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Flushing Sichuan

Can anyone either round up for me the consensus opinion re: the state of the art of Sichuan restaurants in Flushing, or else point me to a good recent thread doing so? E.g. is Sichuan Dynasty still great?

I used to know this like the back of my hand, but I've neglected Flushing for several years.

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  1. For me it's still Spicy & Tasty, then Little Pepper. Havent like or loved Szechuan Gourmet @ all. But, there's so much going on in Flushing these days. Oh, to still live on the Q17

    1. As for "real" restaurants, I'm not sure there's any consensus between Spicy and Tasty or Little Pepper. Chendu Eats in the basement mall gets lots of votes too. Szechuan Gourmet gets mentioned much less frequently but I've rarely heard a bad word about it.
      If you wait a while, Spicy and Tasty will win easily as Little Pepper has a long planned move to College Point in the works.
      Where is Sichuan Dynasty?

      1. I was at Spicy & Tasty last week after a day session at the US Open. It's as good as ever.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bob Martinez

          Sichuan Dynasty was at 135-32 40th Road, but may have closed a couple years ago. I'm figuring Golden Monkey is closed, as well. I feel like Rip Van Chowhound.

          1. re: Jim Leff

            I honestly think there's never been a better time to eat Szechuan food in New York. S&T and Little Pepper are still at the top of their game. There have been hundreds of posts about great places in the various Flushing malls. In Manhattan Szechuan Gourmet sets the gold standard, followed closely by Wu Liang Ye and various branches of the GSI mini chain. And finally, wonder of wonders, there's outstanding Szechuan food in Brooklyn - Grand Sichuan House in Bay Ridge.

            I know others will chime in with even more places. You've got some great meals in your future.

        2. Just noticed Brian S' thread about Chengdu Heaven http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/451804
          ...which, if I understand correctly, is in the same food stall area as the place with the really good northern lamb noodles. Still there? still good?

          11 Replies
          1. re: Jim Leff

            Chengdu Heaven is still there. I had Dan Dan noodles two weeks ago and it was great. Also had the cumin lamb burger at the Xi'an stand and it was mediocre at best.

            1. re: ow77

              Still torn between Xiao La Jiao and Chengdu Tien Fu: both are absolutely top notch. Also, Spicy & Tasty is very much respected (and they have the widest selection by far). I wouls also consider Gourmet Sichuan @37 St, especially for their whole fish.
              All in all, Flushing has the best Sichuan food. I would go as far as claim that XLJ and CTF are possibly the best Sichuan places on the whole Eastern US seaboard.

              1. re: diprey

                I actually think Flushing might be better for Sichuan than anywhere in the US. LA obvs more awesome for Chinese and Asian in general, but I'm not sure for szechuan...

              2. re: ow77

                try the lamb face salad at the xi'an stand, paired with an order of his liang-pi; the first is way rich and the second will counteract it.

                1. re: bigjeff

                  I second the liang pi suggestion; it's my favorite dish in downtown Flushing.

                  Spicy and Tasty, in my humble opionon, is a notch above Little Pepper. We eat there at least once a week.

                  1. re: ZenFoodist

                    S&T might be better overall but the cumin lamb at LP is pretty tremendous and (IMO) must be sampled. Also like the qong king chicken or however you spell it @ LP.

                    1. re: Jack Barber

                      Is the cumin lamb anythign like the lamd @ the old Waterfront International???

                      1. re: MOREKASHA

                        Not sure -- but I will testify to its quality.

                        10x better than szechuan gourmet (which I otherwise am v positive about), the only other rendition I've had.

                        Here's a photo, from www.goodiesfirst.com:

                         
                        1. re: MOREKASHA

                          The flavor is similar to that at WI, but the texture is different. I recall WI's version to be crispy and dry. LP's is moist and tender with onions and cilantro.
                          LP's cumin lamb is the best combination of those two ingredients I've had in the city.

                          1. re: Joe MacBu

                            I couldn't agree more - Little Pepper's cumin lamb sets the standard for that dish as I know it. I've found that Metro Cafe in Sunset Park offers a similarly moist, cilantro-laden take on cumin lamb.

                    2. re: bigjeff

                      wow, thanks for a great idea. will try!

                2. Not trying to be the guy who disagrees to disagree, but went to S&T today for the first time and HATED it. We went around 5:00 (nobody else in the restaurant). We ordered the wontons in chili oil, shredded pork with dried bean curd and double cooked pork. First, no spice at all in any of the dishes (realize the dried bean curd was intentional). We went all over Flushing today and all agree that S&T was really bad. Seriously like LI strip mall bad. Could it be just an off hour and their "real" chefs weren't around? Anyone experience anything like this here?

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: houston

                    s**T, Never had this problem. The wotnons aren't blow your taste buds through the roof spicy or ma la. But...if new, I'd suggest asking for spicy and for ma la on the appropiate dishes. The twice cooked pork is not a spicy dish as far as I've had it. Net time, go to the front counter and get some of the dishes that are redish, (chilli oil) also the cold chilly noodles, and look for dishes o nthe menu that mention chilli or printed in red or have starts next to them ( I dont have the menu with me, but i believe they list what's spicy) on th emenu....

                    1. re: MOREKASHA

                      I've been reading thru a lot of the recent threads, and get the feeling there may have been a recent decline at S&T.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        I have experienced this restaurant over time, a visit here, a visit there, over the past few years, dating back to their previous location. There has been no decline whatsoever.
                        P.

                        1. re: Polecat

                          As I said earlier, I visited S&T a couple of weeks ago after a day at the US Open. Recently I've been eating at other Szechuan places a lot more than S&T because I haven't been getting out to Flushing that much. I was interested to see how they'd hold up. The short answer - they're still at the top of their game.

                          We had:

                          Dumplings in Red Chili Sauce
                          Dan Dan Noodles
                          Shredded Dry Beef w. Spicy Sauce
                          Sauteed Broccoli w. Dry Pepper
                          Enhanced Pork

                          The shredded beef was a new dish for me, the others were all old favorites. All were full of crisp balanced flavor and suitably spicy.

                          Pictures of all the dishes are here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/64756738...

                          You'll note the generous portion of whole red peppers and red pepper flakes. There was also plenty of buzzy zip in the noodles from Szechuan pepper corns.

                          When I used to go more frequently I was known to the staff. Since I now only get over there 3 or 4 times a year that's not the case. Having said that, I never have any problem getting the food suitably spiced and I don't have to do anything special. I don't speak Mandarin, I don't have any secret signs that I flash to the chef, I don't show them my passport which proves that I've made 178 trips to Chengdu Province.

                          I just smile and ask for the food to be spicy. They take me at my word. Maybe I look like I mean it but I suspect virtually anyone who looks comfortable ordering these dishes can get the same.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                            Pictures look great and way better than anything we had. The problem wasn't necessarily the spice level (although it could have been spicier). The food just wasn't good. None of it. Honestly. Anyway, I will chalk it up to an off moment and hopefully try again with better success another day.

                            1. re: houston

                              yeah i think its pretty solid, I'd give it another shot before you write them off

                              btw did you happen to go at an off hour or something? Could that the regular chef was off or something?

                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                Great pictures Bob. Are you supposed to eat all the peppers mixed in with the other ingredients? It seems a bit excessive.

                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                  They impart plenty of spiciness to the dish but I don't eat the whole peppers. There are smaller diced bits that I do eat.

                        2. re: houston

                          I am there once a week. Usually on Wednesdays or Fridays. And I have never experienced anything even remotely like this. I go later though. Closer to 7:00pm. Sorry you had such a sub par experience, LI Strip Mall Bad, is Very Bad when it comes to Chinese food. Perhaps it was because you were a first-timer and they dumbed the food down for you thinking you could not handle the incendiary-ness ( is that a word?) ? WhenI walk in they know I want it HOT. VERY hot.

                          1. re: houston

                            It's funny how your post jogged memories of several visits to S&T a few months back. Having had exceptional meals there in past years (including numerous items from the front case) I was dumbfounded to find the food utterly unremarkable - one note, generic, even bland. Maybe giving clear specifications with each order might help but that had never been necessary in the past and caught me unawares. Frankly it's a bit much to have to remember which preparation instructions to supply with each dish on pain of receiving a mediocre meal. For this reason I've shied away from S&T in recent months. Glad others have had more success and managed to avoid these issues. For now I'm happy with Little Pepper and the Chengdu stall mentioned above.

                            1. re: houston

                              I think you ordered wrong. I've been eating there for years (at least once a month, sometimes more often) and other than one bad incident involving a fish on New Year's Eve I've never had a problem. Never. That said I know what I like and nothing you ordered is anything that I order there -- not their specialties.
                              I always order a selection of the following: to start, either the cucumbers or the bamboo shoot, though I sometimes have ordered the wasabi clams if I'm there with a group. Then I order the mild spicy chicken or whatever it's called, always specify that I want it with the bone-in. Then either kung pao shrimp (called something else on the menu) or the pickled turnip shrimp, the hollow vegetable or watercress, the dry cooked bitter melon, the fish in the spicy sauce that's on the last page of the menu, and sometimes, if I want something mild, the little shrimp with the tofu dish -- very gentle, but a nice counter balance. The lamb dishes I do like better at Little Pepper. But I would say that Spicy and Tasty is my favorite restaurant in all of NYC (I live nearby so that helps), judged by the place I back to again and again and introduce to friends.

                              1. re: Mandu

                                "I think you ordered wrong."

                                He ordered *differently* from you but he didn't order "wrong." I've had almost every one of those dishes multiple times and they've always been outstanding. You're also incorrect about those dishes "not being their specialities."

                                Wontons in chili oil? A mainstream Szecuan staple. Ditto double cooked pork and the shredded pork with dried bean curd. (This was a dish that the first incarnation of S&T had on their menu listed as "hot." It became a mild dish when they moved to their new venue. I've always asked that they make it hot, as before, and they oblige me. The dish has always been great. I've had it dozens of times over the years.)

                                By all means keep ordering the dishes that you like. Obviously it works well for you. I only wanted to correct the idea that the dishes that Houston ordered were some kind of lame stuff that isn't truly Szechuan.

                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                  Bob, Thanks for the tips. Now I have to order the twice cooked pork like you do.

                                  1. re: MOREKASHA

                                    MK, while I've had their twice cooked pork it was awhile ago. The Enhanced Pork, a similar dish, is the one I order frequently. (It's similar to the double cooked pork with chili leeks served at Szechuan Gourmet on 39th St. in Manhattan.) I also highly recommend the shredded pork with dry bean curd. The pork is mixed with slivers of celery. (Not a lot, just enough to flavor the dish) The dried bean curd has a great texture, like the best al dente pasta, and it also has absorbed the full flavor of the sauce. Ask for it to be made spicy (the way it was prepared at their first location.)

                                    At one point I was hitting S&T 2 or 3 times a month and I was more inclined to eat my way through the menu. Now I go less frequently and the temptation is to always order my favorites. I'm doing my best to fight that bit of laziness. On my last visit I ordered a new dish for me, the shredded dry beef with spicy sauce, and thought it was terrific.

                                    Honestly, I've never had a bad dish at S&T. They range from the merely good all the way to excellent.