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“Not my best visit ever, but ...”
Review of Sichuan Fusion

Sichuan Fusion
Ranked #8 of 130 Restaurants in Richmond
Restaurant details
Reviewed 13 June 2017

I have been to Sichuan Fusion many times, and it is one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in the East Bay. There are several things that I have enjoyed about my prior visits. The kitchen is not afraid to make the food spicy, and I happen to enjoy the food prepared that way. The prices may seem high, but the portions are quite substantial. Even on occasions when my wife and I have arrived very hungry, we have always left with enough leftovers that we have gotten at least one more full meal out of our purchase. When you factor this in, the value is quite good. Service is competent, but varies a bit. The clientele is primarily Chinese, and I consider this to be a good sign.

During our most recent visit, we ordered some dishes we had enjoyed previously, and some new items. The twice-fried green beans and the mapo tofu were both good. I had ordered the mapo tofu spicy; it was instead relatively mild. The green beans have also been better during some prior visits. We tried the pork spareribs with garlic sauce. The dish had more of a sweet-sour character. Certainly the garlic was not prominent. Neither of us particularly cared for the dish. I also ordered a pork noodle dish with handmade noodles. I did not think the noodles were “special”, and instead a bit thick and chewy, and it was light on pork. It is a dish I probably would not reorder. I hope my experience was an aberration, and is not a sign that they are lightening up on the spice level. I have no issue with being asked if I want it spicy, but if I do, I want it to be spicy. The dishes seemed a bit subdued.

I have heard that there are two chefs, one of whom is excellent and the other is not as talented. I don’t know if this is the case, but I think the observations are consistent with that assumption. So in that spirit, if you are trying the place for the first time, you might be better served to go closer to the weekend and in the evening rather than for lunch. The prior reviews I have submitted will list some of the dishes we have enjoyed in the past. I will continue to visit this restaurant, and give it a rather generous rating because of the many excellent meals I have had in the past. I would just watch to see if there is a negative trend in the reviews. I’m hoping I just caught them on a less than stellar day.

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Thank Andreas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 7 of 17 reviews

Reviewed 12 March 2017 via mobile

This authentic spicy based Chinese cuisine is excellent if you are into the hot spicy. We had the fish, tofu, beans, and chives patty. All of the dishes has its own spicy characteristics. Ask for extra rice and napkin. You will sweat, you will eat more and you will be satisfied with spicy hot delicious.

Thank Chia Li C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2016

Although there are many Chinese restaurants in Berkeley, the ones that I have gone to, including some of the top-rated ones have left me a bit disappointed. Dalian is my current favorite amongst the Berkeley Chinese restaurants. When I was out at the Pacific Mall, and looked at the menu for Sichuan Fusion, I decided to give it a try. That was well over a year ago. I have been back multiple times since then. That alone should tell you I like it.

If you read my prior review, you will understand why I would discourage you from ordering the lunch specials. Perhaps I just caught them on a bad day, but I have subsequently ordered entirely off the regular menu, and have found that to be a much more satisfying experience. There is one dish that I always order. Sometimes I even get two orders, one to eat at the restaurant and the second to take home. That dish is ma po tofu. I am not a vegetarian or vegan, but I am fond of tofu in many forms, and I like the version of ma po tofu at Sichuan Fusion the most of any that I have had locally. You can taste the Szechuan peppercorn that is in it, and dou ban jiang is also evident. I happen to like spicy food, and a few minutes after you start eating this you feel warm all over. We have tried the tea-smoked duck, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The skin is nice and crisp, and the fat fully rendered. Both the twice-fried green beans and the eggplant dishes are good, but not as spicy as they could be. We recently had a stir-fried dish that came loaded with 40-50 chili peppers, and can be ordered with either lamb or beef. I believe it was Uygur-style beef/lamb. In the beef version that we had, the thinly sliced meat was almost crunchy, and there was a cumin flavor in the dish. I thought it was very tasty, had a nice level of heat, and I would love to try the lamb version in the future. Perhaps the only stir-fried beef dish that we were unenthused by is one of their specials that has corn in it. Look at the pictures in the menu for the proper name; it was the only dish that I remember having corn in it. I would have thought that fresh corn would have been used, but it used canned corn instead. Overall, I think there is an incredible variety to choose from, and each time we have gone there has been at least one standout dish beyond the ma po tofu. I look forward to each visit and finding something new that I really enjoy. Each time I have dined there, I have been one of the few non-Asian guests. I consider this a very positive sign. Each time I have dined there the portions have been very generous, and we always leave with enough leftovers for at least another meal. The restaurant scores high on value in my book. It seems like a great place to take a large group.

It is a probably a good thing that this restaurant is a drive away from my house. If it were closer by and/or within walking distance I suspect I would be eating here more often I really should and missing out on trying other new restaurants in the area. If you are looking for a break from Chinese food with toned down seasonings, then give Sichuan Fusion a try. Although you can choose dishes that are mild, I would encourage you to live dangerously, and feel the burn.

    • Value
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Thank Andreas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2016

After shopping for flooring, and spending way too much, we needed a little something in the middle of the afternoon. So we changed to the east side of the freeway and hit East Pacific mall. Way in the back, past almost everything else, is this quiet, authentic respite. So authentic the staff was prepping the green beans for the dry-fried green bean dish.
We had the onion pancake, spicy won-tons in broth (both excellent) and the crispy sesame pancake (OK, but a little doughy and not crispy ) - but good flavor.
I look forward to bringing a larger group, and coming back to sample the entrees as well as the apps. Recommend that you give this place a try.
Parking always takes alittle effort, but the food and prices make it worthwhile.

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Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2016 via mobile

Sichuan Fusion is located in the Pacific East Mall. It has been a favorite for years and now it's time to let the world in on it. Stay away from the non-sechuan dishes. Not that they're bad, but we've had some surprises in the past. What you get is not what you're expecting. Prices aren't budget, but the portions are large. My absolute favourite is the eggplant with garlic sauce, and my friend's favourite is the dry fried green beans. We have our stand bys, but try to get one new item each time. We haven't been disappointed yet. We often get carried away and order too much, but hey, Chinese food is just as good the next day.

Thank Mitsuo F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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