By Kat Vakhromeeva, Contributing Writer
Photo by Kat Vakhromeeva/ The Towerlight
The Red Pepper Sichuan Bistro held its grand opening on Aug. 26. Since then, the restaurant has seen regular customers and reviews expressing the authenticity of their dishes rating a 4.6 on Google Reviews and a 4.5 on Yelp.
Walking into Sichuan-style restaurant, customers are greeted by brights lights and an ebony grand piano. The is new to the Towson area, and is located on Allegheny Avenue in Uptown.
The bistro’s owner, Ping Wu, chats with customers and takes orders amidst the background noise of casual conversation. Wu is active and confident. An excited smile characterizes her movements as she proudly serves her customers. She is at the helm of her new restaurant.
“There had been a lack of Chinese restaurants serving authentic Chinese in Towson,” Wu said. “Every time [my family and friends and I] wanted to eat out, we had trouble [finding] Chinese restaurants with good food and atmosphere, so we thought we could have a chance to be successful in this area.”
Since its opening, the bistro has already seen a stream of regular customers in Towson, a factor that waitress Judy Wen attributes to the busy location.
“This is the town center and every Thursday and Friday there’s a lot of activity here,” said Wen. “Many [people] come here from D.C. and New York.”
Wen added that the travelers say the dishes at Red Pepper Sichuan Bistro are more delicious than the dishes in New York.
“Since [Wu] has opened, this is my third time being here,” said Cindy Liu, a frequent customer.
Wu’s goal is to give people the opportunity to eat authentic food from China.
“We will definitely expand our business if our food gets popular,” Wu said.
Stepping into the bistro, customers are met with soft background music, establishing a pleasant atmosphere and providing a calm ambience for customers. In the back is an open kitchen where hungry customers are able to see their food being prepared.
“Our open kitchen means that… customers can trust us and our food,” Wen said.
The idea of the open kitchen occurred when Wu saw the concept in other restaurants, such as BJ’s Brewhouse, and decided to integrate it into the Red Pepper. She contends that it allows customers a look into food preparation, providing transparency between them and the staff.
“We also try to create an atmosphere for people to enjoy the food, so we chose a contemporary and neutral design that is different from most Chinese restaurants,” she said.
Around the restaurant, the minimalist decor is defined by prints depicting Chinese scenery and wooden tables and chairs.
Towson University’s close proximity with the restaurant provides students the chance to expand their flavor palettes and try a different cuisine.
As for student activity, Wu has noticed “more students eating here, especially after the new semester started.”
For future accommodations, Wu plans to provide “food delivery services to campuses… we understand students get busy with their classes and homework.”
Students and visitors alike can expect a variety of dishes such as lamb, pork in garlic sauce, and spicy wontons in red oil.
“In my opinion every dish is unique, [but] I would pick chicken with Sichuan pepper, and grilled fish,” Wu said.
Their recipes specialize on the famous Sichuan red pepper, a staple of the cuisine. It provides rich and vibrant flavors, known for its numbing ability, although the restaurant provides options for those who prefer a less intense flavor.
“We can also make dishes that are not spicy with white sauce,” says Wen.
The restaurant provides an array of flavors paying homage to traditional Sichuan cuisine, a factor that attracts their customers.
“If you go to another restaurant and try their Sichuan chicken or beef it’s not real,” Liu said. “Everything comes from my hometown [of] Sichuan.”