Fire Sale

Spicy Sichuan cooking lands at Westfield Century City

When was the last time mall food made you sweat?

Located on the second-floor promenade of Westfield Century City's ritzy shopping plaza, Meizhou Dongpo–the first U.S. branch of a China-based restaurant chain–is probably the last place you'd expect to find the lip-tingling flavors of Sichuan cooking.

In the kitchen, wok-wielding chefs wear paper masks to protect themselves from incendiary chile fumes produced in the service of dishes such as House Spicy Beef ($18)–a bubbling fire-red stew mounded with minced ginger and crushed dried chiles.

"Sichuan heartbreakers" ($10)–so called for their tear-including qualities—are an oddly compelling mash-up of texture and spice, made from gelatinous bean starch noodles smothered in a dark, tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorn sauce.

Mall signage

Like Hakkasan and Chi Lin, Meizhou Dongpo offers a certain level of opulence to complement its glamorous nightclub-esque design, including Peking roast duck ($68), sizzling Wagyu steak platters ($48), too-sweet Kung Pao shrimp ($22) and a predictably expensive wine list.

Overspending isn't warranted though: one of the most compelling dishes is a humble bowl of dan dan noodles ($6) boosted with a vibrant slick of chile oil.

Meizhou's fiery flavors may be dimmer than those at several SGV stalwarts (see: Chengdu Taste), but at least you can enjoy them on the restaurant's sun-drenched food court patio.