Sign Me Up!


Sign Me Up For:


Our Sponsors

Our Partners



 

Search CT Bites
Kids Bites

11 Places to go Apple Picking in CT...Go pick your own! 

Eating Out

National COFFEE DAY is Sept. 29th. Here are 12 Places to get Great Coffee in Fairfield County. 

Our Sponsors

 

 

Twitter
We Wrote A Book!

« Spring Workshops at Millstone Farm | Main | The Ginger Man Cocktail Naming Contest »
Sunday
Feb052012

Hunan Pavilion: Chinese in Fairfield for 22 Years

I’d been lamenting the lack of good Chinese food in Fairfield County, a complaint I’ve shared with quite a few food lovers here, including a friend who’s a Westport transplant from Singapore. To stop my whining, said friend took me to her family’s favorite Chinese restaurant in Fairfield, Hunan Pavilion. Ever since, I haven’t been deprived of good Chinese nearby, and now neither will you. 

Hunan Pavilion has been in the same Post Road location in Fairfield for 22 years and it’s very good. But to insure a truly exceptional experience, skip over the conventional menu and jump right to the Shanghai Bund Select (or Shanghai New Menu), an edited list of house specialties and an eclectic mix of Shanghai, Szechuan, and Hunan cuisines. Also ask for the menu in Chinese, even if you don’t speak a word of any dialect. The Chinese menu isn’t overly extensive, and if you aren’t shy about it, the staff will patiently translate, and this is where the hidden treasures can be found. 

The food at Hunan Pavilion is the opposite of what bad Chinese food can be: it’s not overly saucy, gloppy, greasy, or even salty. Fried dishes are done especially well. Crispy Chile Chicken (above), crunchy bite sized of breaded chicken tossed with fermented black beans, slivers of fresh ginger and garlic, sesame seeds and fragrant dried hot red chiles, which added both heat and flavor. Spicy Rock Shrimp, actually just large shrimp not the rock variety, were seasoned with salt and black pepper, lightly battered, and sprinkled with fried shallots, crisp and juicy and divine in its simplicity.  

Shanghai Dumplings had a delicate filling of pork, ginger, and scallion and were encased in a silky exterior skin. These were so delicious that our order virtually disappeared almost as quickly as it hit the table. Ants Climbing on a Tree, a classic Szechuan dish of bean thread noodles and ground pork, glassy, slippery noodles were bathed in a perfectly balanced spicy sauce dotted with fresh scallion. 

Snow Cabbage with Pork (above)--more vegetable than meat--was bright and fresh tasting. Shredded cabbage tossed with edamame and slivers of crunchy bamboo shoots in a light white sauce, was a gentler dish, and a welcome compliment to the spicier menu offerings. Shredded Beef Szechuan, tender strips of beef stir fried with crisp shards of celery, julienned carrot, and scallion pieces all mingled with the subtle buzz of Szechuan peppercorns. Wonton Soup, perhaps a more conventional choice, nevertheless had a full bodied broth with wilted baby spinach. Wonton fillings are offered with a choice of shrimp or pork, and either one offer good examples of this Chinese menu staple.

Misses include the Buddhist Delight, a combination of vegetables that would’ve been equally at home in the supermarket frozen food section. Its brown sauce had a strange sweetness that was otherwise flat and nondescript. Lamb with Cumin, a drier stir fry with onion and white mushrooms, had promise. And though the lamb was nicely cooked, there was a heavy hand with the cumin which tasted raw and coated the dish with an unpleasant grittiness. I’ve rarely met a noodle I didn’t like, but my heart sank when the Zhajiang Noodles (also called Peking Dan Dan Noodles) arrived. Drenched in an unappetizingly thick sauce with peas and tofu, it was virtually flavorless. 

Navigating through the menus at Hunan Pavilion is key to a happy experience here. If you steer away from the conventional and try your hand at some of the more creative and authentic offerings, it can be a welcome and sometimes revelatory experience, especially if you’ve been craving some truly good Chinese food closer to home.   

Hunan Pavilion

80 Post Road, at corner of Grasmere and Post Road

Fairfield, CT

203-254-3444

203-259-9811

Free Delivery to Fairfield, Southport, and select areas of Easton and Westport nearer to Southport.

