Taste of China
233 East Main St.
Clinton, CT 06413
lunch specials available M-F until 1500
There could be a set of restaurant listings composed entirely of places my parents recommended. Most of them would be Chinese, but all of them would be excellent. This would be one of them.
Taste of China's Chinese name is a much more accurate description of the place. The head chef specializes in the famous fiery cuisine of the inland Chinese province of Sichuan (or Szechuan). And he does an excellent job.
The four of us shared six dishes. Dan Dan Noodles ($3.95) weren't as hot as some, but nonetheless quite flavorful, if a bit small. It went up from there, though: the beef noodle bowl (4.95) was large and spicy. The chunks of beef had clearly been marinated, because they carried the flavor of the sauce. Dry sauteed string beans (7.95) were tossed with garlic and scallions. Ma po tofu (7.95) was peppery, and deep in spicy sesame oil. Best were: the Chengdu dumplings (4.95), again covered in the hot sesame oil but also sprinkled with sugar, a Sichuan specialty; and the tea smoked duck (11.95), which was juicy, with its skin still crisp. (I'd tried the tea smoked duck as a leftover from one of my parents' previous visits and had not been impressed, but it was obvious now that it had simply not travelled well. You should obviously eat this dish fresh.)
We had plenty to take home.
Service was excellent, possibly because the waiter doesn't get that many Mandarin-speaking parties in Clinton, CT. My parents chatted with him while I translated for bedfull_o_books.