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grand sichuan....whats the big deal?

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hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 02:10 PM

after reading countless posts about how great grand sichuan is, i decided to give it a try. i dont get what all the hoopla over this place is about?! its super oily, i was pretty disappointed.

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  1. 280 Ninth RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 02:34 PM

    I think it depends on the dish. I agree that some dishes are super-oily. They can be inventive with their cooking, and as I understand, it's authentic Sichuan, hence the hubbub.

    1. j
      jeanki RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 02:53 PM

      I only went here once, but I agree, I was underwhelmed. But I may not have ordered the best dishes (the menu is so huge, it's hard to know what will be a hit, or miss).

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeanki
        danoots RE: jeanki Mar 3, 2007 06:28 AM

        not if you read these boards ;)

      2. Peter Cuce RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 03:04 PM

        Which branch did you go to and what did you order?

        1. e
          ESNY RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 03:19 PM

          Sichuan food in general is pretty oily.

          1. m
            mr_seabass RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 05:47 PM

            I go there for the smoked tea duck, the jellyfish appetizer, the crispy beef, the chongqing chicken, the eqq plant in wonder sauce, the fish in red oil. We all probably tend to over-rate it since it is so surprising to find such a good restaurant outside of chinatown. Still, I really rate it highly.

            1. d
              Dave Feldman RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 10:14 PM

              The fresh-killed chicken dishes are a pretty big deal for me.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dave Feldman
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                mr_seabass RE: Dave Feldman Mar 3, 2007 05:17 PM

                Dave, that's an important point - to ask for the fresh killed chicken.

              2. p
                Pan RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 10:33 PM

                Well, Spicy & Tasty in Flushing is way better, but damn am I glad Grand Sichuan opened a branch on St. Marks Place a couple of years ago (is it that long?). There are so many good dishes on the menu! Oily many of them may be, but they sure are delicious!

                1. renaissance RE: hotsaucer Mar 2, 2007 11:50 PM

                  I'd have to agree.

                  I paid them a visit with high hopes fueled by the rave reviews but found myself frustrated with their fare. And I like oily.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: renaissance
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                    Sweatshirt Guy RE: renaissance Mar 4, 2007 05:25 AM

                    Which location did you eat at? What did you order?

                    1. re: Sweatshirt Guy
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                      Dave Feldman RE: Sweatshirt Guy Mar 4, 2007 05:22 PM

                      I like your questions. It's not like the food is cooked in a central kitchen and shipped to the locations. Even the menus aren't identical from GSI to GSI.

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                    Peter Cherches RE: hotsaucer Mar 3, 2007 05:38 AM

                    Yes, in Sichuan food oily is the norm, so you can't fault the restaurant for this. On the other hand, I much prefer Wu Liang Ye and Szechuan Gourmet over Grand Sichuan.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Peter Cherches
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                      Blumie RE: Peter Cherches Mar 8, 2007 06:08 AM

                      My favorite dish is double cooked pork. I like Grand Sichuan, but Wu Liang Ye's version is significantly better, IMHO.

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                      lyn RE: hotsaucer Mar 3, 2007 05:56 AM

                      I think it lives up to the hype. I don't live in NYC and my city does not have a Sichuan place. I went to the Murray Hill one on Lexington around 33th and had the dumplings in red oil, the braised beef filet in chile sauce and the Guizhou spicy fresh chicken. I was a little alarmed with the wontons in red oil b/c they were not that spicy and fairly average and I was worried I had gotten excited for naught. Then the chicken and the beef . Oh boy. I was pretty much high as a kite on endorphins. Flavor was great, spicy but not overwhelming. The beef was well studded with sichuan pepper corns in addition to tons of chilis. A couple days later I went to the Chelsea branch and had the ox tripe and tongue-again amazing and the crab and pork soup dumplings (not sichuan or spicy, but wanted to try them) which were nothing to sneeze at either but clearly not a specialty. It was very refreshing as a westerner at an ethnic restaurant to not have staff try and talk me out of ordering spicy food and when I say I want it anyway to tell the cook to make it bland. I know Spicy and Tasty is probably the bomb, but the 7 train is down and it seemed like too much effort to get to Queens in the short period if time I had. Regarding best dishes, the Grand sichuan web site http://www.grandsichuan.com/Default.aspx
                      has a section that ranks dishes by popularity. The chicken is in the top 25, but the waiter recommended the beef when I was looking for a second dish.