Hunan Pavilion on Urbanspoon

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: A.J. Hawk Jersey
    Remarkable Nfl Jerseys - Cheapest Price tag On Line
  • Response
    NFL is really a single of the largest sports in America. It has a main following.

Reader Comments (9)

Thanks for taking us to an oldie but goody. I have been in Westport for 23 years and never knew about Hunan Pavilion. Wondering how their straight up veg dishes are and what your opinion is on their handling of bean curd?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Rueven

You gave away our secret! We are so relieved to have found this place. While it isn't the Szechuan place in Orange, it's quite good for American Chinese, and there are a few dishes that are extremely satisfying from both the Chinese-American and more authentic items on the menu.

Chinese-American:
- Their egg rolls are just what I want an egg roll to be - extremely crispy even when delivered, filled with bits of barbecued pork and cabbage shreds.
- Beef Chow Fun - now and again the noodles are a little overcooked, but when they're not, this dish has good "wok hei," the "breath of the wok" that gives some Chinese food a smoky taste.
- Singapore Mei Fun - not on the menu, but they're happy to make it and it's the best version I've had locally: slightly spicy with curry powder, angel-hair rice noodles perfectly cooked, and lots of bits of chicken, egg, and shrimp.

Also, their steamed dishes are very fresh, never overcooked, and you can ask for any sauce on the side.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTravels4Food

I have eaten at this restaurant and was not impressed. We had just moved to town and drove by this place and thought we would try it. The staff was pleasant enough, though.

My wife is Chinese, so our standards are pretty high. However, we both felt this restaurant was really subpar and have not been back since. I seem to recall it being overpriced as well.

We like authentic Chinese food and she will even like some "American Chinese food" places, but this place was not up to snuff. The newly opened "Mandarin" on Black Rock Trunpike is much better. Mandarin is also much cheaper and is just a takeout place, but everything is fresh and not heavy like a lot of local restaurants.

Perhaps we caught Hunan Pavillion on a bad day, but we have never considered patronizing this restaurant again.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStratfield Resident

Funny,

I just went there, last week, for the first time in years, and now your review. We ordered exclusively from the Shanghai section of the menu, like you mentioned. Almost everything was great: chive pockets, roasted mushrooms, pork with special been noodles. Egg drop with tomatoes soup was not; tomatoes added nothing.

Service was lacking; waiter didn't speak English very well, which is not unusual, but not friendly, seemed to be on a rush to leave, as it was end of the night.

Owner/chef was friendly. He asked how we liked the chive pockets, and explained that he discovered them on a recent trip to Taiwan.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersupermansid

Make sure you get the coupons off of their website before you go. I wish I had

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersupermansid

just realized the coupons are expired, sorry.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersupermansid

I am a student from China and this has been the only place we like to eat after our evening classes. Every thing on the Shanghai menu tastes devious, just like how you will find it in a good local restaurant in China. Plus the place is very clean and people there are very friendly. If you like the authentic version of good and fresh Chinese food, give it try at this restaurant. Ask for some recommendations if you are not sure what to pick. All dishes we saw on the menu were reasonably priced.

February 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMingMing

I'm pretty sure the person who wrote about Mandarin on this thread is a part-owner or family member: we ordered from there based on their comment, and it was abysmal. The worst qualities of American Chinese food abounded: dishes drowning in corn-starchy gloppy sauces, flavors that were either way too sweet and intense or completely bland - no finesse or delicateness anywhere. We would never order from Mandarin again.

From Hunan Pavilion, however, we've found a few more winning dishes: their mushrooms and tofu from the vegetarian section of the menu is outstanding - flavored with star anise, the meaty mushrooms are an addictive contrast to the silky braised tofu. Also, their General Tso's is highly flavorful and has an excellent bite to it, though none of the broccoli I'm accustomed to seeing in the dish - it was all chicken, all the time.

June 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTravels4Food

Don't label someone as a shill just because they have a differing opinion from you. Having tried both Mandarin and Hunan Pavillion several times each, I find Mandarin to be far superior. I have not had a single dish that was gloppy. Everything has had clear, distinct flavors and quality has been very good.

June 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>