Hello again! It's been awhile...now that school's over I have more time to update this thing.
This weekend we were out house- and dog-sitting in Northern Virginia. M looked up a Sichuan place that looked promising (via Tyler Cowen among other reviews and reviewers): China Star in Fairfax: http://www.chinastarfood.com/
This was the first time in a long while (ever since Sichuan Douhua on Aurora in Seattle) that I felt like I was back in China. The food wasn't quite spicy enough for our tastes, but the familiar flavors (especially the familiar numbness of Sichuan peppercorns, or huajiao) were definitely present. We ordered crispy duck with a (spicy) dipping sauce from the Weekly Specials section at the front of the menu, lamb hotpot (not soup but the slices of lamb that comes in its own sizzling hot dish), a mala rabbit appetizer and one of the stir-fried vegetables of the day (spinach, with numerous slices of nearly-raw garlic).
I would definitely recommend this place--but either go if you or a friend know how to read and speak at least a little Chinese (enough to decipher the Chinese language menu, called the "Sichuan Food Menu" on the webpage)or if you feel comfortable asking the waitstaff to explain and translate the Chinese specials for you. There is a complete English language menu at the back of the menu but it's totally separate from the Chinese language menu (and nothing particularly interesting).