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Chinatown's Newest Eatery Sze Chuan Cuisine Is Spicy But 'Not Spicy Spicy'

By Casey Cora | July 15, 2013 6:58am
 Restaurateur Andy Luo's new Chinatown space is his third venture.
Sze Chuan Cuisine
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CHINATOWN — Chinatown's newest restaurant features Sze Chuan cooking, which originated in China's Sichuan Province and is characterized by its hot and spicy dishes

But at Sze Chuan Cuisine, 2414 S. Wentworth Ave., restaurateur Andy Luo said the region's traditionally fiery dishes are tamped down to please all palates, traditionalists and newcomers alike.

"It's not really spicy spicy. There's a balance between between it all. It's perfect for everybody," said  Luo, 37, a Bridgeport resident.

The restaurant, which opened earlier this month, replaces the old Dragon Court. Luo said the interior was gutted during a six-month renovation project, the result of which is a sleek new interior with funky chandeliers, ornate wall dividers and a lounge-like vibe.

Upstairs, diners can sit in private rooms, complete with circular tables that can seat up to 12 diners, depending on the room. 

The exterior also got a major facelift, following a trend set by newer neighborhood restaurants like Ahjoomah's Apron that prioritize aesthetics along with regional Asian cuisines.

The expansive menu includes both hot and cold appetizers — spicy pig kidney slices, chicken paw with pickled peppers, intestines with Chinese noodles — and dozens of traditional beef, chicken, poultry, pork, hot pots, and tofu and vegetarian entrees.

All are plated in ornate fashion.

"It's a little different. I guarantee you will like it," he said.

Luo also owns the Pan-Asian "Japanese fusion lounge" Niu Sushi, 332 E. Illinois St. in Streeterville, and My Place China Cuisine at 2022 S. Archer Ave. in Chinatown Square.