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.