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Lan Sheng – First Rate Szechuan in Midtown

Bob Martinez Dec 14, 2009 09:18 AM

If you were going to open an excellent Szechuan restaurant in midtown would you decide to place it almost right across the street from Szechuan Gourmet on 39th St.? It’s an interesting question. What’s not in doubt is that Lan Sheng is a worthy competitor. It might even be better than that.

Lan Sheng opened in October of this year and somehow I only found out about it last week. Since we had an afternoon theater date this past Saturday at the nearby Laura Pels it seemed like a perfect opportunity to check them out.

Lan Shen is a handsome place with cozy banquettes and white tablecloths. The lighting is more subdued than similar Chinese restaurants. Clearly they’re making an effort to be a bit more upscale than neighboring Szechuan Gourmet (which itself is more than passable.)

Slideshow - Slideshow - http://www.flickr.com/photos/64756738...

When sussing out new restaurants I first like to order versions of dishes that I’ve enjoyed at similar places. That way I can establish a baseline. If they’re good I branch out to other parts of the menu on subsequent visits. We followed that plan on Saturday.

Dan Dan noodles were suitably spicy and after a minute we felt the pleasant buzz of Szechuan pepper corns. We noticed that the sauce was a bit thicker and more complex than similar versions served around town. We also picked out a slight bit of sweetness that might bother some diners. We thought it wasn’t enough to overwhelm the dish and added an interesting note. If this is the type of thing that bothers you, be warned. I think most people will like this dish a lot.

Chengdu Wontons with Sichuan Peppercorn Vinaigrette were firm, meaty, and delicate. While the sauce was completely different than that used with the dan dan noodles we noticed the same complexity and light touch of sweetness as in the previous dish. Very good indeed.

Double Cooked Streaky Pork with Spicy Capsicum is our old friend pork belly, accompanied by hot and sweet peppers. This was an excellent dish – the flavors of the peppers played off the richness of the pork belly. The heat level was high enough to add interest without overwhelming the ingredients.

It was lunchtime and we really couldn’t eat any more without running the risk of spoiling our dinner plans. We ate too much anyway and we certainly wanted to eat even more. Everything we had was skillfully prepared; I got the strong feeling that there are a lot of great dishes on the menu waiting to be discovered. We’ll be back.

As for the location, my guess is that Lan Sheng is hoping to catch Szechuan Gourmet’s spillover lunchtime crowd. (My understanding is that SG gets crazy busy during the week.) The good news is that Lan Sheng won’t be viewed as some sort of weak fallback when SG is jam packed. It’s serving first rate food in a room with superior ambiance. My guess is that they’re going to do just fine.

Extra points:

While they had beer available they don’t serve wine yet. When we asked about it they said “Soon.”

A small complimentary dish of pickled vegetables was placed on the table for nibbling while we made our selections. Good stuff.

When they brought our check they also gave us 2 “$5 Off” coupons that can be used on bills of $50 or higher. I have a feeling that they’re not going to need to offer this deal for very long.

The place had about 4 tables filled at 1:00PM on a Saturday afternoon. I expect that business will pick up nicely once word gets around.

-----
Lan Sheng
60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

  1. Bob Martinez Dec 14, 2009 10:00 AM

    For some reason my edits to my original post aren't being accepted. The restaurant's address and website -

    Lan Sheng
    60 West 39th St. (between 5th and 6th Ave.)

    http://lanshengrestaurant.com/default...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Martinez
      buttertart Dec 15, 2009 11:38 AM

      Looks fantastic, thanks for checking this out and posting! My mouth is watering after looking at the dishes on the website.

    2. Miss Needle Dec 15, 2009 11:53 AM

      Thanks for your report. Actually, I think Szechuan Gourmet's dan dan noodles are kind of weak -- too bland and watery. So I'm excited to try Lan Sheng's version.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle
        Miss Needle Jan 6, 2010 02:19 PM

        DH and I ordered take-out from Lan Sheng yesterday. This is what we had:

        dan dan noodles
        mabo tofu lunch special (with spring roll)
        tofu and shrimp lunch special (with hot and sour soup)
        chinese broccoli with oyster sauce

        The dan dan noodles were overcooked (was wondering if this was because we did take-out as opposed to eat-in), but the sauce was very good. Definitely much better than Szechuan Gourmet. Good amount of spice and Szechuan peppercorns, and it wasn't soupy like SG but more of a sauce.

        The mabo tofu was delicious as well as well as the tofu and shrimp. The spring roll seemed more like an afterthought. The hot and soup soup was decent as well -- I had it for breakfast this morning. Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce was tasty, but had way too much liquid in it.

        Amount of food was more than enough for our lunch and dinner yesterday along with my breakfast this morning. Prices were more than reasonable. Am excited to try other offerings from Lan Sheng.

        1. re: Miss Needle
          Miss Needle Jan 6, 2010 05:03 PM

          I'm actually at work now eating their cubed fish with pickled chili peppers sweating like crazy. I did delivery -- while not as quick as SG, food came in about half an hour. Delicious, spicy, oil and a bit vinegary with slivers of garlic and chunks of ginger. I also ordered their dumplings in hot spicy sauce. It was OK -- the dumplings suffered a lot in the take-out container. I'm thinking this would be a much better dish to eat at the restaurant.

          1. re: Miss Needle
            Miss Needle Jan 7, 2010 10:40 AM

            Just finished the fish for lunch today. Even better than yesterday as the flavors had a chance to meld together a bit more.

      2. b
        bearmi Dec 15, 2009 12:09 PM

        Thanks for letting us know... There hasn't been too many reviews here on Asian or Chinese restaurants lately. It's nice to see the review of something I am interested in eating!

        I should check it out the next couple of weeks I am in the area....

        1. b
          blehrer Dec 22, 2009 02:15 AM

          Great that you guys have discovered it. As good if not better than spicy and Tasty in Flushing and Bamboo Pavilion in Bensonshurst, not to mention many Sichuan places I have eaten in in China. Try the tea smoked duck and Chengdu Chicken.

          -----
          Lan Sheng
          60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

          1. scoopG Dec 22, 2009 11:55 AM

            Thanks for the report! I've never liked Szechuan Gourmet's Dan Dan noodles so I will have to give it a shot here.

            1. l
              Lau Dec 24, 2009 08:49 AM

              wow this sounds like a promising addition, look forward to trying it and i agree with other posters about SG's dan dan noodles as they are kind of weak as are their wontons, GS's version is much better

              2 Replies
              1. re: Lau
                buttertart Dec 26, 2009 07:16 AM

                SG's guotie are super, Taipei style, thin skins and loosely put together - haven't had their wontons. Lan Sheng tomorrow, looking forward to it. And Lau - when you're back - hope you'll report in detail about your trip, you lucky dog? Can't wait to hear about everything.

                1. re: Lau
                  buttertart Dec 28, 2009 05:06 AM

                  Guotie at SG: Yes, like those. Very good. The ones at LS are the usual thick-skinned ones, but good of their type.

              2. buttertart Dec 28, 2009 05:03 AM

                Went to Lan Sheng Sunday. At 2 pm there were about three tables occupied. It's an amusing room - very old-school Chinese restaurant with big upholstered booths along one wall - and nicely appointed, with some light fixtures in the shape of Chinese bells with Mawangdui-style "ears" on the top. We were welcomed warmly and shown to a table for 4 by the owner, who introduced himself as King (from Guangdong, the chef is from Sichuan). He made a point of explaining the Chinese specials menu to us which was very nice - they have hotpot with various meats and tripe, frog, kidneys, etc as well as some more "ordinary" items on the specials menu. We were not in a terribly adventurous mood so had fried pork dumplings (good but not as good as the ones at Szechuan Garden - hereinafter SG), Sichuan pickled vegetable (good, dressed with hot oil, which style I don't particularly like however), "wok-roasted" aka deepfried in batter lotus root slices dusted with ground Sichuan pepper and topped with small bits of chopped green and red peppers, a teriffic cold dish of medium shrimp in a pickled pepper (small Thai green chilis) and sesame oil dressing, Guizhou hot chicken from the Chinese specials menu - deepfried battered chicken with hot peppers and good bamboo shoots, also dusted with Sichuan pepper, and the dry-fried green beans which were the best I've ever had in Manhattan - not sweet, just tangy and savory. Made me wish for some youbing to roll them up in as we used to do in Taipei back when. All of this, with complimentary hot and sour soup which was excellent and Tsingtaos, was $65.00 before tip. A very good restaurant indeed, maybe not quite up to SG yet in our estmation (and we admittedly could have ordered more adventurously and fewer deepfried items), but definitely one to add to the roster of places well worth patronizing.

                -----
                Lan Sheng
                60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                23 Replies
                1. re: buttertart
                  buttertart Dec 28, 2009 05:14 AM

                  PS the restaurant name is Lan Sheng in English only, the characters are Cao Tang - Grass Pavilion. Why Lan Sheng, who knows.

