating at LiLi's tonight. We knew from reading this thread earlier that the English menu was short, so I had been planning on printing out the entire thread, and maybe showing some pictures to the waiter. But now I'm not so sure.

    Is it best to go with a group, then? Would anyone be interested in joining us there tonight? (I don't know if Jimthebeerguy has fully changed his mind and picked a different restaurant at this point.) Or maybe we should join you guys next week, G Wiv and LAZ? Let us know what day you were thinking of. I'll start a thread in the Events forum right now.

    The mention that the chili chicken here is better than Tony's 3 Chili Chicken was enough to get my interest!!
    "Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you want and let the food fight it out inside."
    -Mark Twain
  • Post #40 - September 27th, 2007, 8:41 am
    Post #40 - September 27th, 2007, 8:41 am Post #40 - September 27th, 2007, 8:41 am
    Saint Pizza wrote:Is it best to go with a group, then? Would anyone be interested in joining us there tonight?

    SP,

    Sure, yes, love to go tonight, was thinking about going to Double Li this evening as it was.

    I will put something on the Event Board for 7pm this evening, Thursday, 9/27.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #41 - September 27th, 2007, 11:06 am
    Post #41 - September 27th, 2007, 11:06 am Post #41 - September 27th, 2007, 11:06 am
    LAZ wrote:The dish I received looked nothing like the photos shown -- the chicken meat was all but buried under an enormous amount of chilies. There must have been three or four times as many chilies as chicken morsels. It was difficult to find the chicken amid so many hot peppers.

    This was probably how we first had this dish back in February. The pepper to chicken ration was almost 3 to 1. I thought the same thing as you did, "where's the chicken?" But that dish was large and the plate was heaping. It took a while to find it, but it was there. Even with all those peppers, I did not find the small popcorn sized chicken morsels to be very spicy, although very tasty. I like this method of "spicing" up the chicken much better than using oil. The chicken ends up crispier and more flavorful. Now I don't know how LSC does their dish, but it does end up more oily and not as crispy. Aside from the dish not looking like the photos (hmm, this problem seems to follow me) how did it taste?

    LAZ wrote:I asked about the Szechwan dumplings and was told they would be a few more minutes. That happens -- it didn't bother me much, but the waitress rushed off before I could augment my order.

    After I was about halfway through this exercise, my waitress returned and said my "potstickers" would be another 15 minutes -- was I willing to wait? "Or you can cancel." Since I hadn't ordered potstickers and didn't want any, I canceled.

    I have had the Sichuan dumplings and it was okay (as was the potstickers), so you were not missing much. I would vest more into their large sized entree dishes that their small appetizers.

    IMHO, Double Li does one thing very well, Sichuan food. They have other other dishes from other regions of China on the menu for (what I assume) those that might not be too familiar with Sichuan cuisine. And although those dumplings are Sichuan, they consider small appetizer sized items as street food and don't put too much heart into the dish. Also note that when it comes to traditional Chinese cooking, there is no separation between appetizer or main course. They come immediately after the chef finishes cooking it. Sometimes entrees come out before appetizers and vice versa. Anyway...

    LAZ wrote:However, I did order vegetables instead, both verbally and by pointing to "stir-fried mixed vegetables" in the vegetarian section of the menu. I waited, still rummaging around in the chilies for the chicken. Finally, the waitress returned bearing another dish: "Here is mixed vegetable fried rice," she announced.

    This "mixed vegetable" dish consisted of a lot of pallid, bland and somewhat greasy rice with shrimp, chicken and tough, gray beef. The vegetables were limited to a few cubed carrots, peas and some bits of onion.

    Yeah we made that mistake of ordering "stir-fried mixed vegetables" or something like that. What we got was sub par. A traditional vegetable dish in China would not have too many things in it. The veg dishes that are great at DL are the simple ones. The peapod leaves are, IMHO, the best veg dish here. The potato dish is also worth checking out.

