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Grand Sichuan at St. Marks?

sharonj Feb 27, 2008 03:30 PM

I'm going through a Sichuan phase at the moment, but not enough to go to Flushing. Is this one decent? What are the must-have dishes?

  1. s
    sharonj Mar 3, 2008 11:48 AM

    Thanks for the recs everyone. I just went there for a quick lunch, and the double cooked pork was excellent. I definitely plan to go back and try out their other dishes, quite a steal for a little over $6.

    I know Flushing has one of the best Sichuan restaurants in the city, but it's too out of my way while this one is close by most of the time.

    1. s
      Simon Feb 28, 2008 05:44 PM

      i agree w/ all the above recs for dishes at St.Marks GS (esp. the Gui Zhou chicken), and will also put in a rec for:
      -- sauteed shredded pumpkin w/ green pepper (not the heavier braised pumpkin)
      -- bitter melon w/ duck
      -- the hargow (crystal shrimp dumplings) are also surprisingly good though despite being a guangdong dish

      1. r
        Renguin Feb 28, 2008 01:12 PM

        this place is pretty bad. usually chinese restaurants do a couple things better than anyone else, but this place has nothing on anyone. their hong you chao shou, the wontons in the spicy red oil, bear more resemblance to the real things than most places, but they're still pretty off. i would just go t the grand sichuan on lex or wuliangye in roc center.

        1. m
          maggiej Feb 28, 2008 08:10 AM

          haven't been to Szechuan Gourmet, but GS St. Marks is a standby for us...Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, Pea Shoots, Soup Dumplings, Dan Dan Noodles, Ma Po Tofu, Dry and Spicy Chicken all so good we rarely order anything else. Good and inexpensive for large groups. (Plus, it's a nicer neighborhood than 39th and 5th!)

          1. p
            Pan Feb 28, 2008 12:00 AM

            As one of their best customers (it's my standby for takeout and delivery!), I will tell you that if you stick to the Sichuan and Hunan dishes, it's very decent indeed. However, based on one trip so far, Szechuan Gourmet on 39th St. between 5th and 6th is quite a lot better. I second banquo's recommendation that you go there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Pan
              Bob Martinez Feb 28, 2008 05:34 AM

              A third recommendation for Szechuan Gourmet.

              1. re: Pan
                Lau Feb 28, 2008 08:06 AM

                agreed, but there are a couple dishes that are better there (sichuan wonton and dan dan mian), but on the whole szechuan gourmet is definitely better and i always tout it as the best sichuan restaurant in manhattan

                also, on a separate note, i dont see the big hype of wu liang ye on 86th, ive tried that place like 3-4 times and found it to be far inferior to other good sichuan restaurants in the city....i found the food to be too dumbed down

              2. b
                banquo Feb 27, 2008 06:05 PM

                Get one of the whole fish preparations. There's one where they smoke, deep fry, and then braise the fish. Incredible the 3 times I've had it. Look at the detailed descriptions they give at the back of the menu. Well, at least they used to have them. I haven't been to the St. Marks branch in about a year.

                If you want good Sichuan, the place to go now would be Szechuan Gourmet in Midtown. I've been going there of late, and it's very good. In my opinion, the best in Manhattan right now.

                1. l
                  Lau Feb 27, 2008 03:43 PM

                  its hit or miss, some dishes are quite good and others are mediocre

                  here's what i usually get:
                  cumin beef - really well prepared dish, ask for extra buns
                  dan dan noodles - not the best rendition (flushing renditions are better), but maybe the best in the city
                  sichuan wontons - these are quite good, definitely the best in the city

                  i usually get a vegetable as well such as the home style tofu or dou miao. also, on the hunan side of the menu there is a preserved beef with pickled vegetable dish that is pretty well executed. some of the waiters are pretty helpful (i usually get the same waiter) and he always recommends stuff or gets me off the menu type stuff

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Lau
                    kathryn Feb 27, 2008 05:31 PM

                    I usually do

                    Gui Zhou spicy chicken
                    Wontons in hot oil
                    Cold cucumber in scallion sauce
                    Maybe the tea smoked duck if I am feeling up for it
                    Soup dumplings

                    Best sichuan wontons in the city, including the OB (Spicy and Tasting, Xiao Lajiao, Szechuan Gourmet, Chengdu Heaven, etc.)?

                    1. re: Lau
                      bob192 Feb 28, 2008 09:36 AM

                      As Lau reports, Cumin Beef; Dan Dan Noodles; as well as Cold Cucumbers in Sesame/Scallion Sauce; Twice Cooked Pork (when they char the leek enough, this is transporting); Tea-smoked Duck (puts me in mind of southern bar-b-que, believe it or not.)

                      1. re: bob192
                        Polecat Feb 28, 2008 03:24 PM

                        Strong second on the Double Cooked pork. Having been to my share of Sichuan places, including the sainted Flushing duo of Little Pepper and S &T, this might be my favorite Sichuan dish in NYC thus far. Wonderful combination of heat, flavor, the rustic taste of the greens, the juiciness of the pork - this dish just sticks in my mind and taste buds. Having kept to the Sichuan portion of the menu, the wife and I have had two very satisfying, relaxed and reasonably priced meals at GS St. Marks, and we look forward to returning. The jury still being out, though, I look forward to trying Szechuan Gourmet, both in Manhattan and Flushing.

                        1. re: Polecat
                          kathryn Feb 28, 2008 06:16 PM

                          I found the SG Manhattan's verison of double cooked pork with chili and leeks to be not so good. The pork was overcooked, so not juicy and tender at all. I liked S&T's version better when I had it a few weeks ago. However, that was the only misfire at my SG meal.

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