The well-known Chinese language restaurant Lao Sze Chuan opens its first location close to Houston in Katy

Lao Sze Chuan, Chicago’s most famous Chinese restaurant, has just arrived in Houston.

With the takeover of the site at 510 Mason Road, Suite H, in Katy, which was formerly occupied by Duck N Bao, the Sichuan specialist quietly opened its doors to the public a few weeks ago and continued to train its staff. Founded in 1998 by chef Tony Hu, Lao Sze Chuan, which means “old Sichuan”, has been considered one of Chicago’s best Chinese restaurants for nearly two decades. In 2014 Travel + Leisure magazine named it the number one Chinese restaurant in America. It has been on Chicago’s best restaurant lists for many years and has earned the Michelin Bib Gourmand award.

With multiple locations in the greater Chicago area, Lao Sze Chuan has expanded its presence to include additional locations in Illinois, Minnesota, and Connecticut. “We will be opening ten more locations in the next few years,” Jack Deng, General Manager of Lao Sze Chuan Katy, told Eater. Local businessman Xiaowei Liu is behind the expansion in Texas.

“We plan to open in Dallas and Austin next year, with three more locations in Houston,” said Darren Ren, another company representative. A location in Montrose at 3407 Montrose Boulevard is currently under construction, but construction and other delays related to COVID-19 have made it difficult to predict an exact opening date.

As for the menu, “About 70 percent of it is the same as in Chicago,” says Deng. In addition to popular Sichuan specialties such as Chef’s Special Dry Chili Chicken, Mapo tofu and dry roasted green beans from Chengdu, a section of the menu is dedicated to the Lao Sze Chuan “classics”. The classics are divided into series: Tender Tofu Series, Green Peppercorn Series, Lalala Spicy Pot Series, House Made Sour Pickle Chili Series and Salted Egg Paste Series.

And that’s not all: just behind the entrance is a small exhibition-style carving station dedicated to the oven-roasted Peking duck. According to Deng, the dish is so popular that diners should plan to call ahead and reserve the duck, especially on weekends. A small part of the menu is dedicated to handmade dim sum classics, of which the juiciest soup dumplings or Xiao Long Bao are the most popular.

The restaurant’s design is contemporary, with large-format screen prints in a neutral taupe palette set against bright red tablecloths and bright red bench seats. There are round tables for groups of eight to ten people as well as a cabin section with four to six seats.

Lao Sze Chuan is now open in Katy from 11am to 10pm, seven days a week.

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