SZECHUAN GOURMET RESTAURANT
601 Revell Highway, Annapolis. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 10 p.m. Sundays. Call (410) 757-3115 or (410) 757-3116. Has this ever happened to you? You're on your way to the Eastern Shore, or perhaps heading home from there. You decide to stop for something to eat, and settle -- against your better judgment -- for one of the fast food restaurants on either side of the Bay Bridge. The meal is filling, but otherwise unfulfilling.
Next time, look for the Szechuan Gourmet. The restaurant is tucked away in a factory outlet shopping center about a quarter-mile from the bridge, on the western shore, just off Route 50 East.
Start with an egg roll ($1.10 each). These appetizers are an iffy proposition in many Chinese restaurants, even good ones, but they earn high marks at the Szechuan Gourmet. They are crisp, not greasy, and not too heavy.
My favorite dish is House Chicken ($10.95). Small chunks of chicken are lightly batter-fried and served in a spicy brown sauce seasoned with garlic and red chilies.
Hot and spicy dishes are marked on the menu with stars, but the spiciness of any dish can be customized to your liking -- just ask.
Szechuan Gourmet's menu is extensive, with lamb, seafood, poultry, beef and pork dishes, as well as "Chef's Suggestions" and vegetarian fare. There's also the customary selections of lo mein, chow mein and foo young. Most entrees range in price from about $7 to $10.