In my recent post about Gu’s I complained of the missing “kick my ass” element as compared to the old days of Peter Cheng.
THIS is how it’s done. Blogger emeritus Rowdy cooked up this beef dish the other night for us.
It is over the top in a way, but fantastic. The Sichuan peppercorns are more fragrant and numbing than hot. My 18 month old son loved the leftovers.
Best Sichuan I’ve had in years.
Due to the relative proximity of my home down Atlanta road, my office in Vinings, trips to Costco to buy epic portions of toilet paper, and my brother living off Spring Rd, I often find myself in the Smyrna area looking for somewhere to grab a decent lunch.
I used to hit Yakitori Jenbei or Roy’s for a cheesesteak, but both have changed ownership and gone downhill in recent years. The Cumberland mall area is a barrage of chains, which will only be furthered by the Braves disaster. Everything available just seems so middling. Muss & Turner’s is a go-to option for me, but everytime I go there I end up spending more than I anticipate. That said, I had a great chicken and sausage gumbo there yesterday.
Speaking of gumbo (check that lead-in brah!), I did recently check out On the Bayou on the strength of online reports. The solo lunch was not as expeditious as I had hoped, the server not super attentive to my desire to get in and get out on a work day, but I’d like to try it again. The roux-darkened chicken andouille gumbo packed a deeply flavorful punch. Good stuff.
The po-boy (shrimp and oyster mixed) would have been excellent had the Leidenheimer bread been a little fresher. Included fries ain’t bad either.
Worth a try but for a taste of New Orleans I’d be hard pressed to not visit AJ’s instead.
It had been a while since I’d been to Gu’s Bistro, the popular Sichuan restaurant on Buford Highway, with a soon-to-open dumpling stall in Krog Street Market. Gu’s has always been a little more approachable than the temple of assburn which initiated so many of us in Atlanta – Tasty China. It’s friendlier. Cleaner. Yvonne Khan, the daughter of Chef Gu, is young and knew how to market her restaurant, adding a dim sum brunch and putting a few craft beers on the list.
It’s not just the ambience which has been a little softer – the food has been called more balanced than the sweat inducing hot pots and numbing (ma la), chile raging dry fried beef, pork belly, and eggplant of Tasty China, where somehow Peter Chang always left us wanting more, disregarding the obvious pain to come, like a booze hound forgetting the agony of the previous hangover.
Gu’s is indeed more manageable, and I’m sure many people appreciate it. I really do enjoy eating there, but I miss the debaucherous meals I’d have at Tasty China, generally with my “wine boyfriends” (as my wife calls them), where a sweet Auslese Riesling was the only temporary relief one would find for the brutal and interesting procession of heat and numbness balanced in disbelief.
Likely my favorite dish from Gu’s on this recent evening came close to hitting that mark of perfection, the Shan City crawfish, where the usual small nibs of chicken were replaced with more plump and tender crawfish, crisp and molten, with a fine dusting of Sichuan peppercorn. It’s an easy re-order.
Regardless of my nit picking and nostalgia for a time when I was on the fast track to an ulcer, Gu’s is one of the best spots in town to casually (and relatively inexpensively) share some wine and food and enjoy the evening. If you need a cool white wine to go with the food, consider stopping at nearby Le Caveau and let them know you’re hitting Gu’s.
the aforementioned Shan city crawfish