Chengdu 7 in Cary is a Sichuan specialist

Chengdu 7’s stir-fried fresh pea tips with mushrooms raise the ante on the competition, with matsutake mushrooms playing earthy counterpoint to the delicate vegetal sweetness of leafy green shoots. Juli Leonard

Before Chengdu 7 opened last December — fittingly, in a cluster of strip mall shops and restaurants whose diversity in food has earned it the nickname “Little U.N.” — Cary was already home to the lion’s share of authentic Chinese restaurants in the Triangle. If you include the neighboring bedroom community of Morrisville, you’ve got nearly half of all the three dozen restaurants in the Triangle specializing in Sichuan, Taiwanese and other regional cuisines.

Surprised at that number? No wonder, given the recent phenomenal growth rate of traditional Chinese restaurants in the area. In the past two years, eight newcomers have come online in Cary and Morrisville, more than doubling the number.

Chengdu 7, like many of the other new arrivals on the scene, is a Sichuan specialist. Question is, given all the nearby competition (you could practically toss a scallion pancake out the front door and hit Super Wok, another Sichuan restaurant), does Chengdu 7 have what it takes to attract a customer base?

It’s still early going, but I think it’s safe to say the answer is yes. A complimentary welcoming dish of spicy peanuts is a good start in setting the restaurant apart from the crowd. The meal that follows is consistently well-executed, and in some instances on a par with the best in the area.

Read the full review here

Chengdu 7

748 E. Chatham St., Suite E, Cary
Cuisine: Chinese
Rating: 3 1/2 stars


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