Sunday, July 12, 2009

7 Stars Pepper Restaurant

Today I revisited a Chinese/Szechuan restaurant in the International District called 7 Stars Pepper Restaurant. For all you local Seattle-ites that know of this place, it's located on the second floor of a small plaza near 12th and Jackson. Parking is minimal (at least on ground level), so I usually drive my "land yacht" underground in the dark, dirty, tight parking garage below the plaza. I'm really good with parking, so it's not that bad for me.

Anyway, the restaurant ambiance is typical Chinese (Chinatown-like) decor with Asian artwork and red lanterns and such. It's about a medium-sized restaurant, probably with about 15-20 tables or so. I've been there before when it's been packed, unlike today.

For those that are familiar with this place, it's the hand-shaven noodles that are worth trying. When they first seat you, they serve up the usual ice water, hot tea, and kimchee. Today's meal consisted of hand-shaven noodles with pork, kung pao chicken, beef with broccoli, and garlic eggplant.

The hand-shaven noodles and the garlic eggplant were delicious, especially the eggplant. When the dishes was served up hot, you could automatically see the red peppers that were sauteed in with the eggplant. Incidentally, and as the restaurant name implies, this restaurant likes to use a lot of peppers in their dishes. However, for those that aren't really into spicy foods (I for one am not into spicy foods.....I actually like to enjoy my food and not sweat up a storm while I eat), don't let this turn you away. The dishes aren't really spicy. The way they prepare the dishes with the peppers makes them rather mild to the palate, and the dishes come out tasting delicious.

Anyway, the kung pao chicken and the beef with broccoli were not very high on my list. The chicken wasn't all that tasty to me (didn't taste like chicken much), and the beef in the beef with broccoli dish was "funny" tasting. The beef was a little too undercooked and didn't have much of a meaty taste, like I had hoped. So, I just loaded up on the other dishes, for the most part. More rice, please!

I've only been at this restaurant a couple of times and now I know what to order and what not to order. So, let's rate this restaurant using my 5-doughnut rating system, shall we?:
  • Service, 4 doughnuts= The waiters were attentive and frequently checked to see if water refills were necessary and if anything else was needed, without constantly being annoying.
  • Atmosphere/Location, 2.5 doughnuts= The atmosphere had a typical "Chinatown" restaurant feeling. This one wasn't that spectacular with dull-colored vinyl seats. What was worse was the parking situation. The garage was pretty bad today with a slight water leak problem, resulting in huge puddles everywhere. It's just really tight driving/parking underground.
  • Food Presentation, 4 doughnuts= When the dishes are served up, they actually look really nice, especially with the bright red peppers and the freshly chopped green scallions. Not bad.
  • Cost/Value, 2.5 doughnuts= I thought the dishes really shouldn't cost that much. They were each running close to $10 a dish, which is a bit too much for what they offered. I'd say around $7.50 a dish would be more suitable.
  • Taste, 3 doughnuts= The garlic eggplant and the hand-shaven noodles with pork really made up for the broccoli beef and kung pao dishes.
  • Originality, 2 doughnuts= The only thing original with the restaurant was that they supposedly use a lot more peppers than other Chinese restaurants around. Other than that, the dishes were pretty universal around Chinatown.
  • Overall, 2.5 doughnuts= As I said, I've been here before, and my previous experiences were a bit more enjoyable. Overall, it was alright....just alright. I'm right in the middle there and undecided. You do have to try the hand-shaven noodles and the garlic eggplant though. Superb!

Well, that's about all for that review. Let me know if any of you have tried this restaurant and what you think. Until next time......just eat!


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