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Thank you, Sietsema

Barry Strugatz Apr 8, 2009 05:48 AM

Re: the rave in the Village Voice of Bamboo Pavilion as the city's finest Sichuan.
This place was discovered on these boards in 2007 by Gnosh and touted by me ever since, falling on deaf ears. At least it was finally picked up by the VV and the place will get the respect it deserves.

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  1. Bob Martinez RE: Barry Strugatz Apr 8, 2009 06:27 AM

    Link here - http://radio.villagevoice.com/2009-04...

    1. p
      PAL RE: Barry Strugatz Apr 8, 2009 06:57 AM

      I have to wonder if I can lay claim to discovering this place on these boards. This one, from March 2007, also fell on deaf ears...


      4 Replies
      1. re: PAL
        Barry Strugatz RE: PAL Apr 8, 2009 08:14 AM

        Yes, I think you were first. Thank you. Keep us posted on your new discoveries.

        1. re: Barry Strugatz
          jen kalb RE: Barry Strugatz Apr 8, 2009 10:01 AM

          what are you liking at Bamboo Pavillion?

          1. re: jen kalb
            Barry Strugatz RE: jen kalb Apr 8, 2009 12:47 PM

            I especially like the twice cooked braised fish filets.

            1. re: Barry Strugatz
              jen kalb RE: Barry Strugatz Apr 8, 2009 12:49 PM

              that sounds terrific, thanks Barry

      2. Polecat RE: Barry Strugatz Apr 8, 2009 05:38 PM

        In writing of the liver dish, Sietsema gives us the quote of the year, "...careful cleansing has reduced the taste of urine to near-zero."

        In other words, I'm there.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Polecat
          jen kalb RE: Polecat Apr 8, 2009 08:23 PM

          kidney. I couldnt imagine urine flavored liver.

          I really dont much trust Sietsema's actual food taste or care much for some of his verbal antics (like the above) or the tea smoked duck whose " dense flesh tastes as smoky as a trash fire in a roadside waste can" ? That simply doesnt sound appetizing. But he does seem to get around.

          1. re: jen kalb
            Polecat RE: jen kalb Apr 9, 2009 06:18 AM

            kidney, yes, kidney. my bad.

            and, yeah, you're right. some of those descriptions hardly get my appetite going either. i've agreed with him at times, and at other times not. but, i have to admit, i'm a sucker for the wordplay.

            1. re: Polecat
              Bob Martinez RE: Polecat Apr 9, 2009 07:14 AM

              Over the years Sietsema has steered me to a number of great places. He's also encouraged me to go to places that I thought were only OK. His problem is that he's a romantic - he falls in love and it clouds his judgment.

              "I've just met the prettiest girl in the world!!!"

              Well, she's cute enough but "prettiest" might be an overstatement. You've got to take his reviews with a grain of salt.

              1. re: Bob Martinez
                Polecat RE: Bob Martinez Apr 9, 2009 08:46 AM

                I like the romantic aspect, the enthusiasm. If it clouds his judgement, so be it - I'll gladly take that grain of salt. My overall experiences re being in line with his opinion pretty much mirror yours - but I always look forward to his reviews, not just for the insight but for the overall entertainment value.

                In the case of this particular review, what I'd take issue with is not so much his declaring Bamboo Pavillion as being NYC's best Sichuan - perhaps it is. But it seems like he's relegating some Flushing venues, places that he's heaped praise on in the past, to serving up food that's merely spicy and more one-dimensional. If anything, much of the food I've had at Spicy and Tasty and other places meets that very same criteria - not just spicy but also balanced.

                1. re: Polecat
                  Bob Martinez RE: Polecat Apr 9, 2009 09:29 AM

                  Exactly. It's not like those other places have slipped. I'm willing to believe that there's a good Szechuan option in Bensonhurst but I'm really skeptical of his decision to call it "the best." In my experience all of the leading restaurants are quite good and each has particular dishes where they excel. Szechuan Gourmet's pork belly with chili leeks is outstanding; the duck with green beans at Grand Sichuan House is a wonderful dish. The trick is to find those dishes and order them. I've never been at any of the leading Szechuan restaurants in the 5 boroughs and thought that *every* dish was better than the similar offerings at the other places. They each have their special strengths and do the rest of the dishes well.

                  Lets look on the bright side. At least Sietsema didn't pull the Xiao La Jiao trick and call Bamboo Pavilion by it's Chinese name. As I said years back, unless you speak Chinese anybody looking for a sign that said "Xiao La Jiao" would never find the place since the only English words outside the place said "Little Pepper."

                2. re: Bob Martinez
                  apossibleworld RE: Bob Martinez Apr 13, 2009 11:59 PM

                  I'd call Sietsema's excitement "inspired", and I'd take with a grain of salt some other reviews that are entirely too methodical.

                  1. re: apossibleworld
                    Bob Martinez RE: apossibleworld Apr 14, 2009 06:12 AM

                    I don't want an excitable critic or one who is so jaded that they underrate perfectly good restaurants. I want an *accurate* critic.

                    Sietsema is like one of those ovens that runs 15 degrees too hot. If you know that you can make an adjustment otherwise you're going to overcook a lot of food.

                    In the next week or so I'm going to try to get out to Bamboo Pavilion to see how close he came this time.

          2. bobjbkln RE: Barry Strugatz Apr 10, 2009 09:18 AM

            No, thank you, Barry. After your earlier posts we had intended to go to BP but hadn't gotten around to it yet. We were quite disappointed on our three trips to Grand Sichuan House (and only went back because of the raves here). We went to Bamboo Pavilion last night and were very pleased. The dishes were nicely spiced, although at the lower end of the heat scale. I'm sure that if we had asked, they would have turned it up a bit for us. The meal started with complementary snacks (as in amuses bouche or banchan) including a wonderful garlic sauced bamboo shoots. The wet dishes, Dan Dan Noodles and the Chengdu Spicy Fish Fillet , were almost soup-like although all the ingredients stood up well. The meat in the dry dish, however, the Geleshan Spicy Chicken was a bit too dry. I don't think we'll order this one in the future, but there are enough other choices to try, including, as we discovered too late, some interesting looking specials a Rolodex like device with picture cards on the table. The decor is very simple, but pleasant . Service was extremely friendly, with no language issues at all. It is somewhat more expensive than what is listed on the on-line third party menu. Still, our meal, with tax and tip with the two entrées, Dan Dan noodles and two beers was under $50. Highly recommended. As a bonus, after the meal, you can cross the street and have a dessert pastry at Villabate (we resisted).

            Note that despite the Village Voice article which was also linked to by lots of local blogs, the place was empty. One other couple (Chinese) and a single takeout order while we were there. They deserve better.

            1. Luke Constantino RE: Barry Strugatz Apr 12, 2009 06:53 PM

              Bamboo Pavillion is amazing! Tonight I had the shredded pork with bean curd and celery. I think I'm going to chance the house special frog net time! Seems like I'm not the only one...
              I wrote a post on BP too.
              Hope to meet some of you hounds there soon!

              1. b
                blehrer2 RE: Barry Strugatz Jun 5, 2009 08:50 AM

                if you have spent any time in China you will understand that this place is one of only 2 or 3 in NY (not including Grand Sichuan and its siblings) that are the real thing! it's worth the trip to Bensonhurst.

                6 Replies
                1. re: blehrer2
                  noisejoke RE: blehrer2 Jun 5, 2009 04:42 PM

                  We went four times in May! So awesome, especially for something so close and convenient.

                  1. re: blehrer2
                    Steve RE: blehrer2 Jun 10, 2009 01:10 PM

                    blehrer2, What are the other two? And can you rec any particular items?

                    1. re: Steve
                      noisejoke RE: Steve Jun 10, 2009 10:37 PM

                      Spicy & Tasy, and Little Pepper in Flushing. Search CH for previous extensive conversations regarding both.

                      1. re: noisejoke
                        Steve RE: noisejoke Jun 11, 2009 05:53 AM

                        Yeah, I was just wondering what blehrer2 thought since it is a first post and is a bit arrogant (which I don't mind).

                        I'll repeat a question from another thread: if I were interested in little plates (xiao chi), which restaurant do you think I should go to?

                        1. re: Steve
                          jen kalb RE: Steve Jun 11, 2009 05:58 AM

                          If I recally correctly, Spicy and Tasty has an array of cold dishes up front for this kind of service.

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            noisejoke RE: jen kalb Jun 11, 2009 02:51 PM

                            Sorry, was I being a jerk? It was late!

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