If this restaurant were a laboratory—and it looks very much like one, with its sterile white-tiled walls and stools for chairs (casually pulled up to counters built into the wall)—the scientists working here would be studying just how much spice the human tongue can take before it explodes. Yes, this is a restaurant for chili heads, and its menu doesn’t lie: “Spicy and tingly beef with hand-ripped noodles,” the house specialty ($6), will make your entire body heat up. This is truly authentic Sichuan food, family recipes of a caliber rarely tasted in the U.S. For those who can’t take the heat, there are less fiery choices that are nearly as delish. Brave the line to get in: It moves quickly.
- Pauline Frommer