Chicago >Food & Dining > Lao Sze Chuan
2172 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061641.853333 -87.635080
Monday 11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Tuesday 11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Wednesday 11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Thursday 11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Friday 11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Saturday 11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Neighborhoods: South Side, Armour Square, Armour Square (Chinatown)
STAY AWAY – Last night we went to Lao Tze Chuan restaurant. We learned they had changed ownership, and wondered what the new management would be like.
We arrived around 6:15, placed our order around 6:25. The food didn't come until 7:00 p.m. When the meal came, a big party (around 16 people) stood waiting for the round table next to us. Obviously, it wasn't big enough, so the management "borrowed" the table next to ours, and put it next to the round one. The took all the chairs except for the two we were using. It was still not enough for the big pary. Next thing you know, the manager said they were moving us.
I had chopsticks in my hands while sitting in my chair when our table
suddenly was removed from underneath us. I was shocked, and the rest of the patrons grew silent and stared at me, expecting something to happen. I continued to eat the food still in my chopsticks as I sat alone in the middle of the open space. I finally got up and walked to our new table location, hearing "Sorry" and "Bu Hao Yisi."
Then, our final dish came--sweet and sour pork. I was basically a breaded, fried pork chop with bones. My guest took one bite and coughed it out. The meat was spoiled. They offered to re-cook the dish. It was 7:15, and we about had enough. They took the dish back, and refused to take the order off the bill.
One Very Disappointing Overpriced Meal – "Now let me establish that I love my hotpot!
I studied abroad in Beijing for over a year and tried multiple hotpot establishments and loved every single location that I had ever been to.
When I showed up to Lao Sze Chuan the waitress was quite unfriendly (which I was accustomed to in Beijing but not USA) and she Immediately took note that I was not Chinese so when I said I wanted hotpot she said OK you want buffet and just walked away. I had to go get her and tell her I wanted to pick the items myself.
Once the hotpot arrived i was thoroughly excited but the hotpot which I asked to be spicy was not even near spicy....It also lacked the tongue numbing flower pepper that every hotpot place I had ever been to had in the broth. The pig stomach and intestine were not the Chinese style I was accustomed to and tasted like a local packaged variety...the fishballs and shrimpballs were mediocre at best and the meats were not that great...This restaurant was the biggest letdown of my life and for me that does not happen often. The $50 bill on top of my disappointing meal was also....great.
Not recommended...I will continue my search for great hotpot in the US."
Disappointing meal – I was so very hopeful when I walked into Lao Sze Chuan. My mother is from Sze Chuan, and though she grew up all over Asia and cooks more southeast Asian food, a few key szechuanese dishes inevitably make their way onto our dinner table. It's not that I wanted instant Mama's food, but I was hoping for the same earthy, spicy, flavor-busting experience that describes szechuanese food. We had garlic stir-fried greens, MaPo tofu, and chili beef stew. The stew was mediocre, the beef cut into thick pieces that made it difficult to handle in one or two bites, and it tasted a bit crude. The MaPo tofu had a flat taste to it and the greens were limp, oily, and salty. Perhaps we ordered the wrong dishes?
unbelievablely poor service – The food is OK, but the service is unbelievably poor. They will repeately ask you whether you have finished your food as soon as you finish one half of your food. I feel extremely bad every time after I eat there.
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Terrible service, rude boss, so so food, – I brought my family to Chicago the first time the past weekend. We went to this restaurant in downtown hoping for some decent Chinese food. Waiters were so so, so was the food. Though we were in such good mood so it didn't really bother us that much. After we finished everything, paid the bill with cash and one gloomy looking guy in his 30th brought us the change back. Then he shouted to us in Chinese, "Leave your tips on the table and go". In few seconds, we were too shocked to respond and then my husband said "sure, we'll do so". We still left 20% tip, meant for the waiters who served us. I won't say we are generous tippers but 20% is a norm for us and we always respect waiter/waitress' work. Still shocked by this insult, we stepped out and learned this terrible person is the owner indeed from the pictures on the wall. This is the first time we went to this restaurant and sure it would be the last time.
Before I typed this review, I found there are many customers online sharing this unfortunate experiences with us. Keep away from this place as much as you can, if you want an enjoyable meal.
By the way, they don't like to accept credit cards so we paid our meals in cash.
Rude Service, Cold Food, Hardly lives up to the Buzz – Lao's has changed from a fairly good hole in the wall Chinese restaurant to a restaurant that has superceded its capacity and ability to maintain its quality. It used to be a great place to catch a simple spicy Sze Chuan meal, even despite the wait. Now, the service is rude (if you have a reservation for a large party and you aren't WHITE, don't expect to get seated ANY TIME soon. They will blatantly give away tables to white patrons over asian's with reservations), the food isn't as good (after waiting 1 hr to sit down, almost all the dishes were served cold) and frankly, after you had to fight to get your table, the mood for the entire meal is ruined. Lao's is fortunate to have started here in Chicago where it has no competitors. If you have eaten at Sze Chuan restaurants out West, I would avoid this place. After the incredibly rude service and cold food (that we couldn't enjoy after we had been treated so rudely), next time, I'm going to Joy Yees.
GREAT Chinese Food Especially the Soups/Broth Fondus at reasonable Price! – Though off the beaten track, this IS the place to go for very authentic Chinese food (tending on the spicy side -- which is good by me). Probably the best dishes are the "soups" or actually broth-based Chinese-style fondu, where you boil various meats and vegetables in broths and suaces. Lots to eat at very reasonable prices.
Spicy Chinese food – Best spicy, sichuan food in Chicago. We spoke to the owner, and he told us the difference is the authentic chili powder from China. Great salt and pepper shrimp, mapo tofu, yu shiang pork. Always a line out the door at dinnertime unfortunately, even with two stories. Wish they delivered!
poor service – they have okay food but they have bad service and they will try to cheat you. for example, hotpot is supposed to cost 14.95/person on weekdays and 16.95/person on weekends and holidays. we went on feb 13, 2006, a mon and were told it's a holiday and charged higher prices even though it's not a holiday. the waitress refused to explain what holiday it was when we asked her and even said "check the calendar yourself." we checked later and found no holiday for 2/13. i highly recommend that you go somewhere else.
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