After a decent first meal at Spicy House, we thought the place showed some promise. So we decided to try out a few more dishes. The new banner attempts to clarify what's going on here.....
Since I love Cumin Lamb it was only natural that we order it on our next visit to Spicy House.
The Cumin Lamb ($10.99) here is reminiscent in fragrance, flavor, and texture to what was served at Dede's, which was our favorite dish there. I do think it was perhaps a little on the dry side, and lacking the amount of cumin powder I enjoy(which some palates may deem a bit excessive), but it was serviceable. The amount of cilantro in the dish was perfect in relationship to the lamb. I also think the lamb lacked that wild barnyard flavor that I really enjoy. In fact, when I took the leftovers to work, I let one of my coworkers sample it, and she thought it was beef.
The Preserved Meat with Dry Bamboo ($9.99), was not quite as good.
We had been wondering what kind of "La Rou" ("wax meat") was going to be used in the dish. Would it be the wonderful Hunan style Smoked Pork like the version at Hunan Seafood? Or the more tame Sichuan style La Rou, often used in Twice Cooked Pork. The answer was the latter; and it wasn't a very good rendition of La Rou either. It was really pretty bland...... the whole dish was like something I could throw together at home.
The Missus was excited about the Hunan style Stinky Tofu ($7.99), until it arrived at our table.
As soon as the dish arrived the Missus asked me, "what makes this Hunan?" I had no answer, and neither did the very mellow tasting, barely fermented tasting fried tofu. The insipid sauce gave us no clue either. The Missus always claims that if I can tolerate the stinky tofu, it can't be any good. So far places that the Missus either likes (Shau Mei), or thinks is passable (Dynasty Plaza) have proven Her right. And on our visit to Hangzhou we had a Stinky Tofu Hot Pot that was one of the smelliest things I've ever seen placed on a table top, which the Missus thought was ambrosia, and I thought tasted what it smelled like; sewage, has confirmed that theory. Let's just say this was very disappointing.
We left wondering....... were we just lucky on our first visit? Or perhaps very unlucky on this one? We decided another visit was in order......
Having had a decent lamb dish on our previous visit, and seeing that what we had was sorely in need of spice the last time around, we ordered the Hunan Sauteed Lamb ($10.99):
We also ordered the Fries Shrimp with Hot Pepper ($11.99).
Mentally, I was envisioning something like the Hot Pepper Prawns at Ba Ren. Instead we got a gloppy, overly sweet dish that was something like "General Tso's Shrimp". In terms of flavor, this dish was way out of balance..... The portion size for this dish was pretty small.
The last dish we ordered was the Twice Cooked Fish ($10.99):
This is basically the fish filet version of the Eel dish we had on our previous visit. It does contain some Sichuan Peppercorn, and is probably the spiciest of all the dishes we've had at Spicy House. The batter is crisp, and the flavor pretty good, though I thought there needed to be perhaps a bit of either sweetness, or perhaps an acidic element to balance out the dish. Both the Missus and I felt there was something missing. Like the Eel, the portion size is pretty large. I mentioned the disproportion in, well portions to the Missus. Some dishes, like the shrimp, are pretty small, while other dishes are humongous..... this could cause problems when ordering from a group. You'll have too much of one thing, and not enough of another. I'd prefer having dishes that are about equal in portion, and prices could be adjusted to reflect those changes. Add a buck for shrimp, and give folks more shrimp in your shrimp dishes. Subtract a buck on your fish, and adjust the portion likewise. Again, the word "balance" or lack thereof comes to mind.
During these two visits, it seems that Spicy House is still reluctant to turn on the A/C, and it can get pretty hot. The service is fairly good, as are the prices.
3860 Convoy Street #105
San Diego, CA 92111