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Oct 28, 2008 03:04 PM

Best Grand Sichuan

I have not tried any of the Grand Sichuan in Manhattan. Have frequent Little Red Pepper and Spicy&Tasty in Flushing. Trying to take a few friends to try Sichuan. Can anyone recommend which Grand Sichuan to go to? Thank you. :)

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  1. I have friends who'd say the Chelsea branch but the St Marks branch is also quite good.

    1. I'm a big fan of the 7th Avenue branch. They're able to make everything you'd get at the Chelsea or St. Mark's branch, but they also have some new additions to the menu that are quite good (pumpkin goji soup, braised fish, vegetarian kung pao, etc.). The fact that they also allow you to order smaller plates (thus enabling you to order more of a variety) is also a big plus for me.

      1. I've never been to the one on 7th ave, so I can't say. Of the other's my not-well-informed opinion is that the Chelsea one is best, followed closely by the St Mark's one. The one on 2nd ave and 55th is awful. It's not owned by the same people, unfortunately. I would avoid that one if I were you.

        5 Replies
        1. re: egit

          Actually it is owned by the same people. But I have heard similar feedback in general.

          1. re: JungMann

            Sounds like the Chelsea one is the safe bet for the first time. Thanks for all your inputs. :)

            1. re: ChefAntDrgn

              Don't be shy about asking the watier for advice. They're very helpful if you're not sure what to get. You should get an order of the soup dumplings there. They're pretty good.

              1. re: egit

                Just tried the 7th Avenue outpost and greatly enjoyed all the dishes- soup, chicken with cabbage and steamed fish with scallions and ginger. We would certainly return. You can bring your own beer and wine.

            2. re: JungMann

              John Zhang only owns or co-owns some of the branches. He is no longer associated with the Chinatown branch and 2nd Avenue branch.


              About Grand Sichuan
              1st GS: 1996-1998, China Town, NY
              2nd GS:1998-present,229 9Ave(24st)
              3rd GS: 2000-2006,745 9Ave(50st),NY
              4th GS:2002-2007,1049 2Ave(56st)
              5th GS:2004-present,19-23 St.Mark
              6th GS:Mar2008-present,Jersey City NJ
              7th GS: June 2008-present, 15 7Ave S

          2. if you've been eating at S&T and little pepper, grand sichuan will be a let down as both of those are way better. That said i think the st mark's is the best of whats left (the hell's kitchen was by far the best, but it closed). I went to the chelsea one a few times and felt that it was more americanized (which is why alot of people like it i think) and the dishes had been watered down for american tastes.

            At GS on st marks, the dishes are hit or miss. Off hand, I like the wontons in red oil, dan dan mian, cumin beef, sauteed string beans, there is a cured beef dish which im forgetting the name of but its on the hunan side of the menu and it has preserved vegetables and there are a few other pretty good dishes. The waiter who used to wait for me at the hell's kitchen branch works there, so alot of times i ask him for recs and he gets me off the menu stuff.

            also, Szechuan Gourmet is the best sichuan in the should try that

            14 Replies
            1. re: Lau

              I agree, ditch all Grand Sichuans (unless you want hot pot) and go to Szechuan Gourmet. I went there a bit hesitantly since there is so much bad chinese food in NY last weekend. however, it was Chowhound endorsed so I figured it should be okay. I think it is definitely the best sichuan I've had in NY, better than Little pepper in Flushing also. Everything I got (all classic sichuan dishes) was very good. I got the cumin lamb after it was heavily reccomended and i really liked that. i'm not sure how Sichuany it really is, it had a definite Xinjiang vibe if you ask me, but it was very good. Some people had complained about it being too dry, but it was the way it was supposed to be. the meat was not juicy in that it wasn't dripping juice, but it is very tender and suprisingly unsinewy for a chinese place (I think i'm used to poor quality 10 cent Kababs in China).