                  1. re: buttertart
                    k
                    kdgluck Jul 8, 2010 01:09 PM

                    FYI, as far as "why Lan Sheng?" Lan is the Manager and Sheng is part of her son's name. I am Lan's husband and my name is nowhere to be seen, but that's o.k. with me. The food is what matters and I'm glad to see all the positive reviews!

                    -----
                    Lan Sheng
                    60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                    1. re: kdgluck
                      buttertart Jul 8, 2010 01:13 PM

                      Nice to know and Lan Sheng is a very good restaurant.

                      -----
                      Lan Sheng
                      60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                  2. re: buttertart
                    KWagle Nov 7, 2010 07:15 PM

                    Buttertart writes of "'wok-roasted' aka deepfried in batter lotus root slices dusted with ground Sichuan pepper and topped with small bits of chopped green and red peppers".

                    I've encountered that dish--and that translation--exactly once before, at the so-called "Wa Jeal." A few of the other translations are similar, including "Ma Paul" and I believe "Yibin-Yacai spiced." This makes me wonder if there's a connection. Since I've been very happy on my several visits to "Wa Jeal" I'd be happy to know their kitchens were collaborating.

                    I have no idea what meaning either restaurant intends by calling it "wok-roasted" but the Chinese name is the usual 椒鹽 or pepper-salt. I like the lotus version a lot--it's become my third-favorite 椒鹽 dish after the "baby squid heads" with cashews at New Big Wong in DC, and the tofu cubes at Hollywood East in Wheaton, MD. Those two spar for first place; at the moment the tofu is winning, but the squid is an amazingly wonderful pile of tentacular goodness.

                    Even the paper menu at "Lan Sheng" does seem interesting. I'm going to have to make a trip to the city to check it out. But I remain curious as to why Chinese restaurants almost always have a Chinese name that's different from the English, sometimes only slightly, such as "Golden Garden" (in Belmont, MA) which is Golden Mountain in Chinese.

                    (A notable exception is Grace Garden in Odenton, MD, which I'm coming to believe is the best *overall* Chinese restaurant I've been to in the past decade, so I'm using this as an excuse to plug them! :D They have a number of standout dishes I can't get anywhere else, the remainder of their menu is well-prepared as well, and the (Christian, thus the name) chef-owner and his wife are both delightful. Easily worth a trip from NYC.)

                    I'd be just as happy to eat at "Grass Pavilion" as at "Lan Sheng." Wouldn't you?

                    ~ Kiran <entropy@io.com>

                    1. re: KWagle
                      s
                      small h Nov 8, 2010 03:42 AM

                      Why do you refer to Wa Jeal as "so-called" and put its name in quotes? It seems like you're trying to imply that Wa Jeal isn't the restaurant's real name. If so, why?

                      1. re: small h
                        KWagle Nov 8, 2010 03:37 PM

                        It isn't the restaurant's Chinese name. I believe, as has been discussed here before, the Chinese name is something like "A hundred rivers flowing to the sea." Was this unclear from my post? I thought I specifically wondered why almost all Chinese restaurants have different English and Chinese names; that should've given it away.

                        1. re: KWagle
                          s
                          small h Nov 8, 2010 04:28 PM

                          I didn't understand what you meant, because Wa Jeal isn't an English name - Wa and Jeal are not English words. You're saying that the restaurant has two Chinese names, one that is written in Chinese characters, and one that is not. (That's assuming that Wa and Jeal are Chinese words. I have no idea.)

                          1. re: small h
                            KWagle Nov 8, 2010 08:22 PM

                            The hostess (not the owner) asserted that they chose it as a transliteration of huajiao, the numbing spice, so as to make clear that they served authentic Sichuan food.

                            1. re: KWagle
                              s
                              small h Nov 9, 2010 04:35 AM

                              Interesting! Now I understand your comment, and thanks for this explanation of Wa Jeal's name.

                              1. re: KWagle
                                buttertart Nov 9, 2010 07:32 AM

                                How many (non-Chinese) people know that the numbing spice is huajiao (would make more sense to call it Sichuan Peppercorn, that way non-Chinese speakers would be more easily clued-in), and why choose such an eccentric transliteration? I suppose these are essentially unanswerable questions.

                        2. re: KWagle
                          buttertart Nov 8, 2010 06:15 AM

                          Lan Sheng comes from the owners' names apparently. I'm not crazy about it or Wa Jeal. I forget the characters in Wa Jeal (and the Romanization isn't standard if it even applies) but it seems to be named for reasons unknown to me after a famous Sichuan restaurant in Suzhou (whose doors we have never darkened, we don't go to SZ to eat Sichuan food).

                          1. re: KWagle
                            f
                            FoodDabbler Dec 2, 2010 03:50 PM

                            I went to Lan Sheng a couple of days after your post. Since I've learned a lot about Chinese food from your Boston area posts I thought that the least I could do on your behalf was to eat for you. They didn't seem to have "wok-roasted" lotus root slices, or at least I had trouble conveying to them my wishes. They served me lotus root in a sort of gingery sauce. It was fine, but not what I was psyched for. I had the Dan Dan noodles, as well, which I liked, and the fish with pickled chilli peppers. The fish dish had a nicely sour taste but the heat didn't take off the top of my head. I also tried the rabbit with millet. An interesting dish, but I wasn't sure where the millet was (at least in a form I recognize -- perhaps they mean something other than the grain?).

                            -----
                            Lan Sheng
                            60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                            1. re: FoodDabbler
                              buttertart Dec 3, 2010 06:41 AM

                              Millet-fed rabbit, maybe?

                              1. re: buttertart
                                f
                                FoodDabbler Dec 3, 2010 06:51 AM

                                That would make me a millet-fed-rabbit-fed man.

                                Have you been to Lan Sheng recently, and did they have the fried lotus root dish you mentioned?

                                -----
                                Lan Sheng
                                60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                1. re: FoodDabbler
                                  buttertart Dec 3, 2010 07:13 AM

                                  No, have not been back, because we really prefer SG or several of the other Sichuan possibilities - Grand Sichuans 3rd Ave / 50's, 7th Ave S, 25th St, and the Old Sichuan on Bayard (which is much better than it has been cracked up to be, especially if you go with the dishes recommended by the bossy lady with longish hair). As far as I know they still have the lotus root dish at Wa Jeal on the UES. Love lotus just about any part or thing, but a ginger sauce sounds as if they may have haole'd it up for you.
                                  PS Mr. Millet-fed-rabbit-fed man, we do not eat rabbit under any circumstances - husband's childhood pet bunny issues - and went past Lan Sheng last Sat noon when SG was packed because they were advertising it on the sidewalk. No can do.

                                  -----
                                  Wa Jeal
                                  1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                  Old Sichuan
                                  65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                                  1. re: buttertart
                                    f
                                    FoodDabbler Dec 3, 2010 07:31 AM

                                    Thanks for the restaurant suggestions. I'll look for the bossy lady with long hair. SG has been my "go to" Sichuan choice, but Lan Sheng was good enough that I'd like to try other things there.

                                    -----
                                    Lan Sheng
                                    60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                    1. re: FoodDabbler
                                      buttertart Dec 3, 2010 08:22 AM

                                      We probably will get back at some point, can't hold the rabbit thing against them, the other Sichuan places pretty much all have it.

                                    2. re: buttertart
                                      southernitalian Aug 20, 2012 12:22 PM

                                      We visited Old Sichuan this summer on advice from CH. I've never had Chinese food like that. Truly amazing.

                                      1. re: southernitalian
                                        buttertart Aug 27, 2012 04:58 PM

                                        The one on Lex? i love that place.

                                2. re: FoodDabbler
                                  KWagle Dec 3, 2010 05:15 PM

                                  Thanks! I've really enjoyed learning more about Chinese food over the past year, so I'm glad others are learning too. :-) I didn't know you were in NYC--I'm planning to drive to and from DC in the next week, so it might be fun to plan a dinner at Lan Sheng and/or Wa Jeal (or both!)

                                  (I can actually be talked into driving down from Boston on short notice, since I like to shop frequently at Academy Records, and occasionally at the Strand as well.)

                                  I looked up the rabbit dish on Lan Sheng's online menu. Pleco (whose live OCR can recognise characters even from a poor image on an LCD!) does translate 小米 as "millet", and Google finds pictures of the grain. Wikipedia claims it's "foxtail millet." How was the dish prepared?

                                  The lotus is listed under vegetables on their online menu, which is comprised of pictures of their paper menu, so they might not offer it anymore. If they have lotus in the kitchen I assume it would be easy to make, but maybe it needs some pre-cooking or something--I've never worked with lotus root. If you like "salt and pepper" deep fried dishes (or if you want to avoid being surprised by deep-fried dishes) it's useful to learn 椒鹽 since these items in particular are often incorrectly translated.

