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Posted by M on 07/21/2012
This restaurant has been one of my favorites for years -- try the Crispy Spicy Shrimp, a delicious traditional dish of perfectly cooked fresh shrimp in a light lemon mayonnaise sauce (ask for chilis to go with). Eggplant similarly amazing. Everything is delicious but don't go in expecting to get an Americanized Chinese standby. If you're not accustomed to more traditional dishes, go out on a limb and try something new. Odds are you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you've been missing, and glad you had it here. But on weekends, be prepared for a wait in the courtyard - this is a very popular place, and deservedly so.
Posted by Food Critic on 03/26/2011
Seriously, don't post anything if you don't know anything about what traditional Chinese food is all about. This includes the ABCs who grew up on McDonald's and Domino's. I can say this one thing, Lao Sze Chuan is not a place for you to come to get Shrimp with Lobster sauce, General's Chicken, or Egg Fu Young type of "fusion" Chinese food, because no such dishes exists in China because they are basically garbage Chinese food made up to serve Americans with no taste for the real thing. So if you know what real Chinese food is, you will appreciate what Lao Sze Chuan has to offer. They use the good and fresh ingredients and follow the traditional recipes quite closely. Pretty much all of the spicy dishes are good (if you like it spicy), otherwise you are better off in other places, seriously. Again, please don't post anything just because you spent a few years having "Chinese" food take outs, wherever you are from. If you have been to China and tasted the food, then you have the right to criticize.
Posted by cdjblue on 06/05/2010
I had lunch there and was excited because of the positive things that I've heard. I asked the waitress for a recommendation...she didn't understand English and offered little help. I decided to order my old stand by...shrimp with lobster sauce. I also ordered egg drop soup, which I thought was pretty good....very flavorful. The shrimp with lobster sauce had canned peas and carrots, canned mushrooms and canned water chestnuts. I complained and was offered something different. I asked for fried shrimp and spring rolls. The owner, "chef" came over and explained that szechuan cuisine doesn't use fresh vegetables, that they always use canned vegetables!! I looked at the website, where they boast on their use of fresh vegetables. He went on to say that noone uses fresh vegetables in szechuan recipes, only in cantonese. I was amazed that he would insult me by telling me such nonsense. I told him that I had eaten Chinese food many, many times and that what he said didn't make any sense. At about that time, the check was brought, no other food was ever brought to the table. I paid my tab and left very unhappy. I will never eat at any of the restaurants in this group again!!
Posted by dannydig on 05/29/2007
Lao is a classic in chinatown, although it may take a few trips to find your dish. The enormous menu inevitably will leave someone at the table unhappy with their choice. Good thing the portions are big. The eggplant (i think the one with garlic) and the spicy greenbeans are great. The hot and sour soup is worth the trip by itself. I often get an extra to take home. No doubt the service is a mess and if you go later in the week there will be a wait. Make sure you get a ticket if they're giving them out and don't be afraid to speak up if you want a table. Recently, they've been out of beer - some people I've seen have been bringing their own.
Posted by Anonymous on 08/25/2006
An excellent spot for a weekend lunch in Chinatown. What it lacks in decor, it makes up for with its massive menu full of family style dishes. I definitely recommend Tony's Three Chili Chicken, a lightly breaded spicy chicken dish.
Posted by Anonymous on 08/06/2006
My husband and I are from the east coast (Philly and NYC), so we're a bunch of snobs when it comes to ethnic cuisine. We moved here over a month ago and have since tried places in search of good food. We've been to another that claims to be the "Best Chinese Restuarant in Chicago," but it's safe to say that Lao Sze is probably the best we've tasted so far. If you're a fan of hot and sour soup, this place does it the most justice...just the right amount of heat and sourness. My favorite dish--the spicy crispy eggplant with pork. Overall, truly Szchuan style--ie. spicy!
Posted by critical mass on 05/25/2006
Hands down, the best Chinese cuisine I have experienced in Chicago, San Francisco, or New York. The setting and decor are plain, but once the your food begins coming out of the kitchen, brace your tastebuds. This place has spoiled me for all other Chinese restaurants. Do I personally want to eat pork intestine with pork blood cake? Maybe not, but I like to know it's there if I want it!