Best Chinese

Szechuan Gourmet

For almost 40 years, the FDA banned the import of authentic Sichuan peppercorns. We suggest you make up for lost time by eating at Szechuan Gourmet. The real-deal peppercorn adds spice, sure, but it’s more about that thrum of electricity that tingles on the tongue. A mainstay of the cuisine, these peppercorns pop up in every other dish at this restaurant in Cleveland’s Asiatown neighborhood. Get a taste of real Szechuan cookery in dishes like cold cucumbers with chile and vinegar, ma po tofu with ground pork, and fiery dry pot dishes overflowing with meat and vege. For tamer palates, there are lovely noodle soups and more conservative Cantonese classics like kung po chicken and shrimp with broccoli.

1735 East 36th St., 216-881-9688.