Whenever Shaun (Chinese food hater) is out of town, we all take advantage and have a big Chinese meal out in Flushing. Our latest outing to the beloved Sichuan spot, Little Pepper began more adventurous than most. As we were paying the muni meter we were told by a wobbly eyed crazy woman “This is a bad neighborhood. For real. Don’t be here after dark. The casinos. These people will chop you up and you’ll be eaten!'”. I’ve never been told I’d be eaten before, but as you can tell, we manged to survive the night just fine.
If anything was going to kill us it was the intensely wild heat that came with our meal. If you think spicy can’t touch you, if you scoff at the little red pepper on most menus that denote heat, head over to this tiny basement restaurant stat. The Diced Chicken with Chili Peppers, ChonQuin Style and the fragrant Lamb with Spicy Sauce (Cumin) made us all sweat and even at one point literally steamed up Jim’s glasses. Most importantly though, they were delicious, no flavor or complexity was covered or lost in the heat and the meal was impressively ungreasy. Even Jim, who jokes that salt is sometimes too spicy for him couldn’t stop eating because it was so good.
Accompanying the mains, we got the wonderful Spicy Sichuan Cold Noodles (much like a Dan Dan Noodle sans meat), the refreshing Cucumbers with Mashed Garlic, and the Steamed Pork Dumplings in spicy sauce. All excellent. And in addition to the great food, the place is extremely welcoming despite language barriers and we felt comfortable taking our time and making ourselves at home with the hospitable and kind staff. Just look for the smiling Red Pepper on a yellow awning for Sichuan food to rival close by favorite Spicy and Tasty. Just be sure to brace yourself for serious spice and make sure cannibals don’t get you on the walk back to the car.