                                  As for pickled peppers (泡椒) I've never found them more than mildly hot, but I generally enjoy them. I do have to say that you did succeed in picking a bunch of dishes I'd be happy to try.

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxtail_...

                                  -----
                                  Wa Jeal
                                  1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                  Lan Sheng
                                  60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                  1. re: KWagle
                                    buttertart Dec 4, 2010 06:56 AM

                                    At the most lotus root just needs peeling and slicing, maybe a brief blanching. It's also sold preprepared in slightly thickish slices. I use it a fair amount, favorite way is thinly sliced, blanched a few seconds in boiling salted water, shocked in cold water, and steeped 12 hrs or so in Tropicana orange-tangerine juice - served cold as an appetizer, as it is at one of my very favorite restaurants in the world, the Wang Si in Suzhou. (I bet they use the Tropicana too, it tastes exactly the same.)

                                    1. re: KWagle
                                      f
                                      FoodDabbler Dec 6, 2010 07:46 PM

                                      Thanks for the suggestions and comments. I'm an occasional Manhattanite, but do like to eat when I'm here (Manhattan right now). I've dropped an email to the address on your profile.

                                    2. re: FoodDabbler
                                      KWagle Dec 22, 2010 05:38 PM

                                      I'm at Lan Sheng, waiting on my Chongqing chicken and dan dan noodles. I spoke to a friendly and articulate young waiter who helped me navigate the menu. He thinks the millet is actually a mistranslation of 小米辣 which he says is a tiny hot pepper.

                                      Now on to the food (he says waiting for his Patsy's pizza to cool enough to be safe to eat.) The chicken was *easily* the best rendition of this dish that I've had. Well-balanced, nuanced, as Polly would say, with Ginger, garlic, scallion, and in my case a fair amount of whole huajiao. If only I had left well enough alone, but I had to have the dan dan noodles too. Those were at best unremarkable, not particularly nuanced, not particularly anything at all. But the chicken alone makes me want to come back and explore the rest of their menu.

                                      I did look for the "wok-roasted" lotus root, but it doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore.

                                      -----
                                      Lan Sheng
                                      60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                3. Bob Martinez Jan 20, 2010 12:12 PM

                                  After a promising lunch visit to Lan Sheng in December last night I returned for dinner. And this time around I brought lots of backup – we were a group of nine. It was a knowledgeable crowd, Szechuan veterans one and all.

                                  I had printed out a menu earlier in the day figuring to get a head start with my selections. It’s sitting next to me as I type this, complete with check marks, circles, scrawled notes, and food stains. It has been through the wars.

                                  Do I need to mention that we ordered a massive amount of food?

                                  Apps

                                  #14 Crispy cucumber – every Szechuan restaurant in the city has a different take on this. Lan Sheng’s featured a sauce slightly thicker than most with a distinct taste of scallion. Very good indeed.

                                  #23 Dan Dan noodles – Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get tired of eating this dish. That day will be a long time coming if I stick to LS’s version. Too often these noodles can be one dimensional at other restaurants. Good but predictable. At LS there’s the usual heat but the spicing was much more complex than standard versions. A winner.

                                  Bean curd and celery (Off menu?) – Served at room temperature, this was very good. Not hammer and tongs spicy, more in the piquant range. Nice.

                                  Tendon & Tripe (#5?) – Was this a combined dish or did we just order tendon? I hope one of our party will clarify this. People raved that that the tendon was actually tender. They liked this a lot. (I’m a tendon agnostic myself.)

                                  Pickled Cabbage (Off menu) – Tasty and refreshing.

                                  Bamboo shoots & shredded pork (Off menu?) – It wasn’t supposed to be spicy and it wasn’t. A nice dish.

                                  Mains

                                  Crab with Greens (a special) – this was a more Cantonese than Szechuan preparation and people seemed to like it well enough.

                                  #114 Sautéed Sliced Lamb with Sichuan Pickles & Celery – This was just terrific, spicy and subtle at the same time. My favorite dish of the evening that featured lots of great food. (At least I think it was #114. It’s the only lamb dish on the regular menu. The atmosphere when we ordered was a little chaotic. In addition to my list the manager was suggesting various specials and people where shouting out favorites. It was fun but a little hard to keep a precise record.)

                                  #75 Stir-Fried Chicken with Spicy Capsicum – This dish is a favorite of mine at the excellent Grand Sichuan House in Bay Ridge. LS’s version was it’s fraternal twin, similar but a bit different. This one is slightly crispier and the spicing was slightly different. I like them both very much.

                                  #118. Stir Fried Streaky Pork with Spicy Capsicum – Who doesn’t like bacon? A couple of weeks ago we had this dish at Szechuan Chalet. SC’s version set the standard, a 10 out of 10. This one was excellent but I’d give it a 9.5. The spicing was slightly less complex but still great.

                                  #103 Smoky Hot Shredded Beef with Spicy Capsicum – Not head bangingly hot but very good indeed. Subtle.

                                  Sides

                                  #164 Sautéed String Beans w. minced pork – An old favorite, done right.

                                  #163 Sautéed Vinegar Potato Strips – A nice version.

                                  #119 Cellophane Noodles with Minced Pork – Again, a very subtle dish but very good in it’s own way. The actual pork, unfortunately, was MIA but it’s flavor was certainly present.

                                  Mung Bean Noodles – (I can’t figure out which version we had.) I am untrustworthy on this dish. When they were handing out the mung bean appreciation gene I must have been out having a beer. The Mung Bean King sitting to my right liked them a lot.

                                  I’ve left stuff out. Maybe someone else who was there will fill in the blanks.

                                  The verdict? Around the table I heard the phrase “best I’ve ever had” more than once. A few people even said that Lan Sheng might be the best Szechuan restaurant in the city.

                                  Me? I won’t play that game because I don’t think it’s fair to the high level of Szechuan cooking going on around the city. Yesterday’s prince didn’t suddenly turn into a frog just because someone new walked in the room.

                                  Lan Sheng is producing terrific food and deserves to be ranked among the best Szechuan restaurants in the city. You should go and enjoy it on it’s own terms.

                                  Extra Points

                                  For now beer is off the menu. The friendly and professional manager kindly let us BYO.

                                  While some of the dishes were robustly spiced others were more subtle. This reinforces the point I made in my Szechuan Chalet post about various spicing levels. Some people think that every dish at a Szechuan restaurant ought to scream with heat. They’re wrong. smile.gif

                                  If you need a bar for a pre-dinner drink Croton Reservoir Tavern (108 West 40 Street) fits the bill.

                                  Prices are gentle and BYO helped even more. With a generous tip the bill came to $26 a person, a fantastic bargain.

                                  Towards the end of the meal the manager introduced us to the owner. We gave her a round of applause. She deserved it.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                                    erica Jan 20, 2010 12:31 PM

                                    Very thorough review of a most memorable dinner! I will add only that the greens with the crab were dou miao, or /pea shoots and the dish was xie rou pa dou miao.

                                    I believe that the lamb dish was the result of a request for a lamb dish prepared with cumin and was not on the menu. The shredded pork and bamboo shoots dish was as good as the version prepared at the reigning masters of this dish, Little Pepper. And yes, I believe that there were both ox tongue and tripe in that much-loved appetizer.

                                    I look forward to returning to order some of the signature dishes, which include several duck preparations and and at least three rabbit dishes along with a complement of fish specials.

                                    An added plus is that the captain/manager, speaks English fluently and was more than happy to answer our repeated questions about the various dishes. Nice decor, too, complete with a waterfall bedecked with colored lights.

                                    Excellent!

                                    Yes, Lau, you need to make a beeline for this place soon!

                                    1. re: erica
                                      Bob Martinez Jan 20, 2010 01:16 PM

                                      A fellow diner has helped me with my faulty memory. -

                                      "The app. we got was ox tongue and tripe, not tendon (last minute change by those of us who like this stuff). "

                                      Erica, thanks for the correction. I wish that I had carefully written down the manager's description of that lamb dish. I'd order it again in a heartbeat.

                                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                                        erica Jan 20, 2010 02:17 PM

                                        Me. too! I have been thinking about the food all day today!

                                        1. re: Bob Martinez
                                          Steve R Jan 20, 2010 04:03 PM

                                          To expand on my correction, it was "Ox Tongue and Tripe with Roasted Chili-Peanut Vinaigrette". It was great. And, yes I like the mung beans... by the way, they were an app. The bottom line on this place is that, after 6-7 apps, 9 mains & a couple of comp'ed things (sweet potato "doughnuts" for each of us & a cold pickled cabbage app), I cant think of anything that was below very good and several of the dishes were best in NY. The food seemed more complex than most of the other places. The dishes contained more blending of ingredients and didnt rely on heat factor to disguise or replace flavors. There was heat but all in context. That's why I started this by writing in the entire tongue/tripe dish title... it reflects this concept, unusual in my experience. All in all, my new favorite place. Yep, more than the Bay Ridge place, Szech. Chalet, Wa Jeal, S&T, Little Pepper, the remaining Wu Liang Ye, the place down the block, the Chelsea place and....

                                          Get there before it changes chefs, owners or just changes.

                                          I'm guessing that Dave Cook will post pictures on eatingintranslation.com

                                          1. re: Steve R
                                            prunefeet Jan 21, 2010 03:33 PM

                                            Oh good, sorry I missed it but glad it's such a strong favorite. I have been 3 times for lunch since it's so close to my office, and now you guys have given me a host of other dishes to try! So Steve, better than Spicy & Tasty, huh??? Wow. Certainly more accessible!

                                            I love the chicken with spicy capsicum, nice hit of szech peppercorns and complexity, and as Bob said, somewhat crisp. A winner. Crispy cucumber appetizer is wonderful. Double sauteed pork very good. Looking forward to seeing some food porn, Dave!

                                            1. re: prunefeet
                                              buttertart Jan 22, 2010 05:28 AM

                                              I would kill to have a restaurant of this quality near work (I work in Secaucus, NJ, where the Chinese food is way beneath contempt and the only things worth eating are Italian sandwiches and pizza, which foods I crave a whole lot less than Sichuan food.) You're one lucky prunefeet!

                                            2. re: Steve R
                                              DaveCook Jan 22, 2010 09:43 PM

                                              Pictures are posted at the tail end of my January 19 Flickr set:

                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/eatingin...

                                              1. re: DaveCook
                                                erica Jan 23, 2010 11:14 AM

                                                Dave those pics are fantastic! I love the sauce-smeared plate! Terrific!

                                        2. re: Bob Martinez
                                          l
                                          Lau Jan 20, 2010 12:45 PM

                                          wow sounds great, ill have to make it here soon

                                          1. re: Bob Martinez
                                            s
                                            StrongIsland Jan 23, 2010 03:30 PM

                                            Work in the area and eat at Szechuan Gourmet all the time. When this restaurant opened I said what others said "are you nuts? Have you looked at who is down the street?" Well I can say now that these guys are very much in the ball game. One thing I will note is that Szechuan Gourmet does seem to pride itself on getting as many specks of red peppers in your meal. Sometimes its virtually impossible to finish its so hot. Where Lan Sheng is differentiating itself, I think, is in showing some judicious restraint with the peppers and letting the food shine. Don't get me wrong I will still go to Szechuan Gourmet but this place is definitely worth a look. A note for lunchers. The weekday lunch special is a great bargain (note SG's is about the same price - $8ish as I recall) so a great chance to try some great food.

                                          2. f
                                            fm1963 Jan 22, 2010 08:23 AM

                                            I'm finally going to Lan Sheng tonight with a vegetarian friend. Are there any vegetarian dishes that stand out?

                                            30 Replies
                                            1. re: fm1963
                                              erica Jan 22, 2010 10:59 AM

                                              The pickled vegetables (carrots, white cabbage, etc; cold) and the cucumber in scallion sauce (cold) were excellent. But in all honesty, I am not sure that it is the best choice for a veg dinner.

                                              1. re: erica
                                                Steve R Jan 22, 2010 11:06 AM

                                                I agree. Any vegetarian should keep alert when ordering and ask questions. Even the veggie sounding dishes: "cellophane noodles w/..." or "tofu with celery" have pork in them.

                                                1. re: Steve R
                                                  f
                                                  fm1963 Jan 22, 2010 11:10 AM

                                                  Yeah that what I thought too. Maybe my veg friend would be happier somewhere else, but thanks for the feedback.

                                                  1. re: fm1963
                                                    Bob Martinez Jan 22, 2010 12:22 PM

                                                    Tell him you'll meet up after dinner. :-)

                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                      f
                                                      fm1963 Jan 22, 2010 12:49 PM

                                                      LOL, we've decided on Hangawi instead tonight.

                                                      But I can't wait to try the dishes you described at Lan Sheng. Maybe in the next couple of days...

                                                      1. re: fm1963
                                                        rebus03 Jan 25, 2010 11:05 AM

                                                        I had a very subpar experience at this restaurant, with them messing up my order of mixed vegetables twice... she brought it out with meat once!

                                                        1. re: rebus03
                                                          g
                                                          gutsofsteel Jan 25, 2010 11:10 AM

                                                          So they mixed up an order....but did you like the food?

                                                          1. re: ChiefHDB
                                                            buttertart Feb 14, 2010 03:31 PM

                                                            I'm surprised at your bad experience, we are not Chinese and felt no such stereotyping. The man in charge even brought us the Chinese specials menu (one of those plastic upright cardholding things) which was not on the table when we sat down without us asking for it and explained the dishes on it (not strictly necessary because we read Chinese but it was nice).

                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                              ChiefHDB Feb 14, 2010 03:52 PM

                                                              Maybe because it was a Sunday afternoon and there were a lot of tourists in the restaurant at the time? I should have just said something to the other young waiter. I was mostly pissed because I paid $17 for that terrible dish.

                                                              1. re: ChiefHDB
                                                                erica Feb 14, 2010 06:13 PM

                                                                I hate to have to report this, but I had a similar occurance at my second dinner here. The captain talked me out of ordering the Lan Sheng special chicken dish, saying that it he would make up something "even better" for our table. Why I agreed, I still do not know, but what arrived was a generic stir fry chicken with vegetables. My fault for not insisting on what I ordered initially.

                                                                1. re: erica
                                                                  Steve R Feb 14, 2010 07:00 PM

                                                                  I dont know if you remember but, when we all first sat down at our first dinner there (the one we had together w/Dave Cook, Bob Martinez & others), he started trying right away to get us to order very generic high end seafood dishes and pushed some things several times. Once he realized that most of us werent going to let him do that, he relaxed and went with the flow.

                                                                  1. re: Steve R
                                                                    Bob Martinez Feb 15, 2010 08:55 AM

                                                                    Lets give the man his due. At our dinner didn't he suggest an off menu lamb dish that was excellent?

                                                                    As a rule when I go to restaurants I'm the type of stubborn person who likes to make my own selections rather that rely on some Menu Wizard who will pick dishes for the entire table. That person may really know what they're doing but in the end they're ordering food that matches their taste, not necessarily mine. Now when I go out with a big group I also enjoy trying things that I might not have ordered for myself but I like the idea that a couple of dishes are my own selections. The hit rate is a bit higher.

                                                                    As far as the waiter/manager at Lan Sheng goes, on the night we went with our group he immediately went into Impresario Mode and started suggesting dishes. We pretty much turned down his immediate suggestions. We were an experienced group who knew the type of dishes we wanted. Later he suggested some things (like the lamb dish) which fit into the flavor profiles we had established with our own selections.

                                                                    At the start of the meal was he trying to bump up the check by suggesting the pricey seafood selections or was he pushing them because he thought they'd be the type of festive and exotic dishes that would appeal to a Middle American audience? I can't really say. I do know that once he realized our experience level he made some very good suggestions and seemed genuinely interested in our opinions.

                                                                    I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm also inclined to recommend that if you've never been to Lan Sheng before you should order dishes that appeal to you rather than put yourself in the hands of someone who met you 2 minutes ago. They don't know you. (That advice holds true for *all* restaurants, not just this one.) Later, if you become a regular, a good waiter might very well be able to make recommendations based on his knowledge of dishes you've previously ordered and liked.

                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                      ChiefHDB Feb 15, 2010 09:39 AM

                                                                      Bob, thanks for the reply. I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt too, and like I said, I probably will go back.

                                                                      However, I ordered three dishes. The dan dan noodles were great. I could have eaten any of the vegetable dishes, so I asked the young waiter to recommend one he liked. The eggplant dish he chose was really good.

                                                                      I also ordered Sautéed Sliced Lamb with Sichuan Pickles & Celery, which I saw from reading your report on it and had sounded like an interesting dish. I realized you guys actually ordered a different dish once I got back. It wasn't recommended by the waiter, but what I was served was nothing like the description, just a stir fry with asparagus, onions and peppers. He said the chef "mixes things up" but how are they out of Sichuan pickle? I should have sent it back. Next time I'll just talk to the younger guys instead.

                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                        erica Feb 15, 2010 01:23 PM

                                                                        Bob: To order the lamb dish that we enjoyed, I showed him the paper menu from Little Pepper with the Chinese writing. I did the same with the dried tofu and celery appetizer.

                                                                        I will certainly give him the benefit of the doubt. But it is important to insist, perhaps more than once, that you want spicy food and you do not want the generic stuff that seems to be the default setting here. Unlike the Queens places.

                                                                        After our second meal, I told him that I was quite disappointed and that the food was not as good as the first time (when you were there). He replied that because I had ordered a few non-spicy dishes (there were a few spice-adverse diners that night) he thought that we did not want ANYTHING too spicy. Even the dishes which are spicy by nature and by design. Mistake! Wrong! But I will certainly look forward to going back--perhaps we can all go together again-- and next time will stick to my initial order!

                                                                        1. re: erica
                                                                          buttertart Feb 15, 2010 02:55 PM

                                                                          I was thinking about this today and think that perhaps when they first opened he displayed and discussed the Chinese menu to too many non-Chinese people whose reaction was "ewww frogs" or something of the kind and it made him think that non-Chinese patrons would not in general be interested. It's not as if we went in (it was right after it opened) looking like Mr and Mrs Sichuan Food Connoisseurs - not that we claim to be - or spoke Chinese to him (he's from the south, we don't speak Cantonese), we could have been random people in from Iowa or whatever. But he went out of his way to show us the Chinese specials menu without our asking for it (in fact he had to get one from another table to do so).

                                                                          1. re: erica
                                                                            h
                                                                            hoi lai Feb 15, 2010 05:40 PM

                                                                            I ordered Ma Po Dofu as a takeout lunch a couple of weeks ago and i asked to have it Ma La. When the waiter brought the order I asked if it was Ma La and he said " yes it was very Ma".
                                                                            Well when I got home and tried to eat it it was so Ma that it was inedible. it was as if the cook was teaching me a lesson about asking for something to be Ma La.I also asked about the Cumin Lamb you described having and she said it would be $9.00 which seemed a low price.Do you remember what you paid because I was wondering if we (the cashier and me) were talking about the same dish.

                                                                            1. re: hoi lai
                                                                              l
                                                                              Lau Feb 15, 2010 06:01 PM

                                                                              fyi, while i didn't taste the food as it could have been ridiculous nor am i not sure what your experience is with sichuan food, but most people (chinese, american whatever) in NY don't actually know how ma (numbing) and la (spicy) sichuan food can be. I mean none of the restaurants in NY are anywhere near alot of the food i had in chengdu.

                                                                              To be honest alot of it was almost too much, I mean tolerance is high, but my friend's family (all from chengdu and live there) were pretty surprised i could even eat any of it even some of them wouldn't eat certain dishes b/c it gave them stomach problems. For example, hot pot in chengdu (best hot pot i've ever had btw) they give you a bowl filled with oyster sauce and sesame oil, the spicy side of the broth is so spicy that you can get a blister on your lip if you eat to much of it straight out without the sesame oil / oyster sauce mixture, which is why they give u the oil b/c it covers the given item and dilutes the spiciness alot (still was sweating bullets)

                                                                              The difference between your experience and my experiences in chengdu might be that in chengdu you would have dishes that were literally killing me, but would prepared so well with such amazing flavor that I couldn't stop eating them even though i was literally in pain and sweating like i had just been running (literally i would keep wiping off my brow and hair b/c i was sweating so badly)....that doesn't sound like the case in your case (doesn't sound like it tasted amazing or something)

                                                                              Xiao la jiao in flushing comes the closest i've had where the waitress was asking us if we eat spicy and we said of course and we want the full sichuan style (a bold statement in hindsight). Half of my friends couldn't eat the food, a quarter were dying and the rest of us were sweating heavily.

                                                                              anyhow, just putting it out there that if the chefs are truly from sichuan and you ask them for real deal stuff you might get something you probably didn't want. I don't usually have this problem of people not making it spicy enough, so i usually don't say anything unless they specifically ask me although I'm quite sure (unfortunately) that its b/c i a) i'm chinese and b) i usually order in chinese; i think most chinese restaurants (as has been well documented on this board) have a bias against non-chinese / asians in the sense that they expect them to like a certain type of chinese food (although that maybe partially due to their experience)

                                                                              1. re: Lau
                                                                                h
                                                                                hoi lai Feb 15, 2010 06:20 PM

                                                                                I've had some very ma la dishes at Xiao la Jiao including the fish fillet in casserole with red hot oil (very ma la ) but the dish had a complexity that was completely lacking in the dish from lan sheng. Maybe it's just me but I don't think the Ma should be so overwhelming you can't taste anything else.

                                                                                1. re: hoi lai
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  Lau Feb 15, 2010 06:33 PM

                                                                                  i actually agree with you i mean i like spicy food probably more so than the vast majority of people, but there is a certain point where i think its generally dilutive to the flavor as opposed to additive although i think in america you much more often have an issue with it not being as spicy as it should be as many posters complain about

                                                                                  this isn't a contest about who can eat the spiciest food....all about actually liking it

                                                                                  1. re: Lau
                                                                                    Bob Martinez Feb 16, 2010 05:24 AM

                                                                                    "this isn't a contest about who can eat the spiciest food....all about actually liking it"

                                                                                    I couldn't agree more. I've been saying that for years -

                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4870...

                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                      buttertart Feb 16, 2010 05:55 AM

                                                                                      And the cuisine isn't all spicy dishes - oneof the best things I ever ate in my whole life was a dish of paper-thin slices of chicken about the size of a playing card with same size and thinness slices of fresh bamboo shoot in a clear chicken stock-based sauce with chicken fat floating on top - the specialty of a particular Sichuan restaurant in Taipei (chef was from Sichuan originally). I understand you are supposed to balance spicy (and different types of spicy, some ma some not) with milder dishes to make a harmonious whole, just as I understand is the case with Thai meals (according to my Thai former sister-in-law). I love and can eat spicier food than just about anyone but it is all about taste, not pain.

                                                                                2. re: Lau
                                                                                  ChiefHDB Feb 15, 2010 06:22 PM

                                                                                  Here's an example of something ordered very ma la at Chengdu Heaven. The lady there recognizes me and thinks I'm crazy.

                                                                                  I get a lot of other dishes there too, and they have no problem making anything seriously ma la or serving me authentic dishes.

                                                                                   
                                                                                  1. re: ChiefHDB
                                                                                    ChiefHDB Feb 15, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                                                    Yes of course flavor comes first. I showed it because they really don't hold back , but there's still a lot of balance between ma la and flavor (the dumpling dish is admittedly not a good example). Like I said, next time I'll be much more firm with the waiters at Lan Sheng about wanting authentic food.

                                                                                    1. re: ChiefHDB
                                                                                      j
                                                                                      Jeffo405 Feb 25, 2010 05:09 PM

                                                                                      I'm trying to get a sense of just how hot this ma la is. For example, the dish you show pictured - traditionally Thai restaurants use 1-5 stars to denote heat. Using this scale (and go beyond 5 as appropriate), how hot would you estimate the ma la dishes to be?

                                                                            2. re: Steve R
                                                                              p
                                                                              Peter Cherches Feb 25, 2010 08:36 AM

                                                                              My guess is that he seems to have learned his lesson somewhat. Didn't try to steer us away from anything we ordered, though he did try to push $24 hot pots from the specials menu. On our way out there two large tables of Chinese diners with hot pots (very big ones), and they did look good.

                                                                              1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                buttertart Feb 25, 2010 08:43 AM

                                                                                Hot pots are of course very big with Chinese diners, especially this time of year - he is probably justifiably proud of them. It's not as if all mentions of special dishes are attempts to rip off non-Chinese customers. Where is it written that Chinese food must be cheap? I wouldn't expect you were of this mindset, Mr Cherches.

                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                  p
                                                                                  Peter Cherches Feb 25, 2010 09:32 AM

                                                                                  I meant the comment to be value-neutral, just an observation.

                                                                                  1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                    buttertart Feb 25, 2010 01:45 PM

                                                                                    I see. I took "learned his lesson" to be a bit stronger in intent than that.

                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                      p
                                                                                      Peter Cherches Feb 25, 2010 03:58 PM

                                                                                      No, just less meddling in people's orders than other posters had implied, at least in our case.

                                                                                      Years ago there was a Thai place in Tribeca, I think called Thai House, that I went to several times with some vegetarian friends because it was very veg. friendly and pretty good, but the owner was so pushy about telling people what they should and shouldn't order that a lot of people got turned off to the place.

                                                                          2. re: ChiefHDB
                                                                            buttertart Feb 15, 2010 05:38 AM

                                                                            Quite possibly - we were there when it first opened and there were very few tables occupied. We didn't feel any effort whatsoever (and we were served by the "older guy" throughout to steer our order away from what we wanted. (My post on our meal there is upthread from 12/28, if you're interested.)

                                                        2. erica Jan 25, 2010 12:46 PM

                                                          I have a question about Szechuan food that I would like to present here. In reading Fuchsia Dunlop, I have come across many references to a style of preparation that she maintains is a signature of the region's cuisine known as "fish fragrant." She refers to this as a preparation that encompasses salty, sweet, sour and spicy notes and whose core seasoning is pickled red chilies. She says it is often used with eggplant and with pork.

                                                          I never seen this term on an (English) menu translation. Is this cooking style commonly known by another phrase?

