I have been wanting to try out this place for lunch ever since I heard they have dim sum on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I have been nagging hubby for a Friday lunch over there, and he finally gave in. I love dim sum, and while I enjoy the dim sum lunches at Shanghai Lil’s, variety is the spice of life right? And it is always nice to find something a little cheaper. Szechwan Garden is set in what looks like an old family style restaurant—it is quite large. When we got there, there weren’t many people in there and the menu they gave us was not the dim sum menu, so make sure if that is what you go for, that you ask. They brought us one, with pictures and everything. So we ordered the standards for us—the spring rolls, the shrimp dumplings, the sui mai, as well as a few other things—the fried dumplings and the scallion pancake.
Probably our favorite thing was the fried dumplings ($3.95)*—they were sort of like pot stickers in flavor, but the dumpling skin seemed less doughy and had amazing crisped edges. The inside was a pork filling but there were fresh bits of green onion in there as well that kept it from tasting like the filling of every other dumpling. But the skin was what really made it special. They were delicious.
The spring rolls ($2.65) were also quite good (4 come in an order, hubby had already taken one). They were the deep fried type, and filled with your standard cabbage type filling, but the wrapper on the rolls was more like a super thin type crepe—it had a great crisp texture, but with just a tiny bit of sponginess if you know what I mean. They were crazy hot when we first got them, and actually benefited from sitting a bit. We both enjoyed the second one better than the first. But they were also quite good and I liked that the insides weren’t all stringy like some are.
The shrimp dumplings were your standard shrimp dumplings ($3.95)—just the dumpling skin stuffed with shrimp and nothing really else. I always have to have an order of these when I have dim sum, and this time was no exception. They were probably middle of the pack for all the ones I have had. The scallion pancake ($2) was pretty good as well—a nice additional filler thing. I like to balance my steamed things with crunchy items and this served as a good crunchy item. However, this was not a dish that was served well by sitting around at all, so eat this one quickly if you get it. After a bit, it started to lose its crunch. It had a decent amount of scallion flavor.
By far our least favorite thing was the sui mai, ($2.95) or steamed pork dumplings. Honestly, as soon as I saw them, I had my doubts. The pork filling was dense and tough, like a bad meatball. The dumpling that the meat sat in just didn’t seem as fresh as everything else—actually the dish on the whole just didn’t have the freshness that everything else had. It tasted like it could’ve been made a few days ago. I like sui mai that taste like they have some other ingredients in them (they are sometimes made with shrimp as well as the pork) but these dumplings just tasted like pork to me.
All in all, it was a good experience, and I am intrigued to try the regular menu as well. There were several groups of people who came in for lunch and ordered communal dishes that all looked quite tasty. I was really eyeing the sautéed eggplant at the table next door. And I am hoping to get better about trying more places on the west side. There are so many options over there. What other Asian places do you like on that side of town?
3649 Lafayette Road
Indianapolis, IN 46222
*note that I may have reversed a few of the prices-- on my receipt a couple were in English and a couple were in Chinese. I made my best estimate, and the total bill including two drinks was right at $20 if that is helpful.