Monday, December 22, 2008

Grand Szechuan has opened up a great new restaurant on 7th Ave. NYC

Dumplings at the Grand Szechuan.

I went here on the advice of New York foodie and TV Food critic Ed Levine, because I find I agree with the majority of his reviews. This place is a definite find. In Midtown too, the so called foodie graveyard of Manhattan. This is the kind of food that will linger in your brain for days after eating it. The incredibly silky tofu comes with a smokey, fiery pepper sauce with ground pork, the perfect dish to spoon on rice. The wok fried chicken with almonds and green onion was like a dish of the most incredible fried chicken you can imagine cut into bite sized pieces wok tossed with chili peppers and sliced almonds and green onion. Sounds simple enough but this is not your father's Chinese food.
I can't wait to go back. I'm addicted to spicy foods, and this place is like heaven. I'm glad to finally have somewhere like this nearby (rather than having to travel all the way to Flushing and back for Spicy Tasty or Little Pepper). My meal: Ox Tripe and Tongue (spectacular! amazing spice, mouth-numbing, everything was so crisp and fresh), Dan Dan Noodles (not the best I've had, of this standard szechuan staple.. i wanted a little tartness or tang, but it was still really good), Scallion Pancake (SO good, surprisingly. it was light and flaky, delicious. Not at all, thankfully, the typical soggy dense greasy version), Braised Lamb Fillets with Napa Cabbage and Roasted Chili (amazingly spicy! the lamb was extremely tender. all the different little vegetables were all cooked perfectly. the only negative thing i could say is perhaps it could use a little less salt)... I keep looking over the menu, planning my next visit (Spicy Sesame Noodles, Beef Tendon, Chef's Ma Paul Tofu, Double Cooked Sliced Pork Belly...) The restaurant decor is nothing special, kind of standard, it could be Cleveland in 1980, but nothing is dirty or tacky. The service was as helpful as they could possibly be. There was a cute moment where the server asked if he could take my plate and I sort of went yeah but no but yeah it's so hard to say goodbye!, we both laughed. The clientele was varied -- a Hispanic couple who ordered safe dishes and pushed things around, not eating much. a Jewish couple with sleeping infant who ordered safe (and a lot!) but loved every bite. a few Chinese couples who were really enjoying themselves, and me... At one point the Chinese couple next to me complimented me, saying I really knew how to order the good stuff (aka I eat like them), and it's surprising how i could handle the extreme spice (which was too hot even for them).