5331 SW Macadam Ave., 227-3136, szechuanchef.us. Lunch and dinner daily.

Szechuan Chef brings the heat—in the form of a dizzying array of peppers—and the light, in the form of near-glazing bright bulbs. Its rendition of Chong Qing hot chicken ($13.95) is my nearest go-to for a good pepper bath now that Hawthorne's Lucky Strike struck out, a huge plate of out wok-fried chicken served with a near-equal amount of dried chilies, chopped scallions and peanuts. For an oddly hot and cold experience, grab the hot and spicy dried bean curd ($6.95), a Sichuan red-chili combo that will make you feel like you're using lineament to soothe your sore tongue muscle.