Visit MaineToday's profile on Pinterest.

Restaurant & Bar Guide

Sichuan Kitchen

Sichuan Kitchen information

// Location612 Congress St.
Portland , ME 04101

// Hours11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday

// Contact207-536-7226

// Price Range$$

// Cuisine Type Asian, Chinese,

// Features

// Reviews

⇢ At Sichuan Kitchen, don't let appearances fool you

When Qi Shen and her husband moved to Portland seven years ago, they found Chinese-American restaurants, but none that specialized in the complex flavors of her home province. “When I wanted to go out, I would have to go to Boston or New York to have Sichuan food. I thought about it, and my family had the cooking skills, so we put the puzzle together and decided to open Sichuan Kitchen,” she said. The restaurant opened this January, with her father as head chef in the duplex space’s second-floor kitchen, lowering finished dishes down to the tidy dining room via a dumbwaiter they installed themselves. Ignore the décor; the restaurant’s space is a work in progress. Instead, focus on the menu’s extravagance of flavors – everything from pungent and sweet doubanjiang paste painted onto the double cooked pork, to shamelessly garlicky noodles with wok-fried minced pork loin. And yes, you will find spicy dishes, like bone broth-poached Swai fillets slicked with chili oil and showered in crispy, numbing Sichuan peppercorns. But it’s not all about heat. Perhaps the restaurant’s best dish is neither elaborate nor spicy: a simple plate of cabbage slices sautéed in a luxuriously savory sauce of soy, sugar and black vinegar. Good enough on its own to spur a return visit, it may just shatter your misconceptions about both cabbage and Sichuan food in the very same bite.