Tea-smoked duck in a beer sauce brought back the heat, as did a whole Sechuan sea bass, blanketed in a zingy coating. Sechuan Sea Bass
Shrimp-stuffed eggplant was terrific, dark purple slices curled around chopped shrimp, as was fish in dry pot, stir-fried string beans, chicken with dry hot pepper (like tiny popcorn chicken taken to the tenth power in heat), deep-fried shredded beef (think searingly hot beef jerky), Taiwanese sausage and snowpeas, studded with garlic cloves (you wrap the sausage around a clove and pop it in your mouth, take a slurp of beer, and it's just terrific), delicate baby bok choy and black mushrooms, earthy, juicy shredded lamb with cumin (specially requested by our tablemate, Lauren), and braised bacon with scallions. The Dunkel Lager was opened for these last 4 dishes and it was an excellent companion. Especially with that braised bacon. Yes, braised bacon. Who knew?
Dessert was a mind-bender, at least for me (after 23 rollickingly good dishes, the mind was pretty much bent already): sesame dumplings, three white orbs floating in hot water. Restaurant owner Han instructed us to put each dumpling in our mouth whole, and when we bit into it, it was like a gooey, slippery, marshmellowy Reese's peanut butter cup, I swear. Totally messed with your mouth and taste memory. What a wacky way to go out.
It was a fabulous dinner start to finish, daring and dangerous and hilarious and absolutely delicious. And painful in parts. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.