Blazing Mapo Tofu at Four Rivers

High above the other awnings, the Four Rivers sign proudly looks down upon Race St, signaling its greatness to all those who look up. Four Rivers is legitimate Szechuan food. For dinner, I have enjoyed their extensive menu of soups, various pork preparations (do yourself a favor and order the house sweet ham),  seafood (including the beautiful things they do with squid), and so much more, ranging from mild to fiery. But I hadn’t yet visited for lunch.  The menu is a lot smaller during lunch and a lot of the fun stuff isn’t on there, but there are enough to please most lunchers. The pork in black bean sauce and double sauteed pork sounded good to me, but I have been thinking about the lack of super spicy lunches, and decided to test the fires of the Four Rivers mapo tofu (called ma bao on their menu)- spicy Szechuan tofu.

Lunch specials are $6.50 and come with either soup or soda and fried or white rice. Please admire my dedication in that despite the sweltering day, I chose the hot and sour soup. Theirs was a clean version, no overt corn starch here, with ample bamboo shoots, tofu, and mushrooms.

I could smell the seriousness of the tofu. Where others are afraid to serve a burning dish to the public, Four Rivers fearlessly delivers. I think this is the first place I have reviewed where my mouth burned- finally! Sometimes you just crave that. The down side was that there was no pork, I like my mapo with pork. And all that spice left the tofu a bit one-noted, a problem helped by mixing with the veggie-filled fried rice.  The combo of the tofu, rice, and soup was a nice sized lunch.  Head over to Four Rivers when others have not been able to satiate your craving for the burn!

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Finally, some spice!
  • I have been looking for authentic Szechuan food

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I like pork in my mapo
  • I don’t like when spiciness is the dominant flavor

Four Rivers, 936 Race (@ 10th St), 215 629 8385



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