Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Szechuan Empire
29215 Five Mile Road, Livonia, MI
(734) 458-7160

Review by Rosie

This is our favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. The problem is that it is WAAAAAY out of the way of our usual travels. We have to make a conscious decision to come here. It's not a "lets stop in on the way home" place. And on this most recent visit, we had to get around road construction to get there. What a pain! Good thing the food is worth it.

The restaurant is in a stand alone building near the corner of two busy roads. Going there during rush hour on Friday night requires extra planning to be able to make a right turn into the parking lot. Approaching from the wrong direction and having to make a left turn would make it nearly impossible.

We managed to arrive just ahead of the evening rush and were seated immediately. The seating consists of booths along the sides of the room and tables in the middle of the room for larger groups. The décor is nothing special, just some vaguely oriental looking framed prints on the wall. There is a rather jarring neon sign across the back of the dining room blaring the name of the place in bright glowing red, but once you get used to it, it just becomes a warm glow in the background.

The waitress came immediately with the menus and a pot of hot tea, which suited me very well. In spite of it being early fall, on this day the hot tea was perfect to take away the slight chill of the damp overcast day.

On our last visit, one of us had ordered our usual hot and sour soup, but the other (me) had ordered egg drop soup. While there is nothing wrong with their egg drop soup, it was just not the thing to deal with that aforementioned chill, so both of us stuck with our favorite. The Hot and Sour soup was both temperature hot and spicy hot, but neither to the point of causing physical damage - besides, I like spicy food!

The dishes offered are no different from any other Chinese restaurant. It's just that for some reason, Szechuan Empire flavors them just so. We argued over who would get to order the General Tso's Chicken since we both love it. It had been recommended by the waitperson who had served me on my first visit while my dinner companion was still in diapers (No doubt I will get smacked for that remark…). I decided to let Junior indulge in General Tso, while I savored Pork with Spicy Ginger and Garlic Sauce.

Naturally, we each sampled from the other's dish and both were piquant without being too spicy. Both were served with bowls of white rice, and while we really love this food, there was so much of it we couldn't finish. The waitress boxed it up for us and we knew we would be eating it again in a couple of hours for a snack. On some occasions, we have even been known to eat it for breakfast the next day. Odd, but true.

The check came on a small tray with fortune cookies and wedges of fresh orange to use as a palette cleanser. The fortunes were the same little gems of wisdom found in every Chinese restaurant, but we never get tired of reading them. The bill came to about $27, not including the tip, for the two of us, but with the leftovers we got two meals for the price of one.

We do have to make a special effort to come here, but it is definitely worth the trouble. I know for a fact that it is less than authentic Chinese cuisine, having tasted the real thing in China Town, but it tastes good and that's what counts.

Disclaimer: The opinions and observations noted are the property of the author. Neither Wookieehut nor any associates makes any claims or lucre from the posting of this report or review. This webpage is presented by Wookieehut.com. Enjoy!