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Best Grand Sichuan

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ChefAntDrgn Oct 28, 2008 03:04 PM

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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    kathryn RE: ChefAntDrgn Oct 28, 2008 03:17 PM

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

    1. JungMann RE: ChefAntDrgn Oct 29, 2008 06:08 AM

      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. egit RE: ChefAntDrgn Oct 29, 2008 10:49 AM

        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
          JungMann RE: egit Oct 29, 2008 11:48 AM

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

          1. re: JungMann
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            ChefAntDrgn RE: JungMann Oct 29, 2008 03:17 PM

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

            1. re: ChefAntDrgn
              egit RE: ChefAntDrgn Oct 29, 2008 03:26 PM

              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
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                hopegoode RE: egit Oct 29, 2008 04:22 PM

                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
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              kathryn RE: JungMann Oct 29, 2008 09:53 PM

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

              From thegrandsichuan.com:

              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

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            Lau RE: ChefAntDrgn Oct 30, 2008 04:41 AM

            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 city...you should try that

            12 Replies
            1. re: Lau
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              Renguin RE: Lau Oct 30, 2008 01:45 PM

              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
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                Simon RE: Renguin Oct 30, 2008 02:11 PM

                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 edge...at 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
                  a_and_w RE: Simon Oct 31, 2008 08:28 AM

                  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
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                    Simon RE: a_and_w Oct 31, 2008 08:55 AM

                    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 spicy...my review is in this thread:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/459240

                    1. re: Simon
                      a_and_w RE: Simon Oct 31, 2008 09:18 AM

                      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
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                        Simon RE: a_and_w Oct 31, 2008 01:22 PM

                        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
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                          kathryn RE: Simon Oct 31, 2008 01:39 PM

                          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
                            a_and_w RE: Simon Nov 1, 2008 09:01 AM

                            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
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                    Lau RE: Renguin Oct 30, 2008 04:52 PM

                    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
                      a_and_w RE: Lau Oct 31, 2008 08:30 AM

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

                      1. re: Lau
                        r
                        Renguin RE: Lau Oct 31, 2008 09:50 AM

                        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
                          k
                          kathryn RE: Renguin Oct 31, 2008 10:17 AM

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

                  3. s
                    shanghaiknights RE: ChefAntDrgn Oct 30, 2008 01:51 PM

                    Which one has hot pot?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: shanghaiknights
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                      Lau RE: shanghaiknights Oct 30, 2008 04:47 PM

                      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
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                        PAULSCOHEN RE: Lau Oct 30, 2008 07:01 PM

                        where is Szechuan Gourmet located. It sounds great ?

                        1. re: PAULSCOHEN
                          k
                          kathryn RE: PAULSCOHEN Oct 30, 2008 07:04 PM

                          Link:

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

                        2. re: Lau
                          r
                          Renguin RE: Lau Oct 31, 2008 09:00 AM

                          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.

                      2. c
                        ChefAntDrgn RE: ChefAntDrgn Nov 1, 2008 03:38 PM

                        I tried the St Marks place and found it to be FABULOUS.
                        We had
                        1. Sichuan Wonton with Red Oil
                        2. Dan Dan Noodles
                        3. Mapo Tofu
                        4. Chongqing Dry and Spicy Chicken
                        5. Guizhou Beef
                        6. Dry Sauteed String Beans
                        7. Sweet and Sour Lotus Roots
                        I found everything to be amazing. So much so I had take out from the Chelsea location the following day and found it to be good too but hard to judge from 3 dish after an hour on the subway so will need to go back and sit down. The Mao's menu though, just not so inspiring IMO. Guess just gotta give it a try.
                        So St Marks compared to Flushing Sichuan. The Mapo Tofu by GS pwns the version S&T has but there are dishes on S&T menu that I guess are catered to more chinese community and they are fantastic and GS does not have.
                        IE-Dry Sauteed Pig's Large Intestine and Cumin Lamb are FANTASTIC.
                        Will need to try Szechuan Gourmet now that everyone is raving it.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ChefAntDrgn
                          k
                          kathryn RE: ChefAntDrgn Nov 1, 2008 09:19 PM

                          Next time try the guizhou chicken (instead of the beef), or the cumin beef at Grand Sichuan St Marks. I also like cucumbers in scallion sauce or shredded potatoes to counteract the heat.

                          If you like mapo tofu, I predict you will love the SG version.

                          1. re: kathryn
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                            Simon RE: kathryn Nov 1, 2008 10:25 PM

                            re: shredded potatoes...in a similar vein, the shredded pumpkin w/ green pepper (which is slightly spicy) was another of my old regular takeout items from GS St.Marks...didn't see it on the menu of the Chelsea branch on my recent visit there though...

                            cucumbers in scallion sauce: addictive and great...

                            1. re: kathryn
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                              ChefAntDrgn RE: kathryn Nov 2, 2008 05:05 AM

                              Yeah I wanted to try the Guizhou chicken but since we really wanted the Chongqing chicken we figure lets not do 2 chickens. Will definately try next time.

                          2. h
                            hungrycomposer RE: ChefAntDrgn Nov 2, 2008 08:46 PM

                            I love GS on Saint Mark's - it's right in my neighborhood and I've eaten my way through most of the menu, so I know what I like there. I also know the waitstaff and like them too. I never found the Chelsea branch to be as good, I'd say mediocre at best. I recently got a big, varied, take out order from the 7th ave. branch, which was excellent. The dishes were much spicier than they would be if you didn't specify that you wanted them spicy at Saint Mark's - I guess 7th Ave. caters to a spicier palate. But it's hard to compare a restaurant meal with takeout.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: hungrycomposer
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                              sailingsa RE: hungrycomposer Apr 4, 2010 01:10 AM

                              I tried the Grand Szechuan near Manhattan bridge..it's ok but looks divey...there is also one on 42nd street near 9th avenue..cleaner but also just ok...remember there is one on 2nd avenue and mid 50's ..was ok also..

                              1. re: sailingsa
                                k
                                kathryn RE: sailingsa Apr 4, 2010 08:36 AM

                                http://www.thegrandsichuan.com/

                                The one on 9th Ave and 50th has closed.

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

                                From thegrandsichuan.com:

                                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. c
                              clembeauchamp RE: ChefAntDrgn Apr 4, 2010 07:35 PM

                              Just skimming this thread so forgive me if I'm repeating an earlier post: There is a new Sichuan Gourmet on West 56th. We went there for lunch the other day and it was fantastic.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: clembeauchamp
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                                hungrycomposer RE: clembeauchamp May 21, 2010 11:49 AM

                                I went there last week for dinner, it was great. I didn't know if it was new, since I'm not normally on 56th st., but saw it after I went to a party directly across the street. They were out of close to half of the items on the menu, which is probably a good sign (the food doesn't languish in their fridge forever) but everything we managed to order was very tasty.

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