When the sign over the door of a restaurant is marked with three bright red chili peppers, it’s a clue that the fare is going to be spicy. And when the framed reviews on the walls inside the modest spot are all in Chinese, it’s further indication that this is a place that goes well beyond egg rolls and fried rice.
For those who appreciate the style of China’s Sichuan peninsula, an obscure little strip mall at Dequindre and 14 Mile just might be a destination. It isn’t fancy and there are no frills except those in the soup bowls and on the plates
Trizest delivers an impressively extensive menu based on the talents of proprietor Frank Zhong, who hails from the city of Zigong, China. He masterminds Trizest (it means triple spicy) and two other restaurants with similar menus, Ann Arbor’s Ypbor Yan and Midland’s Bamboo Garden.
There are some dishes that those who didn’t grow up eating authentic Chinese fare aren’t going to be receptive to. Feel free to bypass dishes such as quick fried pig’s kidney, and pork intestines and pig’s blood curd in a wok, for instance. The Asian couple at the next table steered me away from that last one.
But there are plenty of other dishes quite accessible to diners willing to go a little out of their comfort zone. It’s been my observation that many more of us have developed an appreciation for the authentic dishes. Any of the Chinese hot pots, one with tofu, pork and vegetables, another with seafood, and a third with pickled vegetables and fish, with only the seafood variety marked with the chili pepper symbol, are good choices, as are one of the several noodle or dumpling soups, typified by pork wontons in chicken stock or stewed beef noodle.
For anyone willing to go a little further, spice-wise, there’s an intriguing dish of boiled fish with vegetables in chili sauce, and the not-often seen lamb with vegetables in spicy bean sauce. Cool off, but just a bit, with cucumbers in garlic sauce on a little lower spice level.
Just about everything on the menu arrives in a sharable portion, and most people exit with left-overs in carry-out containers.
Waiter Ken Kew is adept at sizing up non-Asians and guiding them to the right choices on the big menu written in both Chinese and English.
The one-room space has a number of big round tables as well as tables for four along the front windows. Décor, of course, is not the strong suit here, nor is strict housekeeping, and there are no alcoholic beverages (beer would be appropriate with this fare) but for those looking for a lunch or dinner that will awaken the taste buds, Trizest has something to offer.
33170 Dequindre at 14 Mile, Sterling Heights
Call: (586) 268-1450
Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat., 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Appetizers $1.29-$8.99, soups $1.70-$12.99, house specialties $9.99-$16.99 (all serving more than one), vegetarian dishes $10.99-$12.99
Credit cards: MC and Visa
Noise level: Low
Parking: Strip mall lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers