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Jan 29, 2009 11:10 AM

Szechuan Gourmet

I was there last night for dinner. I've only done take-out there a few times since the Times review came out but haven't been there for dinner since then. Holy crap! We got there around 7:15 and the place was packed and had to wait a bit. Was really surprised for a Wednesday night. Guess the review brought them a lot of business. Good for them.

We ended up sitting on some clearly makeshift tables and chairs (they were folding) that were placed in the middle of the room. It was pretty tight in there. Luckily the food hasn't gone downhill. We ordered the ox tongue and tripe in chili sauce, whole fish in miso chili and the cumin lamb. With such a cold, damp dreary day like yesterday, I was in the mood for some spice but had to keep it on the mild side as DH can't really eat the four chili pepper stuff. Everything was delicious. DH never had the cumin lamb before and really enjoyed it. He loved the crispy texture and thought the spice level was perfect.

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  1. Post-review, I always make a reservation. Even on off-nights! Good to hear the cumin lamb is still good; last time it was a bit lukewarm and (dare I say it) not crispy.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      I was just there on Sunday night with a large group celebrating the Chinese New year.

      We had "Chinese Hot Pot", which I must say , I have never had before.
      It was really enjoyable!
      They put 2 huge pots of soup on the table - one mild and one spicey, and they bring you platters of meat, seafood, and veg to cook yourself!
      I loved it, but we did have to request some rice to fill us up a bit.

      For dessert we had bowls of clear liquid (which didnt have much of a taste) with little balls of dough filled with a sweet,slightly burned tasting sesame paste - they were really delicious..I was stealing my husbands "balls" when he wasn't looking!!

      I would like to go back here soon to try some menu items...the place had an amazing smell to it! Yum!

      1. re: NellyNel

        Kathryn -- wise words about the reservations. It was indeed a madhouse.

        NellyNel, the hot pot is a good choice. I've only ordered it once from SG (the spicy/nonspicy). It was good but kind of wished that the spicy one was a bit spicier. I also do wish that they would bring out smaller portions of meat, seafood and veggies.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          My guess is that the large crowd you saw was a spillover from Chinese New Year's. I've gone on weekday evenings over the last year, post Bruni, and while they were doing plenty of business they weren't slammed.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            We were a large group, so yes the platters were HUGE! - but we got through it!
            And to be honest we were still pretty hungry at the end.
            I think it would have been absolutely perfect with a few more substantial dishes thrown in.

            You must like it really hot!
            I thought the spicey side had just the right amount of spice - but I saw a few wimps in the crowd (just kidding) who couldn't take it! Way too hot for them!

          2. re: NellyNel

            ohhh thats one of my favorite desserts its called tang yuan. the clear liquid is usually just water although i've had it where its a sweet soup (peanut)

        2. Went for the first time for lunch yesterday. Had the dan dan mian (my litmus test for Sichuan restaurants), spicy dumplings, conch in chili vinaigrette, sliced pork belly with chili leeks and smokey wok tossed frogs. Everything was great although I think I slightly preferred the dan dan mian and dumplings at Wu Liang Ye. The pork belly was to die for and the frogs were great if you could avoid stepping on (eating) the chili landmines they were buried in. Gotta go back. Anyone try the diced rabbit and peanut dish?

          5 Replies
          1. re: guttergourmet

            Oh I had my eye on the pork belly - but which one did you have?- there are 2 versions on the menu.

            1. re: guttergourmet

              "sliced pork belly with chili leeks"
              oh - duh - I should have read your post again befor I asked the stupid question!! sorry

              1. re: guttergourmet

                I agree with you re: dan dan noodles being better at Wu Liang Ye, although my favorite is at Grand Sichuan st. marks. Have you tried the sesame noodles from Szechuan Gourmet? I've had so many bad ones that I hesitate to try it, esp since I enjoy the dan dan noodles and always default to that known entity.

                1. re: guttergourmet

                  Went today with a client and two colleagues. She was vegetarian and pregnant so we had spicy cucumber salad, pea shoots, mung bean jello salad, vegetable dumplings and braised fish with napa and roasted chili. All delicious especially the mung bean jello. Since I refused to limit myself to vegetarian, I also ordered the dan dan noodles with minced pork, the diced rabbit with peanuts, the twice cooked pork belly with leeks and the fried lamb fillets with chili cumin and prawns with asparagus. Everything rocked! Only $168 with tip. And the client was very happy with her great dane sized doggie bag.

                2. Adding a link to Szechuan Gourmet for Miss Needle. :)

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    Thank you, kattyeyes! Hmmm... I still don't know what I'm doing wrong. Let me try again ...

                    ETA: Ooh! I think I got it now! : )

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

                  2. glad u liked it!

                    the cumin lamb is my favorite dish there

                    1. The original comment has been removed