                                                          Many thanks!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: erica
                                                            l
                                                            Lau Jan 25, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                            you have likely had this before you just didn't realize it, when you see eggplant in garlic sauce, the actual chinese name for it is "yu xiang qie zi", breaking that down:
                                                            - yu = fish
                                                            - xiang = fragrant
                                                            - qie zi = eggplant

                                                            1. re: Lau
                                                              buttertart Jan 25, 2010 01:48 PM

                                                              Yuxiang has also been written as the characters for/translated as the ancient kingdoms of Yu (Sichuan) and Xiang (Hunan) (homonyms for fish fragrant) since the preparations don't taste or smell like fish and the ingredients used in them are not all widely used in fish cookery but are common in southwestern Chinese food. It seems to me Dunlop discusses this as well - the first place I saw it was in Barbara Tropp's big book and it struck me then as farfetched but has come to make more sense to me as time has gone by.

                                                              1. re: Lau
                                                                erica Jan 26, 2010 03:07 AM

                                                                Thank you both SO much! This is why I love CH!

                                                            2. p
                                                              Peter Cherches Feb 25, 2010 08:29 AM

                                                              I went last night with 5 others. I'd agree this is in the top-tier of Manhattan Sichuan restaurants, in the same class as Szechuan Gourmet & Wu Liang Ye and a notch or two above the Grand Sichuans.

                                                              I'll start with the dishes I have comparisons for.

                                                              Dan Dan Noodles - as mentioned, a thicker, sweeter sauce than usual. I found the addition of ground peanuts odd. Had less of a ma la bite than most other places, and while good I think I prefer more "orthodox" versions.

                                                              Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken - different than the preparation at Grand Sichuan. The chicken was boneless, and overall the dish was less spicy, but with a very nice flavor balance.

                                                              Cumin Lamb - Very different than the Szechuan Gourmet version. This had a kind of cumin-chili paste on the meat, and lots of onions. I much prefer the dry version at SG and the Dongbei take on cumin coated dishes.

                                                              Tea Smoked Duck. Excellent with crispy skin and moist sweet meat, and very little fat. I still consider WLY the gold standard. Szechuan Gourmet's tends to be fattier and less crispy.

                                                              We also had Chengdu wontons, which I tried for a break from my usual Sichuan pork dumplings in hot oil (or whatever they call it at most restaurants); good but nothing to write home about.

                                                              Scungilli with chili vinaigrette - I ordered this because I don't see it on all menus and I figured it would be a changeup from tongue/tripe. Interestingly they used the Italian name instead of whelk, which you usually see on Chinese menus. I don't think the dressing works as well on the seafood as with meat.

                                                              Fish cubes with pickled chilis - this may have been my favorite dish of the night. I think pickled chili dishes are mainly Hunan, and I don't remember seeing them at other Manhattan Sichuan restaurants. Lots of large cubes of tilapia filet in an oily sauce with a fairly complex flavor, but no Sichuan peppercorn in the mix as far as I could tell.

                                                              Scallops (a substitution for prawns, which they ran out of--odd) with yibin yicai spiced chili. I think SG makes this prawn dish. The scallops turned out to be a happy substitution as they were absolutely fresh and delicious. The dish features minced pork--perhaps somebody can help--is Yibin spice a mixture of pork, chili and some kind of picked turnip or radish?

                                                              This place may take first place in the seafood department in the Manhattan Sichuan sweepstakes.

                                                              All in all a very satisfying meal, and I plan to sample more.

                                                              In general I'd agree with some of the comments that the hot spice and ma la level is appropriate without being overwhelming.

                                                              http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                f
                                                                fm1963 Feb 25, 2010 08:48 AM

                                                                I had the catfish with tofu recently and really liked it. Based on your review, I should try other seafood items.

                                                              2. s
                                                                sugartoof Feb 25, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                                Lan Sheng is top notch.

                                                                I can't speak to how spicy or authentic the food is, because I don't care, honestly, but the ingredients here are excellent and as quality as you can get in NY. I was severely letdown by Szechuan Gourmet (although I've enjoyed some dishes at their Lexington Ave. spin off) where the quality of the food took a backseat to the peppers, and chili powders. The difference with Lan Sheng is it's great Chinese food, that's become almost impossible to find in NYC, and you can order the Cantonese dishes, and Americanized dishes and find yourself very, very satisfied.

                                                                I was beginning to feel as if NY was taken over by Szechuan cuisine, which didn't appeal to me much....so I wanted to point out that while Lan Sheng can cater to those tastes, it's catering to a broad range of tastebuds too. It's just good.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: sugartoof
                                                                  ChiefHDB Mar 14, 2010 08:45 PM

                                                                  Went back a second time tonight. Here's what we had:

                                                                  Dan Dan noodles, very good, maybe not as good as last time. I agree with others that there could be some more ma la.

                                                                  Baby shrimp in Sichuan sauce. Meh, there are certainly better dishes to order, dining companion wanted something with shrimp.

                                                                  Chengdu wontons were tasty with a very strong ma la bite, more so than in any of the other dishes.

                                                                  Chonqqing Chicken. Big portion, with big pieces of sauteed ginger lots of sesame seeds and and plenty of ma la.

                                                                  Sauteed string beans with minced pork were probably the highlight. I love pretty much every vegetable preparation on Sichuan menus.

                                                                  All in all a very good meal, especially after we were turned away from SG (SG closes at 9, LS at 10). The same older waiter helped serve us along with the younger one. Much less intrusive. I will probably just choose LS by default over SG next time.

                                                                  1. re: ChiefHDB
                                                                    j
                                                                    Jeffo405 Mar 27, 2010 03:23 PM

                                                                    ChiefHDB - you had posted previously about ma la. I'm trying to get a sense of just how hot this ma la is. For example, the dish you show pictured - traditionally Thai restaurants use 1-5 stars to denote heat. Using this scale (and go beyond 5 as appropriate), how hot would you estimate the ma la dishes to be?

                                                                    1. re: Jeffo405
                                                                      ChiefHDB Mar 27, 2010 04:41 PM

                                                                      The wontons, which were the spiciest dish we had, were probably a 3-3/12 on my personal scale (but I can handle a lot), with the chongqing chicken close behind. We didn't order anything "ma la," so we got their default. I also noticed, as Lau reported, that the dan dan while flavorful, were not particularly ma la.

                                                                      The ones from Chengdu Heaven in the picture were a 5.

                                                                      1. re: ChiefHDB
                                                                        j
                                                                        Jeffo405 Mar 27, 2010 04:48 PM

                                                                        The Chengdu Heaven picture looks like an 8!

                                                                        1. re: Jeffo405
                                                                          ChiefHDB Mar 28, 2010 02:14 PM

                                                                          Haha, yeah probably. Much heavier on the ground sichuan peppercorn than the chiles though.

                                                                2. l
                                                                  Lau Mar 26, 2010 06:05 PM

                                                                  i had a less than stellar meal here tonight although part of it was my fault for poor ordering and part it was their fault for bad execution. My gf and i stopped in b/c its not too far from where she lives, i'd been meaning to come here for a while. The restaurant is pretty well covered so i'll skip straight to the food:
                                                                  - dan dan mian (dan dan noodles): this would have been good if had been spicier and they hadn't overcooked the noodles so much. The sauce was not too salty, which is good since alot of places oversalt the sauce and had decent flavor, but they were almost completely devoid of any heat, but the real issue was that the noodles were way overcooked and totally mushy. so this was a disappointment
                                                                  - xiao jiao niu rou si (smoky spicy shredded beef w/ capsicum): i really wanted this dish tonight, but it was a bust as well. The beef was not nearly as tender as it should be, the green peppers themselves were fine, but the sauce was too thick and sort of flavorless, this dish should have a ton of "wok hai", but this had none.
                                                                  - sauteed string beans (forgot what this was called in chinese, <something> si ji dou): this was terrible, the typical sauteed string beans with ground pork...this would have been good if it wasn't so salty. It was ridiculously salty i'm talking like not edible salty. We barely ate any of it.
                                                                  - zhi ma tang yuan (sweet black sesame rice balls in soup): this is one of my favorite chinese desserts and its sorta hard to screw up and it was very typical meaning it was good, nice tender rice dough and sweet sesame filling...love it

                                                                  So as you can tell it was highly disappointing, i think my gf's exact words were "that was terrible". however, i do want to try it again as there were mainly chinese patrons and i looked around and realized that it was partially my fault for not sticking to more hardcore sichuan dishes. Every table had either shui zhu niu rou or shui zhu yu (water cooked beef or fish) and the potato strip dish. So i realized i totally screwed up ordering, but there were definitely some serious execution issues tonight

                                                                  1. d
                                                                    davidm1108 Mar 28, 2010 05:45 PM

                                                                    Just had dinner there last night. LS truly gives SG a run for the money, if one orders correctly. First, you must ask the waiters to translate the specials for you (if necessary). My server did so, shaking his head at the more exotic fare as he ticked off the items, as if to say, 'there's no way you'd be interested in this.' One of the specials he listed was pig's kidney w/chili peppers--GET IT. He stopped himself when I ordered it and actually said, 'not many of you--'
                                                                    before stopping himself. We laughed, and from then on, he was all for helping us pick some authentic, non-westernized (to my palate, anyway) dishes. The kidneys were smoky and slightly tangy, braced with pickled chilis, fungus mushrooms, and scallions. One of the best szechuan dishes I've ever had. Also good were the string beans sauteed with (yibin?) and ground pork; the conch w/chili vinaigrette--fantastic, deceptively mild, with a real edge of on the finish; and the catfish with tofu hotpot. The catfish was so bony as to make the dish perhaps more work than it was worth. All in all, I'll be two-timing around on my mainstay, GS for the foreseeable future.
                                                                    Next time, we'll try the duck ton

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: davidm1108
                                                                      l
                                                                      Lau Mar 28, 2010 06:52 PM

                                                                      see thats weird i got that stringbean dish and it was so salty like ridiculous inedible salty, i mustve just had an off night of me ordering the wrong stuff and the execution being off

                                                                      i need to give it another try

                                                                      1. re: Lau
                                                                        buttertart Mar 29, 2010 07:38 AM

                                                                        When we had the gan pian sijidou there it was exactly as it should be - not too salty, just very flavorful. Sounds def like you hit an off night.

                                                                    2. scoopG May 31, 2010 03:47 PM

                                                                      Finally got around to Lan Sheng and while I agree it is a welcome addition to the Sichuan scene it is just a notch below Szechuan Gourmet IMHO. The Dan Dan Noodles are better than SG but the LS version of Kung Pao Chicken lacked any Sichuan Peppercorns at all. And I like a good Kung Pao with just the usual chicken, peanuts, peppers and spices. No need to add celery and carrots.The delicate Chengdu Wontons were excellent but the Stewed Spare Ribs with Rice Powder had canned peas. Great vegetable dishes in Bitter Melon with Black Bean and Stir Fried Pea Shoots. Service was excellent and while I will gladly go back, I think SG has a more extensive menu. Plus I love the the SG Thousand Year Old Eggs!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: scoopG
                                                                        m
                                                                        Mr Porkchop Dec 5, 2010 05:33 AM

                                                                        I'm a big Lan Sheng proponant, but the time I tried their Kung Pao it was pretty terrible. I think they consider it part of their "Americanized" chinese food menu, and don't try to make it authentically at all, sadly.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Lan Sheng
                                                                        60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                                      2. prunefeet Jul 30, 2010 02:55 PM

                                                                        I hate to say it but I have had very mixed experiences at Lan Sheng. When they are good they are very good, but about half of the time, they are not. It seems like carelessness. I loved them at first, but I'm about ready to give up on them. Once I got my favorite chicken with spicy capsicum, and while it's normally salty, it really tasted as if it had an extra tablespoon of salt in it. In all other ways it was perfectly prepared. Another time I had chicken with asparagus, which was delicious in the past, and it was oddly cold...the sauce had congealed into really hard lumps...maybe they reheated it in a microwave. Am I the only one?

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Lan Sheng
                                                                        60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: prunefeet
                                                                          Bob Martinez Jul 31, 2010 08:41 AM

                                                                          I was there on a weekday evening with a friend and ordered multiple dishes. All hits, no misses. I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience.

                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                            prunefeet Oct 16, 2010 02:02 PM

                                                                            Glad to hear it Bob. I'll give them another go then.

                                                                        2. s
                                                                          sugartoof Oct 16, 2010 11:32 PM

                                                                          I had a mediocre experience with them on a large takeout order. It wasn't bad but it wasn't worthy of the previous endorsements I've given them.

                                                                          A few days after I gave Grand Sichuan another shot, and it was shockingly good. A little MSG heavy, but far above and beyond Lan Sheng even at it's best.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Lan Sheng
                                                                          60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: sugartoof
                                                                            l
                                                                            Lau Oct 17, 2010 07:06 AM

                                                                            which branch did u go to?

                                                                            1. re: Lau
                                                                              s
                                                                              sugartoof Oct 17, 2010 01:46 PM

                                                                              Lexington Avenue, and 33rd

                                                                              I had a lunch special since, that wasn't of the same quality, but still very, very good.

                                                                          2. f
                                                                            FoodDabbler Nov 2, 2011 07:28 PM

                                                                            I don't know if there's a more recent thread on LS, but I thought I'd mention that their menu choices are down (slightly) and their prices are up (*not* a criticism, merely an observation).

                                                                            Lunch:
                                                                            $6.95 a year ago, $7.30 today
                                                                            Missing are items 44a and 44b, Tasty Chicken and Tasty Shrimp.

                                                                            Cold Appetizers:
                                                                            Rabbit with Millet (see above on this thread) is gone.

                                                                            Hot Appetizers:
                                                                            The intriguing Stir Fried Pine Nut Minced Chicken with Lettuce Taco is out.

                                                                            There are other changes, but I'll mention just one more. Under "Lan Sheng Signature", the Roasted Lacquer Duck" is gone. Among other things, this screws up the numbering of menu items. If you ordered #89 in the past, you'd get Frog with Pickled Chilli Pepper. Today you'll get Tangerine Beef. If you were new to frog, you might munch on this and think, "By god, frog tastes just like beef."

                                                                            ----

                                                                            Tonight I had the Szechwan Covered Pork and the Dry-Broiled Sliced Fish (+$2). I'd had neither before. They were both very tasty, but both a bit untrue to their names. The Pork (belly) was covered with nothing, just air (perhaps canned air from Szechwan?), but was resting on a bed of finely chopped, almost caramelized stuff -- mainly leeks. The fish was fried, not broiled, and was too moist to be called dry anything.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Lan Sheng
                                                                            60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                                            1. Bob Martinez Dec 7, 2011 07:09 AM

                                                                              We’ve been back to Lan Sheng about 6 or 7 times since my last post. While all our meals have been good these were all lunchtime visits that were paired with theater dates. As a result, we ate relatively lightly. (A full meal might make me fall asleep and since our theater tickets are in the 2nd row I wanted to avoid that embarrassment.) Last month we finally got back for dinner so we could order more widely.

                                                                              As FoodDabbler recently mentioned, the menu has been updated. Some dishes have been dropped, others added. I’d say there’s been about a 10% churn. The prices are up a bit but not punishingly so. They’ve also borrowed Sripraphai’s trick of providing pictures of some of the dishes.

                                                                              This was the first time we’ve visited on a Saturday night and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. During our afternoon visits, also on Saturdays, the place has been about half full. It was a lot different at night – the place was jammed at 7:00PM. That’s relatively early business for a Manhattan restaurant but not for the young Chinese crowd that predominated at tables set for 8 or 12 people. The effect was much like Legend in Chelsea except that Lan Sheng is considerably smaller than Legend. It was crowded without being noisy.

                                                                              We managed to cadge a table for 2 but that was due more to luck than design. I suspect on Saturdays that it would be better to arrive a bit earlier or after 8:00 when the young crowd began to move on. We’ll keep that in mind on future visits.

                                                                              Here’s a recap of what we had –

                                                                              Dan Dan noodles.
                                                                              http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7022/6467754341_fa67ccfbae.jpg

                                                                              One of the best versions of this dish in either Queens or Manhattan. Suitably spicy and with great depth of flavor.

                                                                              Chengdu wontons
                                                                              http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7022/6467754341_fa67ccfbae.jpg

                                                                              Very nicely done although they were smaller than the similarly excellent version served at Grand Sichuan House in Bay Ridge. The net effect is to leave you wanting about 30% more.

                                                                              As a point of comparison, here’s the same dish at GSH -
                                                                              http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7028/6467764029_8c70772771.jpg

                                                                              Smoky Hot Shredded Beef with spicy capsicum –
                                                                              http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/6467753837_cca22e9110.jpg

                                                                              Perfectly done. The beef was just a touch chewy without being unpleasantly so. (That’s pretty standard with thinly shredded Sichuan beef and pork.) The capsicum added suitable heat which was complemented by the spiciness and touch of sweetness provided by the hot shredded peppers.

                                                                              Special braised pork –
                                                                              http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7034/6467754857_c4f869221b_z.jpg

                                                                              You need to order this. Imagine a meltingly tender pot roast. Now switch it from beef to pork with just the right amount of fat. My GF says it reminded her of red cooked pork. It certainly had a beautiful level of caramelization with a touch of sweetness and a bit of heat too. The accompanying steamed buns allowed you to construct a do-it-yourself sandwich if you were so inclined. My GF liked that; I preferred to meet the meat on it’s own.

                                                                              While it doesn’t appear on Menupages.com it’s easy to find on their in house menu. There’s even a picture. This isn’t particularly cheap as Chinese dishes go. My memory says $17. That said, it can feed two people.

