Cheap Eats 2008: Sichuan Village

Why go: For a bracing antidote to beef with broccoli and General Tso’s chicken and the tired Cantonese cooking of too many Chinese restaurants—including what this sprawling restaurant serves in its own daily buffet.

What to get: Spicy potato noodles, soft, almost translucent threads of potato tossed with chopped green onions and Chinese greens atop a pool of hot sauce; Chengdu-style Kung Pao chicken shot through with garlic, ginger, and red pepper; Chengdu pork, tender strips of meat in a broth full of hot pepper and cabbage; excellent ma po tofu, jiggly cubes in an incendiary red-pepper sauce; “ants on a stick,” bits of ground, red-sauced pork that cling to a twirl of cellophane noodles.

Best for: Food adventurers who love to share and pass plates.

Insider tip: The 300-item menu is color-coded: yellow for hot and spicy, orange for incendiary. Look for anything with Chengdu in the description; that’s the capital of Szechuan province, and the talented cooks are most at home in that garlicky, chili-stoked vein.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.