Mouthwatering Chicken

Over the Cold Weather? Enjoy a Heat Packed Dinner at Shu Restaurant

With the first snow of the season making a special appearance last night, we knew it was only necessary to feature this heat packed restaurant, and perfect winter weather escape.

Nestled in the corner between A Dong Asian Market and Pho Boston in West Hartford lies the spunky, fiery older sister to Han Hot Pot restaurant, Shu.

Shu is a classic Szechuan (or Sichuan) Chinese “hot” spot.

Sichuan is a province in southeast China, its capital is Chengdu, and it is best known for food that packs an immense amount of heat. While Szechuan Beef or Kung Pao Chicken at your local Chinese takeout may feel underwhelming on a regular basis, real Sichuan food has a completely different look, feel, flavor profile, and set of ingredients.

Shu definitely delivers in authenticity both from its menu and its clientele.

An Elegantly Relaxed Atmosphere

While Han has a lower price point and a more family-style / relaxed vibe, Shu poses as a slightly more elegant restaurant. Not the type of elegance where you need to get all fancy and dress up, but it is a single step above Han in both price point and atmosphere, while still remaining comfortable and relaxed in your dining experience.

A (Heat) Packed Menu

The menu is pretty immense and can be overwhelming for first timers, especially since the dish names are in Chinese. However, if you start with some classic Sichuan dishes, and some of our favorite go-to dishes, your introduction to this delicious cuisine will not disappoint:

Dan Dan Mein
Dan Dan Mein

If you are going to start off with an appetizer, the Dan Dan Mein is always recommended. A noodle dish paired with minced pork, scallions and a spicy sauce, is completely out of this world delicious. To top it off, they mix the noodles and sauce for you table-side, ensuring that every bit of noodle is flavored with the sauce and the pork, so that each bite is equally delicious. This appetizer gets a 2 out of 3 on the Shu spice scale.

Twice Cooked Pork

The name says it all. In its simplest form it is pork belly (basically bacon) cooked twice to give it a nice mix of crunchy and tender, doused in a black bean sauce and paired with leeks and Anaheim peppers, which gives it a nice 1 out of 3 on the Shu spice scale. This is a great first start because of its more mild level of spice. Plus, who doesn’t love pork belly?

Ma La Duck
Ma La Duck and Chongqing Chicken

These two dishes will have you stepping it up a couple of spice notches from the Twice Cooked Pork. Both dishes have a meat (duck or chicken) cut into smaller cubes, cooked as if they were fried (crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside), and completely covered in red chilis.

The first time we ordered Chongqing Chicken, we weren’t quite sure whether or not you were supposed to eat the chilis.

Some people say yes, others say no.

We say… they are delicious, but only as long as you don’t get one with a lot of seeds in them! Choose which ones you eat carefully, because this dish definitely reaches a 3 out of 3 on the Shu spice scale.

Kung Pao Chicken (the authentic version)

Now while the name of this dish sounds familiar, the taste of it will be completely unrecognizable.

This is a far cry from your local takeout Kung Pao Chicken. Once you taste the authentic version, you will never go back to the American-ized way.

Shu’s Kung Pao Chicken has all the similar ingredients that you’re used to in the dish, but with a few exceptions. You’ll still have the chicken, pepper, onion, peanuts and scallion, but the sauce will not be as thick as you’ve experienced otherwise, and will be much more flavorful. This authentic version includes red chilis, and our personal favorite part, Chinese peppercorns.

Chinese peppercorns look like just a normal peppercorn, but the flavor is something we can guarantee you’ve never experienced before.

All we can say is, get ready for a distinct mouth numbing sensation.

This dish is definitely foreign to any other cuisine, and reaches a 2 out of 3 on the Shu spice scale.

Mouthwatering Chicken

Other notable dishes to try:

  • Mouth Watering Chicken (literally translated)
  • Chengdu Dumplings
  • Ma Po Tofu (minced pork included)
  • Napa Beef

So the next time you’re in the mood for something spicy, skip the hot wings and go try out Shu for an authentic, and flavorfully spicy culinary experience (oh, and make sure to order a Tsingtao beer to help with the heat). Cheers!