              1. re: Renguin

                i'll dissent slightly...i liked Szechuan Gourmet but found some of the dishes not as spicy as i would have liked and the prices a bit high -- i plan to try it again though...

                i recently went to Chelsea Grand Sichuan w/ a Chinese friend who pronounced it the best Chinese meal she's had in NYC...i hadn't been to the Chelsea branch in years, though i ordered from the St.Mark's one incessantly when i lived in Union Sq...while i like both branches, i'd say Chelsea might have the Grand Sichuan, i usually order things "real Sichuan style and no sugar", so maybe that's part of the reason i've always been happy there...

                1. re: Simon

                  What wasn't as spicy as you like? I'm Korean -- my veins practically run with gochijang -- but I've never been disappointed by the lack of spice at Szechuan Gourmet.

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    the fish w/ napa cabbage...the prawns w/ asparagus...we asked (in Chinese) for everything to be extremely spicy, etc...we both found the food not very review is in this thread:


                    1. re: Simon

                      Weird...maybe they're starting to slip. I do think it's worth trying the mapo tofu and chengdu pork next visit -- both are among the spiciest dishes I've had there. One comment you made does resonate -- sometimes they skimp on the peppercorns, which can lead occasionally to more red pepper spice than numbing.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        i'll try both of those next time i go there...i was never a huge fan of the mapo tofu at Grand Sichuan in the past (thought it was merely ok), and the mptf i saw on other tables at Szechuan Gourmet indeed looked yummy...

                        this whole thread makes me grateful to be living in NYC, where we have such solid options on Sichuan food -- while other American cities can claim better Cantonese, dimsum, etc, i don't know of any other that has as many Sichuan options as we do...

                        1. re: Simon

                          I never was a huge fan of mapo tofu (I'd eat it if it was there, and also begrudgingly order it pork-less for vegetarian friends) but SG made me a believer.

                          Indeed! It is an embarrassment of riches to be debating Szechuan Gourmet vs. Grand Sichuan vs. Wu Liang Ye vs. all the Outer Borough options.

                          1. re: Simon

                            Well said, Simon. I used to bitch and moan about Manhattan Chinese, but I find myself missing Szechuan Gourmet even here in LA.

                  2. re: Renguin

                    i dont know about being better than little pepper, but it is certainly the best in manhattan

                    cumin lamb is one of my favorite dishes...u maybe right that it is from another province; in fact i think even gong bao ji ding (kung pao chicken), which i think is generally associated with sichuan isnt a sichuan dish originally, but is prevalent now

                    1. re: Lau

                      Cumin lamb is originally an Uighur dish, but it's become closely associated with sichuan cuisine.

                      1. re: Lau

                        I've only been to both once at this point, but i didn't think little pepper was that great. on a dish by dish comparison (if possible) what do you think is better at little pepper. i remember finding their mapo dofu particularly disappointing.

                        1. re: Renguin

                          You might like Szechuan Gourmet's mapo tofu. It's the best I've ever had.

                    2. re: Lau

                      ChefAntdragon, I don't understand why you consider going to Grand Sichuan, when you can go to Szechuan Gourmet or Shu Han Ju (in the Village)--both are much better. I've only heard favorable comments about GS St. Mark's--to date, I have not been there.

                      You can also get Hot Pot at Shu Han Ju...and they serve a beautiful chili paste.

                      Apparently, the various locations of Grand Sichuan are independent entities. I've been significantly disappointed at both--24th St.& 9th Ave. and 7th Avenue So. (You can do better than that).

                      1. re: ZaZa

                        Oops...this is an old thread. Shu Han Ju wasn't open yet!

                      1. re: shanghaiknights

                        i dont think either GS has hot pot although Renguin says they do in his post (so maybe they do)

                        i know that Szechuan Gourmet has it, its not listed on the menu, but there is a big chalkboard that says it in chinese (might say it in english as well) and you'll always see a bunch of people ordering it....that said ive never eaten it there, so cant attest to how good or not good it is

                        1. re: Lau

                          where is Szechuan Gourmet located. It sounds great ?

                          1. re: PAULSCOHEN


                            Szechuan Gourmet
                            21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                          2. re: Lau

                            I've had hot pot before at the GS on lex. the portions were huge and i over ordered. the broth was nice and spicy though.