    If you had the old lady as your waitress, I can understand what you went through. Her reading of English understanding is bad and reading is worse.
  • Post #42 - September 27th, 2007, 11:25 am
    Post #42 - September 27th, 2007, 11:25 am Post #42 - September 27th, 2007, 11:25 am
    G Wiv wrote:Lamb w/cumin hot pot
    Image
    Image

    Since language barrier seems to be the main issue in getting what you are looking for, I just want to clarify. Was this really a hot pot, or was it a dish in a pot that is being heated. The Sichuan hot pot would be a pot of hot and spicy oil over a burner with, uncooked meat and/or fish and vegetables. The customer would have to do the cooking, similar to shabu shabu or fondue. But what is nice about the Sichuan hot pot is that they do not change the broth. As it simmers down the intensity of flavors and spices in the broth is quite remarkable. IMHO, a great winter dish.

    IIRC, Sichuan hot pots do not use stoneware. Unglamorously I think they use short metal stock pots. The stoneware is usually used for soup or for steaming. Although you are using the hot pot spoon.
  • Post #43 - September 27th, 2007, 12:27 pm
    Post #43 - September 27th, 2007, 12:27 pm Post #43 - September 27th, 2007, 12:27 pm
    yellow truffle wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:Lamb w/cumin hot pot
    Image
    Image

    Since language barrier seems to be the main issue in getting what you are looking for, I just want to clarify. Was this really a hot pot, or was it a dish in a pot that is being heated. Although you are using the hot pot spoon.


    Mr. Li described it as a "hot pot," but you are correct--it was just a stoneware pot that was being heated.
  • Post #44 - September 27th, 2007, 5:06 pm
    Post #44 - September 27th, 2007, 5:06 pm Post #44 - September 27th, 2007, 5:06 pm
    yellow truffle wrote:This was probably how we first had this dish back in February. The pepper to chicken ration was almost 3 to 1. I thought the same thing as you did, "where's the chicken?" But that dish was large and the plate was heaping. It took a while to find it, but it was there. Even with all those peppers, I did not find the small popcorn sized chicken morsels to be very spicy, although very tasty.... Aside from the dish not looking like the photos (hmm, this problem seems to follow me) how did it taste?

    The portion of chicken was adequate, once I dug it all out, but that was no mean endeavor. Eaten by itself, with nothing to spell the palate, I found it fairly spicy. The chicken pieces were liberally stuck with bits of chili and pepper seeds. I might have liked more if the meat hadn't been cooked quite dry.

    yellow truffle wrote:Also note that when it comes to traditional Chinese cooking, there is no separation between appetizer or main course. They come immediately after the chef finishes cooking it. Sometimes entrees come out before appetizers and vice versa.

    Yes, I know. But it isn't customary, with only two dishes, for them to come out more than 30 minutes apart. The restaurant was not busy.

    yellow truffle wrote:Yeah we made that mistake of ordering "stir-fried mixed vegetables" or something like that. What we got was sub par. A traditional vegetable dish in China would not have too many things in it. The veg dishes that are great at DL are the simple ones. The peapod leaves are, IMHO, the best veg dish here. The potato dish is also worth checking out.

    Neither the peapods nor the potatoes are listed in English. The only vegetable dishes in English are stir-fried mixed vegetables, Szechwan string bean and broccoli in garlic sauce. These, with ma po tofu, comprise the "Vegetarians Favorite" section. I did not expect, therefore, when ordering stir-fried mixed vegetables, to receive fried rice with shrimp, chicken and beef, delivered triumphantly as "mixed vegetable fried rice." I have tried valiantly to assume that this and the (nonexistant) potstickers for Szechwan dumplings were merely language problems, but the impression I got was that the server really didn't care what I wanted.

    yellow truffle wrote:If you had the old lady as your waitress, I can understand what you went through. Her reading of English understanding is bad and reading is worse.

    My server was a young woman. Many ethnic restaurants are able to provide decent service despite a staff who doesn't read or speak good English by providing menu listings in both languages or numbering the dishes. Here, the English and the Chinese are totally separate.
  • Post #45 - September 28th, 2007, 6:01 am
    Post #45 - September 28th, 2007, 6:01 am Post #45 - September 28th, 2007, 6:01 am
    I had another lovely meal at Double Li last night, accompanied by a large group of LTHers. Once again, the Black Pepper Garlic Beef was the star of the show. This has become the signature dish of Double Li for me. That, along with the pocket tofu are the dishes that will continue to bring me back. We also had many other dishes, including the delicious lamb & cumin "hot pot" which, while different from the dish served at Ed's Potsticker House, was very good in its own right. I'll leave it to others to describe some of the other things we had along with posting pictures. I'll just say that Double Li is yet another great Sechuan option in Chinatown and it will go into my regualr rotation.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #46 - September 28th, 2007, 8:31 am
    Post #46 - September 28th, 2007, 8:31 am Post #46 - September 28th, 2007, 8:31 am
    Cookie and I had the pleasure of joining a terrific group of LTHers for my first trip to Double Li last night, and I'm really glad we went with a large group. When I first saw this thread, Double Li had been immediately placed at the top of my "places to try" list.

    A couple general observations about the restaurant:

    --I found their szechuan oil to be significantly milder in heat level than the same ingredient at LSC, which I believe actually allows for more flexibility in flavoring different dishes at different heat levels. The cold pig ear, really a texture-focused dish, held onto a subtle heat from the oil. Other dishes, with more peppercorns or chiles added really had a more aggressive taste.

    --Mr. Li is an excellent host and I'd suggest anyone who has problems ordering to see if he's available. He's eager to let people try new things and even brought us out a special dish, keeping the ingredients secret until we guessed.

    --I hope Mr. Li makes good on his promise to expand English translations of the vast Chinese language menu. I have no doubt that there is plenty more that we haven't tasted.

    A few observations about specific dishes:

    --I echo stevez's assessment of the pepper and garlic beef tenderloin. This is an impressive dish in many ways. It's what I'd call a "minimum four" dish, because you can't eat too much of it, so you'd want at least four people at your table to really enjoy it. Sure, you could take it home, but I think you'd be sacrificing a good portion of the quality on re-heat.

    --The fish in chili broth is one of the best things that anyone has ever done to tilapia. It's rustic, spicy, filling, and addictive. This, with a big bowl of rice, would make a terrific lunch on a cold winter day. I had a similar feeling about the lamb w/cumin in broth, but lamb w/cumin is always a dish that I only want a couple bites of.

    --The dry chili chicken was fantastic. Crispy, salty, and hot. Leave me alone with a ball game, two or three plates of this, and a six pack of beer and I'm a happy man.

    --The ma po tofu, a favorite dish of mine in general, was my only slight disappointment. It seemed to be lacking the deep "funkiness" that comes with, I believe, fermented black beans. It was a good dish, but a straightforward preparation.

    --The szechuan tripe is among the best trip preparations I've had, and I don't like tripe too much.

    Double Li is a fantastic addition to the Chinatown landscape and I'm glad I went with some "ordering power" behind me.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #47 - September 28th, 2007, 8:45 am
    Post #47 - September 28th, 2007, 8:45 am Post #47 - September 28th, 2007, 8:45 am
    LTH,

    Nice turnout for a short notice dinner, ten adults and three very adventurous children, ok, two adventurous children, 5-6 months is a little young for duck tongue no matter how food forward ones parents might be. :)

    Speaking of duck tongue, Mr. Li said he had a surprise for our group, wouldn't tell us what it was in advance, then, after he brought it out, asked us to guess what it was. He seemed ever so slightly surprised Josephine and I knew at a glance what it was, aside from delicious.

