grand szechuan (international)
In his last-weeks's review of grand szechuan
international in Chelsea, reporting the move of the
enthusiast/owner uptown from szechuan international on
Canal St. East, Asimov left unclear whether the
downtown place is still worth a visit. A few weeks
ago, we unsuspectingly visited it( the original), and
found the food more lackluster than previously (also
noticed the lack of the descriptive tome!) The spicy
wontons in particular lacked their prior distinctive
interest, and blandness afflicted a casserole dish. I
suspect that even tho EA politely didn't say so, the
creative spark has migrated uptown. Can anyone confirm
re: "The spicy wontons in particular lacked their prior
Altho I never had the wontons downtown and can't
compare, I can certify that the ones in Chelsea are
really good. I had them a couple of times now and keep
dreaming about them. I even order them for Takeout and
when thet arrived they were not as good as in the
restaurant but they do travel well on a rainy day. The
wonton melts in your mouth, and the spicy oil together
with the scallions brings a layer of fire in your mouth.
re: JOyce Briand
re: jen kalb
on my first time there, i had the the mao's favorite
pork, with fat meat. boy, i've never seen or tasted such
a rich dish in my life before, and goose liver is one
one my fave dishes. last tuesday, i checked the double-
cooked pork upon your recommendation, and it was
'voluptuous'. thanks again for the tip. also had the dry
and sauteed green beans and it was an experience too.
And of course, i needed a double order of the wonton in
spicy oil, and although they forgot to spinkle it with
scallions, i was still happy. just to make sure that the
spicy wonton were not going downhill, i check on them
yesterday afternoon and this time they were perfect. the
place was quite crowded with a not-so-young early birds
wolfing down the spicy specials, and it was fantastic.
didn't feel like being in chelsea at all. looked more
like a cross-cultural adventure where the Szechuan
province meets Florida. very, very new york in fact. I
loved every second of it.
re: joyce briand
the beancurd I recall is a dish of soft beancurd in a
red sauce full of szechuan peppercorn. The contrast
of the smoth, silky beancurd and the very spicy sauce
is striking. On a blander note, the old location also
did a good job of stir-fried rice cake with pork.
Maybe a low taste, but but I love rice cake for its
chewy texture. Check out the description of dishes in
the proprietor's leaflet if you have any questions. ps
at the canal street location a dish called country
chicken (priced relatively high) was on the list of
chef's specials. We were curious and went to order it
- the waiter kindly mentioned it wasn't really chicken
- it was frogs legs and we changed our minds!
re: jen kalb
The beancurd dish you're talking about is called mapo dofu in Chinese and is a staple of Szechuan cuisine -- I used to order it all the time at the Little Omei in Taipei. (The Little Omei was a neighborhood joint; the Omei plain and simple was the grandest Szechuanese place in Taiwan, and appropriately expensive. Mt. Omei is the sacred mountain of Szechuan, so it's a common name for Szechuanese restaurants over there; I guess they figure Americans have never heard of it, so they don't use it here.) The first time I had it it nearly killed me -- it took me quite a while to adjust to an authentic level of spicing!
I used to like that dish at the Chinatown Grand Szechuan, and I wish I had ordered it last night when I went to the Chelsea place with a friend. Instead I tried a dish called, I think, Spicy Chicken -- I believe it's the last dish in the Chef's Specials list -- and was gravely disappointed. First off, it wasn't spicy. I was prepared for this because the cold noodles I ordered as an appetizer weren't particularly spicy either (and yes, I ordered them spicy), but at least the noodles were delicious. The chicken was one-dimensional, heavy, fatty -- I only finished a little over half. And they didn't have the special menu with explanations, which I had been enticing my friend with an account of! Or if they did, the waitress didn't know anything about it. I was planning to start a new thread labeled "Grand Szechuan Int'l -- downhill racer?" and lament the fact that I had waited a whole two weeks before following up on the raves here -- surely a new speed record in deteriorating -- but the new postings imply that others are still having excellent meals there, so maybe I ordered the wrong dish and/or hit an off night. But the menu? I'm puzzled, and will try to get back there soon for an update.
re: steve d.
re: joyce briand
Well, I had dinner at grand Sichuan International last
night, and I liked it a lot. No problems obtaining the
much-anticipated pamphlet -the waiter put it on the
table with the menus. We shared the Sichuan wontons
with red oil, which were lovely and delicious -
delicate-looking but with that nice fiery oil - and the
cold noodles, which I also liked, although I didn't
locate any salted cabbage, which I think was in the
description, but hey - there were bean sprouts. Then
we had the sour string beans with minced pork and the
shrimp in Sichuan sauce. The string beans were really
fine. And I liked the addition of some sort of
fungus-y item to the shrimp dish. The service was very
nice and I really enjoyed that pamphlet. I'd like to
go back there to try the conch in scallion sauce, which
the people at the next table were having, and to read
more of the pamphlet.
re: steve d.