You can call me late to the party....I know that Seven Stars Pepper is under new Ownership, but since we were here, I thought what the heck. Also, I'd been told that one of the not-to-miss dishes (still) was the Sichuan Crab at Seven Stars. The restaurant is located on the second floor of a strip mall on the corner of 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street that would not look out of place in Monterey Park or Alhambra.
In fact from the graffiti to the dried out pieces of gum on the sidewalk, to the loud and slow elevator that took us to the second floor....this almost had San Gabriel Valley written all over it.
The interior consisted of faux laminated plywood siding and weaved mats, going for the Asian feel. I had even considered the possibility that the tables would be a "San Gabriel Sticky", but they were in fact spotless glass topped tables.
We started with the Fuqi Feipian($4.75):
Instead of the usual cold appetizer table, everything here was off the menu. Fuqi Feipian, the "Husband and Wife" dish is probably my favorite Sichuan appetizer, usually a combination of thinly sliced brisket or shank, and tendon or tripe drizzled with chili oil, sichuan peppercorns, crushed peanuts, chinese celery, scallions, and sesame seeds, or a combination thereof. This version left me less than satisfied; first off the lack of peppercorns eliminated the wonderfully addictive numbing heat. This version used too much vinegar, which my Father In Law and I didn't care for. The Missus and Her Mother enjoyed the flavor, since it was pretty close to the Beijing-style Sichuan flavors they enjoy.
The Chong Gin Hot Chicken (Chongqing La Zi Ji - $10.75):
Another go to dish that I usually enjoy. In this version, the cubes of chicken were deep fried to a perfect crunchiness. Again I lamented the lack of Sichuan Peppercorns, making the heat(which wasn't very hot) one dimensional. In addition, the "hot sauce" used had an interesting vinegar kick, that the Missus and I kept trying to put our finger on......until it came to me. It almost tasted like Frank's Louisiana Hot Sauce! In other words like Chongqing style buffalo chicken cubes with chilies....... It sure was a long way from Chung King in Monterey Park.
Not really a Sichuan dish, but I really enjoy the combination of lamb and cumin. I've been told that this is originally a Xinjiang style dish. The Missus has told me of street vendors selling skewers of grilled lamb with cumin in Qingdao where She grew up. I enjoyed this dish, though not quite as much as the Dry Fried Cumin Lamb from Dede's back in San Diego, as it was a bit on the oily side. Still, the nutty cumin flavor, along with a slight chili kick provided by the dried chilies, along with wild flavor of the lamb was nice. One thing I noticed is that the Chef doesn't "scald" his dried chilies, which would make the dishes much more fragrant and release much more of the chili flavor.
The Sichuan Prawns ($12.95):
Much like the chicken, these nice sized prawns were cooked perfectly... the meat moist, with a nice firm texture, the shells crisp, with a nice dusting of corn starch, but not hard. Again, these were not particularly spicy, but this allowed the sweet flavor flavor of the prawns to come through.
Overall, a decent, but not exceptional meal at Seven Stars Pepper. Too bad about the lack of crab. The service was very nice and accommodating, if a bit on the slow side. Perhaps on our next trip, we'll be able to check out Szechuan Chef, the restaurant run by the former owners of Seven Stars Pepper in Bellevue, or another restaurant recommended by one of the bellmen at the hotel, Yea's Wok.
Seven Stars Pepper Szechuan Restaurant
1207 S. Jackson St. Suite 211
Seattle, WA 98144
Open Daily: 11am - 1030pm
Oh yes, special thanks to Tohta for a nice list of recommendations for our next trip up to PNW!