    Duck Tongue
    Image

    This was my third outing at Double Li and I've enjoyed it more each time, in particular Black Pepper Garlic Beef and Pocket Tofu, both pictured upthread. Fish in Chili Broth and Lamb with Cumin Hot Pot are two I'm starting to crave, with the Lamb w/Cumin Hot Pot getting the nod.

    Fish in Chili broth
    Image

    Lamb with Cumin Hot Pot
    Image

    Szechwan Pig Ear goes surprisingly well with Pumpkin Ale
    Image

    And everything tastes better with bourbon, even Szechwan Tripe
    Image

    Double Li's no meat MaPo Tofu is tasty but, as Michael M pointed out, less complex than Lao Sze Chuan's.

    MaPo Tofu
    Image

    Mr. Li seems fully engaged in the idea that non Chinese are looking for full-on Szechwan, I'm looking forward to the menu translation in the near future.

    Mr. Li
    Image

    JimTheBeerGuy and SaintPizza youngest, no duck tongue, but a heck of a smile.
    Image

    Very enjoyable dinner, great conversation, interesting beer and duck tongue, what more could one ask of an evening.

    A few additional pictures from dinner may be found here, scroll down to 9.27.07

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #48 - September 28th, 2007, 10:11 am
    Post #48 - September 28th, 2007, 10:11 am Post #48 - September 28th, 2007, 10:11 am
    Dayum!! Duck tongue?!?! Now I'm even more sorry that I couldn't make it, since that is something I cannot remember ever having tried.

    Thanks all, for the notes and the pictures. It looks like it was a great meal and I know the company was fabulous.

    =R=
    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French

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  • Post #49 - September 28th, 2007, 12:42 pm
    Post #49 - September 28th, 2007, 12:42 pm Post #49 - September 28th, 2007, 12:42 pm
    Image


    Only slightly offtopic: Where did you get that Southern Tier Pumpking?

    I had that at a tasting at Delilah's last week and really enjoyed it.
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #50 - September 29th, 2007, 1:04 am
    Post #50 - September 29th, 2007, 1:04 am Post #50 - September 29th, 2007, 1:04 am
    :cry: No Szechuan pig ears for me tonight . . . although my far less adventurous friends were all too happy. Unfortunately, do to the language barrier, I'm not 100% certain that they were not available . . . just 60% sure. I'll try again -- the dish looks so good.

    We did order both the black pepper garlic beef tenderloin and the twice cooked pork. I liked the beef quite a bit . . . a great combination of flavors. My one criticism of the dish was that it was perhaps a little heavy on both salt and garlic. I think both could have been cut down just a notch for a better marriage of flavors.

    The twice cook pork could not have been any better. The pork was so flavorful, carried a good amount of heat and the vegetables packing some good crunch while still being nicely sauteed. Simply fantastic.

    One of my friends also ordered the chicken in a basil sauce, and while it had pretty good flavor, it just didn't strike me as anything I'd want to have again. But if you're looking for chicken packed with lots of basil, this dish would be right up your alley.
  • Post #51 - September 29th, 2007, 11:18 pm
    Post #51 - September 29th, 2007, 11:18 pm Post #51 - September 29th, 2007, 11:18 pm
    whiskeybent wrote:Only slightly offtopic: Where did you get that Southern Tier Pumpking?

    Binny's in Niles.

    Binny's
    8935 N. Milwaukee
    Niles, IL 60714
    847-966-2300
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #52 - October 1st, 2007, 11:53 am
    Post #52 - October 1st, 2007, 11:53 am Post #52 - October 1st, 2007, 11:53 am
    It's been a while since we've gone down to Chinatown, but this thread made me realize it was past time to return. We had a wonderful dinner at Double Li on Friday evening after work; Victor was starving, having missed lunch, so it was a perfect time to try a new place.

