China Village 1335 Solano Ave./Ramona Ave., in Albany, (510) 525-2285. L-D daily, dim sum Sat-Sun; $-$$.
Recently recovered from a devastating fire, this restaurant, which before had a simple decor and bargain menu, is now a lot more sleek and a tad more expensive. The main dining room has some comfy banquette seating, and a smaller back room features a striking yellow mural wall with 3-D dragons. Large windows bring in plenty of light, and you can order a cocktail to sip while you wait. The menu specialty is hot Sichuan, but milder Mandarin and even milder Cantonese dishes are also available. House specialties include delicious dry-fried cumin lamb spiced with plenty of hot red and green peppers, a saucy Szechuan hot bean paste fish fillet, and XO-sauce beef. More winners include tea-smoked duck with half-moon steamed buns and plum sauce; chow mien made with housemade hand-cut noodles (they are flat and a little curly) with barbecue pork and veggies; spicy cold noodles with chicken in a sweet sesame paste sauce; Mandarin fish (a whole,
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images ©2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers