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Grand Sichuan Midtown

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Dave Feldman Nov 18, 2000 01:51 AM

Finally made it to the branch at 50th and 9th Ave.

This might have been the best Chinese meal I've ever had north of Chinatown in Manhattan, and superior to the three meals I've had at the Chelsea branch.

Everyone at the restauant, and especially the host, was exceptionally friendly and efficient. The host visited every table, made recommendations, and greeted everyone when they left.

My friend and I started with the cold diced rabbit w/spicy & peppery sauce, tender meat on the bone. Kind of messy to eat, with little pieces of fat and gristle as well as bones, but absolutely delicious.

The sour and spicy string beans with pork had no relation to the usual dried string beans with minced pork. The two ingredients were cut into tiny pieces, the size of ball bearings if they were in a doll house. Pleasingly sour and crunchy.

But the best dish was recommended by the host: "Wild chicken with 3 chilies." My only worry is that this was called a special; I sure hope it is available regularly, because these large chunks were perfectly cooked and marvelously flavorful, and the green and red peppers, scallions, and other vegetables were marvelous accomopaniments. Anyone know what "wild chicken" means in this context? Free range?

My only regret is that we couldn't sample more dishes. If this is typical of the execution (dishes were appropriately oily but tasted fresh and clean), I'm looking forward to many meals at GSM.

  1. m
    Michele Nov 19, 2000 07:32 PM

    Another good dish to try there is the cold dish of preserved turnip. We just ordered it the other day and it's really crunchy with the turnip and also a few peanuts (I usually HATE nuts in food, but this was good). Very spicy too.

    1. j
      jonathan sibley Nov 20, 2000 01:14 PM

      I also liked the sour green beans. Our waiter also suggested a special of fresh bamboo shoots that were served in a red spicy sauce and were delicious.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jonathan sibley
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        Dave Feldman Nov 21, 2000 12:34 AM

        It's like a fantasy to have a good Chinese restaurant where the staff goes out of its way to recommend the best stuff.

        I neglected to ask the host for his name. Do you know if he is the manager? Owner? What a miracle that this upscalish branch actually has a neighborhood feel.

      2. l
        Lynn Nov 21, 2000 10:35 AM

        For three weeks now, I've been meaning to mention here what an amazing lunch I had at Grand Sichuan. I agree with every accocolade written by Dave. I was so happily stunned to eat such an imaginative, beautifully prepared Chinese meal in midtown--and in such a warm, comfy environment. These people CARE about their food.

        First of all, just READING the entire menu is an experience. It's not just a listing of dishes--it's a small treatise about the items they offer. I spent at least fifteen minutes digesting it. It was so difficult to make a selection, when EVERYTHING sounded so good.

        I wish I could remember the name of the special I ordered--it was this marvelous silky tofu with a great assortment of Chinese vegetables. And it was from a special menu that told you all about each dish, its history, etc.

        My friend ordered a more ordinary pork dish--but that, too, was equisitely prepared.

        My only disappointment was being unable to try every dish that tempted me. I intend to go back and work my way through the entire menu. (Wild chicken will be the selected item for my next bout!)

        6 Replies
        1. re: Lynn
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          Dave Feldman Nov 21, 2000 11:28 PM

          One word of warning, Lynn: the wild chicken was a special. But I have a feeling they will prepare it for you if they have the poultry available.

          Come to think of it, it would be fun to dine at GSM alone: you could read the menu without fear of being rude. BTW, the long treatise/menu is also available at the Chelsea branch.

          1. re: Dave Feldman
            j
            jen kalb Nov 22, 2000 10:11 AM

            just a question, Dave - is the "wild chicken" really chicken or is it frogs legs, like the "country chicken" at the predecessor restaurant on Canal St. E.?

            1. re: jen kalb
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              Pepper Nov 22, 2000 06:10 PM

              From my experience with the dish yesterday, I would say it's probably nothing more exotic than a game hen.

              (And I'd probably order the ``family style rabbit'' instead, but that's another matter. Don't miss the amazing appetizer of tongue and tripe in chile oil--it's out of this world.)

              1. re: Pepper
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                Dave Feldman Nov 23, 2000 12:38 AM

                I think I mentioned it, but the cold rabbit appetizer was terrific, too. I was going to order the family rabbit as an entree until I was talked into the wild chicken.

                1. re: Pepper
                  d
                  Dave Feldman Nov 26, 2000 02:04 AM

                  Had another fabulous meal at Grand Sichuan International Midtown tonight.

                  We introduced ourselves to the gracious host, who recognized us on only a second visit. Impressive. His name is Frank. I'd listen to his recommendation. He might steer you toward more expensive options, but his taste is impeccable.

                  We started with cold beef tendons in hot & pepper sauce, and a comped Sichuan pickled cabbage w/red oil. The cabbage was the best of its type I've ever had, cut in large chunks rather than shredded, and pleasantly sour.

                  For entrees, we had a special of fox (!) with ginger, scallions and chili (was this really fox? why have I never encountered fox in any other restaurant?) and a superb whole fresh water fish in a great black bean sauce.

                  Everything was terrific, including the same warm service. This is a great Chinese restaurant.

                2. re: jen kalb
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                  Dave Feldman Nov 23, 2000 12:37 AM

                  Definitely not frog's legs. Weird to have specials in a restaurant with so many options, but I'm not complaining.

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