    We had few language problems--the very sweet waitress was extremely helpful in spite of some misunderstandings. When I asked for peapods and she queried red or green, I knew something was wrong. So she had me write it down, which turned out perfectly.

    God, those peapod greens were fabulous.

    We also ordered szechuan wontons, which were quite tasty though nothing out of this world, scallion pancakes, which were greasy and good, and the black pepper garlic beef, which was just amazing. Victor couldn't get over how tender the meat was.

    The waitress came back after an interval and started to ask us if we wanted to wrap up stuff to take home but then she looked at our plates. We'd left not a morsel. Then she gave us a big (if surprised) smile. We felt like extremely good children.

    Double Li has become a favorite restaurant. We look forward to returning to try some of the other dishes mentioned in this thread. Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful place.
  • Post #53 - October 14th, 2007, 3:03 pm
    Post #53 - October 14th, 2007, 3:03 pm Post #53 - October 14th, 2007, 3:03 pm
    My wife had some business in Chicago 2 weeks ago. I was checking websites and came acros this one. I wanted to go to Chinatown and from the postings my wife, son and I deceided to try Double Li. It was a tuesday so it wasn't that busy, and Mr Li waited on us. He asked if we wanted REAL chinese food and we replyed yes. We started out with pigs ears and he recommended several other dishes that were outstanding. We just couldn't finish it all and had no way of keeping it for our return to Texas. Next time maybe an ice chest. Speaking of that when he found out where we were from he mentioned that a friend of his has asked him to maybe start up a place in Houston. He told us that in Jan. or Feb he will come down to check out if it would be a good place to start one. One can only hope. I will say it was the best Chinese food we've ever eaten. kevin
  • Post #54 - October 14th, 2007, 3:23 pm
    Post #54 - October 14th, 2007, 3:23 pm Post #54 - October 14th, 2007, 3:23 pm
    We went last week on Sunday early (5:15 or so) and had a very nice dinner. Peapod shoots, salt and pepper shrimp (good, but no shell or head - but we loved the noodles), lamb cumin hot pot, fish in chili broth, plain steamed veggies, pocket tofu. We had a regular waiter, but when we said we wanted a particular tofu dish we had read about on the internet, Mr. Li came over and took our order. He said he'd have a menu translation soon. Quite good, and they were very nice with the toddler we dined with. Helps that she's a very happy child and not a screamer ;)
    Leek

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  • Post #55 - November 4th, 2007, 12:51 pm
    Post #55 - November 4th, 2007, 12:51 pm Post #55 - November 4th, 2007, 12:51 pm
    LTHForum,

    Had the pleasure dining at Double Li Friday night and, as in subsequent visits, thoroughly enjoyed the meal. My wife and I were the first of our small group to arrive, we had been at the Matchbox, and ordered a few appetizers to get the ball rolling, pot stickers, Szechwan tendon and scallion pancakes. Scallion pancake used like naan/tortilla/injera makes a tasty scoop for spicy tendon with a quick stop in Double Li's table side chili oil, pot stickers were a delicious rendition, crisp, moist, with a peppery meat filling that put me in mind of a Jewish style kreplach.

    Pot Stickers
    Image

    Pocket tofu, the ethereally light quenelles, were tasty, but not quite as cloud light as in the past, though they remain my brides favorite Double Li dish.

    Kodai Tofu (Pocket Tofu) (R)
    Image

    Black Pepper Beef with Garlic has become a signature at Double Li, a craveable wake up in the morning thinking I 'gotta have that' dish.

    Image

    Trixie-Pea had noted Lao Sze Chuan had a very similar menu item and, in a burst of compare and contrast genius, picked up an order on the way to Double Li. While I am a long time fan of LSC, their version of Black Pepper Beef did not hold a candle to Double Li's. In fairness to LSC, I should point out that, as has been discussed upthread, DL's Black Pepper Beef with garlic is not a Szechuan dish, but a fusion of Chef Li's experience in both Szechuan and Western kitchens.

