Chengdu Gourmet Review – Authentic Sichuan Cuisine

Published by Angie. Last Updated on February 8, 2024.

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Chengdu Gourmet is a much-lauded Chinese restaurant specializing in Szechuan cuisine, with two locations in Squirrel Hill and McKnight Road. With James Beard nominee Wei Zhu at the helm, you really can't go wrong with anything on the traditional Szechuan menu here. Just be sure to dine with lots of friends or family, as the portions are family style – the best way to experience the restaurant is to order lots of food and share.

Chengdu Gourmet has captured the hearts and stomachs of many a Pittsburgher over the past decade with their Squirrel Hill location. We are excited for the newer McKnight Road location as it makes shopping trips infinitely more enjoyable knowing that there is delicious Szechuan food waiting for us once we complete our errands.

Although we have been to the Squirrel Hill location before, we visited with just the two of us and it was hard to fully appreciate the restaurant. Fast forward to the McKnight Road location opening, where we've visited with friends and have a much greater appreciation and understanding of the delicious food that is being served here.

Go for Authentic Sichuan at Chengdu Gourmet

Sake at Chengdu Gourmet

You'll be presented with two menus here, an Americanized Chinese menu and the traditional Szechuan menu. For the love of everything, please just toss the American Chinese menu aside and focus on the Szechuan menu.

It can be somewhat intimidating flipping through the massive Szechuan menu if you're not super familiar with the cuisine, but it has photos of every dish to help you understand what you're getting into.

Scallion Pancake at Chengdu 2

We started with a scallion pancake on our most recent visit. It wasn't crisp but a bit gummy and chewy. While it had good flavor, the texture and the lack of scallions made us want more- the only miss of our entire meal.

We proceeded to order in true family style fashion, with monster plates of Chongqing chicken, Mapo Tofu, and tea smoked duck- all of which more than made up for it.

Congqing Chicken

The Chongqing chicken was lightly fried and so crispy, with a light texture unlike any other fried chicken we've had before. The massive amount of dried peppers mixed in added a fantastic aroma to the dish (don't eat the peppers, though, unless you're crazy into spice!).

As a bonus, the portion size of this dish was massive and is a perfect reminder of why authentic Chinese food is best served family style- it is a huge plate!

Mapo Tofu

The Mapo Tofu was another revelation, with smooth, creamy tofu covered in a rich, spicy, numbing sauce complete with chilis and Szechuan peppercorns. We love that the dish had ground pork in it as well for extra fat and flavor. The Szechuan peppercorns really helped numb our tongues – it was only after they began to wear off that we realized how fiery the dish was. This dish is a true delight!

Tea Smoked Duck

Finally, the tea smoked duck may have been our favorite of the night. The duck skin was insanely crispy, while the meat itself was rich and tender; the whole dish was infused with a smokey, umami flavor. This one offered a nice balance to the more intense and spicy dishes we paired along side it.

We also tried some sake on our visit, which was served warm and helped cut some of the spiciness of our meal. Even if you do not get sake, plan your drinks accordingly to accommodate the spicy dishes!

Chengdu Gourmet is a true Pittsburgh gem, serving up well-executed Szechuan specialties that are hard to find anywhere else. The one commandment of dining here is to please, please, go with lots of friends and order more food than you think reasonable. Family style is the only way to truly appreciate the flavors and culinary magic going on here!

Chengdu Gourmet is located at 5840 Forward Avenue in Squirrel Hill and has a second location at 4768 McKnight Road. We visited the McKnight Road location for this review.

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