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Yi Palace (Wilmington DE)
||4435 Concord Pike,|
Wilmington, DE 19803
Reviewed by: Michael Gray
Spring Volume: 2012 Issue: 19(1) page: 24
This restaurant is as good as it gets in Delaware's largest city. It is a Sichuan eatery that opened in 2007 in the Concord Square Shopping Center. We learned it is owned by Shanghai native, Mr. Qu Liwei, and his partner, Ms. Zhong Suying. She hails from Chongqing. They met more than twenty years ago when both worked at another Wilmington Chinese restaurant. Then, Ms. Zhong was the chef and Mr. Qu handled the front of the house. Today, they manage Yi Palace together.
For starters, they thankfully do not offer any dismal, American-Chinese deep fried all-you-can-eat buffet items found in many outlying Chinese restaurants. Instead, their expansive menu is six pages long and includes Chef's Specials such as Chinese Cabbage with Chestnuts, Braised Frog Legs, and Diced Rabbit with Black Bean Sauce.
Yi Palace offers more than forty lunch specials, all around $6.50 and available every Monday through Thursday until two. From two in the afternoon to eight in the evening, one can enjoy Sichuan Hot Pot here. Alcohol is served at all times as they have a full beer, wine, and cocktail list.
Over the course of several visits, the best dishes enjoyed to date include: Quick Fried Cucumbers served cold with lots of garlic and dried red chili peppers. These are excellent!
Another winner is Fried Tofu, probably dipped in cornstarch before deep-frying. This equally excellent piquant appetizer helps balance the heat as its crispy exterior surrounds a silken interior.
Chinese Bacon with Hot Pepper, a house special, is delicious. Made with sliced bacon, which the Chinese call belly pork, it comes with lots of red and green peppers, onions, and scallions, and hot peppers, too.
Shredded Duck with Ginger is very lightly prepared, its shredded duck pieces stir-fried with celery, scallions and bell peppers, and a hint of oil. The Hot and Sour Mung Beans are better than we expect; they use ground mung bean flour made into cellophane noodles served in a mildly spiced chili sauce with peanuts. They garnish these with a few greens
Shredded Potatoes with Vinegar, a classic Sichuan dish, is only a fair rendition because it needs more vinegar. The Mongolian Beef, though simply prepared with onions and scallions, arrives piping hot, super, and savory.
For those living in Newark, also in Delaware, Mr. Qu and Ms. Zhong are planning to open a second Yi Palace. By the time you read this, they may already have. Keep your eyes open to see if it is already a reality, and try it out, as well.