                      edit. Menupages.com menu has the "top" dishes

                      1. Mickey Blue RE: hotsaucer Mar 5, 2007 04:28 AM

                        Like someone mentioned earlier in this thread, its really important to order the recommended items posted here on the board. They have a huge menu that ranges from amazing to weird. There’s no way to figure out what’s what without help.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Mickey Blue
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                          Pan RE: Mickey Blue Mar 6, 2007 12:02 AM

                          Sticking to the Sichuan and Hunan menus, plus the "Not Long Refrigerated Chicken" menu where applicable, and special menus for the Prodigal Daughter and Chinese New Year's goes a long way toward ensuring at least the likelihood of a very good dinner (as long as no-one asks for the spiciness to be toned down).

                          1. re: Pan
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                            Simon RE: Pan Mar 6, 2007 09:10 PM

                            agreed...also, lately when ordering from the St.Marks location i've requested that my order of Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken be made: "real Sichuan style, not sweet"...(to which the woman on the phone says "Real style, no sugar?!" and i say yes)...i like the result...

                            my usual orders are: Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken, dried tofu and black bean, duck w/ sauteed string bean, shredded pumpkin w/ pepper, loofah chicken soup, sliced fish sour cabbage soup, shrimp dumplings, fried pork dumplings, duck w/ bitter melon, and cold cucumber w/ scallion sauce...and some extra hot oil containers...and sometimes lately some of the red cooking dishes, but the sauce is a little gelatinous for my taste (although my gf liked the winter melon one the other day and the pork w/ chestnuts was yummy too)...i like whole fish too but for me this is usually a delivery place, and the whole fish doesn't travel all that well...

                        2. o
                          Odelay101 RE: hotsaucer Mar 7, 2007 08:01 AM

                          I've been to GS on St. Mark's a few times recently. Some food is great, and some is not. But the service is INSUFFERABLE. Aloof and busy is one thing, incompetent and negligent is another.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Odelay101
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                            Pan RE: Odelay101 Mar 7, 2007 11:55 PM

                            All I can say is it may make a difference to be a regular there. That said, there was a new waitress there the last time I went (last week) who didn't understand English and started combining two quite distinct dishes when I asked for them to be packed to go. Another waitress apologized and told her off in Chinese.

                            1. re: Pan
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                              Simon RE: Pan Mar 8, 2007 03:43 PM

                              heh...*imagines the waitress combining Red-Cooking-Pork-w/-Chestnuts with Cold Cucumber w/ Scallion Sauce*...good thing you caught it in time...

                              while i like the window seats up front once in a while for a whole fish, i order delivery from there so much that it feels weird to go there and sit down...

                          2. j
                            jcm RE: hotsaucer Mar 8, 2007 04:27 AM

                            Azhou Chicken, Double Cooked Pork, that Crispy Fish thing - - - These rock and they are on the round eye menu!

                            1. m
                              mr_seabass RE: hotsaucer Mar 8, 2007 04:48 AM

                              Did I mention the sauteed pea shoots? Sublime.

                              1. w
                                wuherb RE: hotsaucer Mar 9, 2007 06:45 AM

                                The Ma Po Tofu and Eggplant dishes are also pretty awesome.

                                I've been to the two east side spots, but prefer the Hells Kitchen/Clinton location. Do people notice much of a difference in quality between venues?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: wuherb
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                                  Pan RE: wuherb Mar 9, 2007 10:27 PM

                                  Yeah. Particularly between the St. Marks location and the two 9th Av. locations, because there are so many more Hunan-style dishes at the St. Marks location. There are some dishes that are made differently at the ~50th St. location than the 24th St. location, such as the dish in the Prodigal Daughter's menu that's made with celery, garlic, and jalapenos at the ~50th St. location and also includes carrots at the 24th St. location (it's better uptown).

                                2. j
                                  jumpingmonk RE: hotsaucer Mar 12, 2007 03:48 PM

                                  Ive always had a wekness for the Cured pork with garlich shoots at the st. Marks branch (they don't do it at either the lex or 2nd ave branch) Its smoky filling and not at all spicy (and advantace if your not a fanatical spicy lover and are stuck going her with a group who are) It's Light years better than Wu Yang lee's version (at least the versions at the 5th ave and lexington branches) with is so salty and fatty you can choke on it. also skip it at the Chinatown branch. (if you want it in chinatown use Congee Bowery) I havent had it in the Hells Kitchen or Chelsea branches (If anyone here has, please tell me how it is!)

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