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Chengdu Impression, a new Sichuan restaurant, opens in Arcadia

Chengdu Impression, not to be confused with either of the popular San Gabriel Valley Sichuan restaurants Chengdu Taste or Szechuan Impression, is set to open in Arcadia on Saturday.

The new Sichuan restaurant, based in Chengdu, China, chose Arcadia for its U.S. debut because of its proximity to the newest generation of mainland Chinese immigrants as well as its convenient parking and a breathtaking view of the San Gabriel Mountains from a pre-existing patio.

Carmen Peng, one of the chain’s managing partners in the U.S., says the goal of her group is to bring the “relaxed modern lifestyle and culture of Chengdu” to America.

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The opening menu features an elaborate 11-course, $45 tasting menu, accompanied by a brief list of Chengdu favorites. Instead of fiercely spicy and numbing mala dishes, there are sweet potato starch noodles with intestine; Sichuan flatbreads (like the kind found all over the famous Wide Narrow Alley gastronomy street of Chengdu); mapo tofu topped with dried beef; stir fried pork with shishito peppers; and mochi balls in tea broth.

With 37 overseas restaurant branches under its umbrella group, Chengdu Impression brought three Sichuan chefs from China.

The interior of the 6,700-square-foot restaurant includes a two-story skylight and signed prints from six Chengdu modern artists. Extra lengthy bamboo chopsticks, each with a note denoting the proper grip, and calligraphy paper place mats were imported from Chengdu along with the restaurant’s collection of ceramics.

Upstairs, with its covered patio and staging for gaiwan cha (a Ming-dynasty traditional tea brewing method), will serve as a gathering space for tea lovers in between lunch and dinner. The restaurant also plans to host tea-brewing classes featuring Sichuan tea leaves.

21 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia.

food@latimes.com


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