We’ve heard the “best product, lowest price” advertising line before. So much so that we ignore it like an obnoxious car alarm. Ironically, a restaurant in town that could actually deliver on that claim, doesn’t. Instead, it runs on reviews and reputation.
I visited that restaurant, Szechwan Garden, located at 3649 Lafayette Road, because I wanted to see if the glowing accolades from foodies and publications like Indianapolis Monthly or The Indianapolis Star were all correct.
There are two, shall-be-unnamed-all-you-can eat Asian food buffets near Szechwan Garden that represent a lot of what’s wrong about American food and nutritional priorities. But Szechwan Garden gets it right by putting quality ahead of quantity. Authentic Chinese food in the $11-30 price range.
Two things grabbed my attention before they even delivered the hot and tasty Chicken Lo Mein I ordered. First, of the 15 or so people in the restaurant, I was the only non-Asian. That’s a good sign.
Second, they also have eels. In a tank. That’s worth the trip alone. I can’t tell you how many times a lobster tank or an aquarium kept my children entertained when they were younger.
My experience, even outside of the culinary excursion, was a good one. The restaurant was clean and tastefully decorated. It is large enough to accommodate the department lunch outing, but also intimate enough to take a date. The service was excellent. My first waiter did not speak English, and while I was happy to get my point across by pointing at the menu, an English-speaking waiter was sent to take care of my order.
I’m told that Szechwan Garden rolls out fresh dim sum on a cart during lunch hour and on the weekends. That alone will have me returning for another visit. Previous reviewers have raved about the pan-fried dishes such as the green chive cake and the stuffed eggplant.
Given its location just south of 38th Street and Lafayette Road, Szechwan Garden might be a place that is easy to overlook. Don’t make that mistake.