Peony & Crane
Bright, colorful murals of—yes—peonies and cranes greet you as you enter a downstairs bar before ascending to a dining room of casual wooden benches and tables. We hit this new Heights spot on a busy evening, when the room was packed with convivial folk enjoying food and one another. Service was uneven, but the food was memorable—spicy in that unique, numbing Szechuan-pepper way. Steer clear of the heavy, doughy pan-seared buns and the oily scallion pancakes and head straight for the totally crisp Sichuan Chili Chicken (crunchy nuggets sprinkled with dried red peppers and sesame seeds) or the Chili Oil Fish (tender chunks of swai (like an Asian catfish) aswim in a rusty-red chile sauce. The delicate soup dumplings with soy and fresh ginger make a sweet counterpoint to these fiery dishes. We waited a little too long for our entrées but ultimately decided the food was worth it.