Friday, September 4, 2020

Peppercorns Kitchen

-Grubbing in Chicago(land)
Szechuan food in Evanston

Restaurants serving food from China's Sichuan region show no sign of slowing down. With help from the now free Tony Hu Chicago has had Sichuan cuisine regularly available since he first opened Lao Sze Chuan over a decade ago. Funny bc it's just becoming all the rage in LA where most of the country's Asian food trends are set especially Chinese with the SGV area being damn near all Chinese. Well ever since the city's first Szechuan restaurant opened many have followed in it's path. I got word one of the city's best was found up North in Evanston. Not surprising considering all the other college campus towns across the Big Ten where regional Chinese food has a presence.

Locals Favorite in Evanston

Peppercorn's Kitchen sits in an old storefront on downtown Davis street. Word among those on food social media has it that the owners of Peppercorns are the same people behind Chef Xiong Taste of Szechuan. I haven't been there yet but early word is mostly positive from those I know and online reviews. I tried Peppercorn's one night this last summer and it was bustling despite being in it's last hour of business for the day. Lots of younger groups of Asian kids as well as gringo families and the likes. A nice mix. From what I heard this place is as good as most anywhere else in Chinatown so if you live closer to Evanston you might be just as satisfied here with a much shorter drive to boot.

 Dan Dan Noodles at Peppercorns Kitchen

I have a couple of dishes I will try the first time through a Sichuan focused spot. Dan Dan Noodles being the menu item most Sichuan spots are going to have. But it can be served in so many different ways in the States that it can be tough to find something like that which you might have had in China. Peppercorns does a pretty good version for an American made bowl. I liked it better than most all of the other spots around town where I've had Dan Dan but that's not saying much. The other item we're getting if you're dining with me at a Sichuan spot is Dry Chili Fish Filet. It's not always called such but most spots have pieces of crispy fried fish tossed with peppercorn chiles as a menu option. Peppercorns serves theirs with fried green beans as well. The peppercorns are deceiving in that they put so many of them on the plate it takes up much of the space so there's not as much food as there seems. I've never really had a bad rendition of this dish and I'd give this version a B- overall.

 Dry Chili Fish Filet

We also decided to try the stir fried cumin lamb. I thought this was going to be the little individual pieces of fried lamb you eat with toothpicks but I was mistaken. Instead it was little strips of cumin laced lamb stir fried with bell peppers and onion. While not what I envisioned it was still delicious as I love the combo of cumin and lamb and the meat was tender and the veggies crisp. Nice wok work.

Stir Fried Cumin Lamb at Peppercorns Kitchen

Peppercorns Kitchen
620 Davis St #4419
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 563-8461

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