    Lao Sze Chuan Black Pepper Beef
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    From the soon to be translated Chinese menu we had Shrimp with preserved egg yolk, the salty preserved egg yolk adding a rich full note to the light batter.

    Shrimp with preserved egg yolk
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    Mr. Li likes to surprise with a dish he feels may be out of ones comfort zone. Not only that, he won't tell you what it is until you have either eaten most of it or guessed correctly. Last time it was duck tongue, pictured upthread, this time Eel with garlic, both of which were guessed without Mr. Li informing the table.

    Eel with Garlic
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    Mike Sula (m'th'su), who has been in Double Li's kitchen in preparation for an upcoming Chicago Reader article he is doing, spotted bacon curing in-house. When Mike inquired if that was available Mr. Li put together a dish of House cured bacon, which is finished with hoisin, leek, wood ear mushroom and pea pods. The bacon is terrific, complex, fatty, meaty, salty sweet, a quick drunk in the table chili oil and it was the best bite of the night.

    House cured bacon finished with hoisin. Sliced thin and stir fried with pea pods, wood ear mushrooms and leeks.
    Image

    Mr. Li with house cured bacon
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    The other Mr. Li of Double Li
    Image

    Ronnie_S, thanks again for the heads up on Double Li

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Double Li
    228 W. Cermak
    Chicago, IL
    312 842-7818

    Lao Sze Chuan
    2172 S Archer Ave
    Chicago, IL 60616
    312-326-5040
    Last edited by G Wiv on November 4th, 2007, 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #56 - November 4th, 2007, 2:37 pm
    Post #56 - November 4th, 2007, 2:37 pm Post #56 - November 4th, 2007, 2:37 pm
    G Wiv wrote: In fairness to LSC, I should point out that, as has been discussed upthread, DL's Black Pepper Beef with garlic is not a Szechuan dish, but a fusion of Chef Li's experience in both Szechuan and Western kitchens.


    Actually, Mr. Li didn't invent the dish, but obtained the recipe from a chef of his acquaintance at the Chengdu Hotel in Sichuan province's capital city.
  • Post #57 - November 4th, 2007, 2:40 pm
    Post #57 - November 4th, 2007, 2:40 pm Post #57 - November 4th, 2007, 2:40 pm
    m'th'su wrote:Actually, Mr. Li didn't invent the dish, but obtained the recipe from a chef of his acquaintance at the Chengdu Hotel in Sichuan province's capital city.

    Though it is a fusion dish, as the use of butter seems to imply. Correct?
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #58 - November 4th, 2007, 2:44 pm
    Post #58 - November 4th, 2007, 2:44 pm Post #58 - November 4th, 2007, 2:44 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    m'th'su wrote:Actually, Mr. Li didn't invent the dish, but obtained the recipe from a chef of his acquaintance at the Chengdu Hotel in Sichuan province's capital city.

    Though it is a fusion dish, as the use of butter seems to imply. Correct?


    Yep. Mr Li says the Sichuanese are mad about creative, new dishes.
  • Post #59 - November 4th, 2007, 11:59 pm
    Post #59 - November 4th, 2007, 11:59 pm Post #59 - November 4th, 2007, 11:59 pm
    Interesting discussion re: the origins of Li's presentation of Black Pepper Beef, as I'd always been under the impression it was a classic Cantonese dish from Hong Kong, at the very least that my family has dined on it since their days in Hong Kong and in Cantonese restaurants in the states under the name of Hak Jiu Gnou Lou - I apologize for my bad Cantonese ping yum
  • Post #60 - November 5th, 2007, 9:37 am
    Post #60 - November 5th, 2007, 9:37 am Post #60 - November 5th, 2007, 9:37 am
    Jay K wrote:Interesting discussion re: the origins of Li's presentation of Black Pepper Beef, as I'd always been under the impression it was a classic Cantonese dish from Hong Kong


    With butter?

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