                                                                              Bonus dish – chicken with spicy capsicum.
                                                                              http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7003/6467754093_ce818c276a.jpg

                                                                              We ordered this on our previous lunchtime visit in the early part of November and I actually ordered it by mistake. The night before I had ordered the same dish at Grand Sichuan House in Bay Ridge and if I hadn’t been in a fog I would have chosen something else. Sometimes mistakes work out. They were pleasantly different.

                                                                              This is GSH’s of the same dish –
                                                                              http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7028/64...

                                                                              Both were terrific but they were each distinctive in their own way. Rather than twins these were first cousins, related but by no means identical. I was glad to have the chance to try them back to back.

                                                                              Lan Sheng has been around for just about two years and they remain one of the best Sichuan restaurants in New York.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Lan Sheng
                                                                              60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                s
                                                                                sugartoof Dec 7, 2011 09:41 AM

                                                                                My experience with doing takeout/delivery there is that the food had taken a dive in quality. Good to hear a different report for eating in. I really liked them when they first opened.

                                                                              2. Bob Martinez Mar 16, 2012 01:14 PM

                                                                                After taking in the Wee Gee show at the International Photography Center a few weeks ago (highly recommended) we refreshed ourselves at the Jimmy's Corner and then tucked into Lan Sheng. It remains one of the best Sichuan restaurants in New York. On the dance card -

                                                                                Dan Dan noodles – their usual first rate edition, surpassed only by the version served at Little Pepper in Flushing.

                                                                                Green beans with minced pork – straight from the wok to the plate, piping hot. That’s the best way to eat this dish and that’s what we got. Plenty of crumbly pork too. Nobody does a better version than this and very few places equal it.

                                                                                Chongqing Spicy Chicken – This was a very good version of this dish.

                                                                                There was a good amount of red chilies but not overwhelming pile. The chicken pieces were also pleasingly large. (Some places dice the chicken overly fine making it work to dig it out from the chilis. Not a problem here.)

                                                                                Szechuan Smothered Pork – This was a new dish for me. Surprise! Pork belly! Our waiter warned us.

                                                                                "Lots of fat."

                                                                                “Yes! Yes! That’s good.”

                                                                                It appeared to be braised, not fried. Not surprisingly, it wasn't overly crispy but it wasn't overly fatty either (assuming you like pork belly. I do.) It was cut into quarter inch thick pork pieces half the size of a dollar bill with a thin peppery crumbly brown outer coating. It wasn’t wildly hot but it was certainly fully flavored. This is filling stuff. You may want to skip lunch if you’re planning to order this for dinner

                                                                                In a city filled with very good Sichuan restaurants this dish, along with the smothered pork we had last time, make Lan Sheng a destination place.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Jimmy's Corner
                                                                                140 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

                                                                                Lan Sheng
                                                                                60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  Lau Mar 16, 2012 02:49 PM

                                                                                  pork belly looks great

                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    tongue_to_tail Mar 16, 2012 03:30 PM

                                                                                    Had the Szechuan Smothered Pork when I went there in the fall. It is a great dish - flavorful and tender. I was, however, disappointed by lack of the Szechuan peppercorns in my dish, which is what I thought the name implied. I don't see too many (if any) in your picture either, but maybe I'm wrong - am I?

                                                                                    1. re: tongue_to_tail
                                                                                      Bob Martinez Mar 16, 2012 06:24 PM

                                                                                      Nope. No Sichuan peppercorns in the smothered pork. FWIW in my experience at least half the dishes at comparable Sichuan restaurants don't have peppercorns either. Some rely on chili peppers for their heat, some aren't hot at all. Given the large sample size I take it that's the way these dishes are supposed to be made.

                                                                                      BTW, in my previous post I meant to mention the terrific "Special Braised Pork" we had at our earlier visit in addition to the Smothered pork we had last time.

                                                                                      Braised pork -
                                                                                      http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7034/64...

                                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                        KWagle Mar 18, 2012 01:50 AM

                                                                                        Pork belly with Yibin pickle! Presumably that's the vegetable--this dish has many variants. I wouldn't expect it to have any Sichuan peppercorn in it, and would be surprised it it had any hot pepper in it. Yibin pickle is also used in Dan Dan noodles (I believe) and the deep-fried string beans.

                                                                                        The braised pork looks awesome. Too bad I didn't see this before I drive through town last night. :-/

                                                                                        1. re: KWagle
                                                                                          Bob Martinez Mar 18, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                                          A mild warning about the braised pork. It was on the menu in December but off it this month. I don't know if it's absence is permanent or a one time event.

                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                            KWagle Mar 18, 2012 11:44 AM

                                                                                            It has the look of a New Year special, but that would've been late January this year.

                                                                                            1. re: KWagle
                                                                                              Bob Martinez Mar 18, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                                                              Although I first posted about the dish on Dec 7th it was actually served to us on Nov. 19th. Maybe it's an occasional special and not a New Year's dish?

                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                                a
                                                                                                AubWah Mar 18, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                                                I'm a lunch regular at Hunan Manor and loyal to SG. Whats the lunch special dish to try from Lan Sheng?

                                                                                                1. re: AubWah
                                                                                                  scoopG Mar 18, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                                                                  What do you normally get at SG? You could then do a comparison. My one experience at LS left me underwhelmed but that was a long time ago.

                                                                                  2. r
                                                                                    racer x Apr 5, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                    I visited Lan Sheng late last Thursday night. None of the three dishes I tried was appealing enough for me to want to order them again. The food smelled good but the tastes were just off.
                                                                                    Hopefully, that was just an off night.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: racer x
                                                                                      f
                                                                                      FoodDabbler Apr 5, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                                      What were the dishes and how were the tastes off?

                                                                                      1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                                        r
                                                                                        racer x Apr 6, 2012 11:47 AM

                                                                                        Double-cooked streaky pork with spicy capsicum, stir-fried streaky pork with spicy capsicum, and Gui Zhou chicken. I don't know any words to describe the tastes that I didn't like. The closest for the double-cooked streaky pork might be soapy. The other dishes had completely different flavors yet still weren't as satisfying as I would prefer.

                                                                                        1. re: racer x
                                                                                          Bob Martinez Apr 6, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                                          In 1936 Babe Ruth was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. There were 226 votes cast and Ruth got 215. Eleven people didn't think the Babe belonged in the Hall.

                                                                                          You can't please everybody.

                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                            r
                                                                                            racer x Apr 7, 2012 02:24 PM

                                                                                            Touché. But my post wasn't meant as a swipe at your tastes, Bob.
                                                                                            I've found a number of your recommendations very helpful over the years.

                                                                                            1. re: racer x
                                                                                              Bob Martinez Apr 8, 2012 09:03 AM

                                                                                              I didn't mean my posts as a shot at your tastes either. I just love that Babe Ruth story and I trot it out every 4 years or so.

                                                                                              There are no unanimous favorites here. That's just the way it goes.

                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                                s
                                                                                                sugartoof Apr 8, 2012 08:06 PM

                                                                                                Lan Sheng as Babe Ruth?

                                                                                    2. Bob Martinez Aug 19, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                                                      I blame a friend of mine who recently posted about this place on another food board and before I knew it I was dreaming about their braised pork. I was drawn into the vortex.

                                                                                      This was our 3rd visit on a Saturday night. (All of our earlier visits were lunchtime affairs.) The advantage of going in the evening is that you can eat lots more. The disadvantage is that it get crowded. I tried to head off this potential problem by calling for a reservation.

                                                                                      “You come in, we give you a table.”

                                                                                      Well, I tried.

                                                                                      My instincts were right – when we arrived at 7:00 the place was 90% full, every table but one occupied by the young stylish Asian crowd I’d spotted before at Legend and Hot Kitchen.* The FOH guy took mercy on us and bypassed a couple of free tables against the wall to seat us in the only free booth. That put us in a good mood. To celebrate we ordered lots of food.

                                                                                      In honor of the mid August date we started with Hand Shredded Chicken with spicy sesame vinaigrette.

                                                                                      http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8427/7816171878_cc362bec2b_z.jpg

                                                                                      Served at room temperature, this was a new dish for us. Slightly astringent with a bit of spicy heat, it was a perfect setup for the rest of the meal.

                                                                                      Our second starter was Dan Dan noodles. No picture, you already know what it looks like. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t an excellent version. Lan Sheng’s is a good as anyone’s and better than most.

                                                                                      Next up, Braised Beef Filets Napa Cabbage with roasted chili.

                                                                                      http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8442/7815689014_ac874ce914_z.jpg

                                                                                      There are very good versions of this dish around the city but this has to be my favorite. The beef is sliced very thin and meltingly tender while the sauce was just spicy enough to make things interesting without overwhelming the other flavors. Very good indeed.

                                                                                      A tip - at every restaurant I’ve had this dish the kitchen sends it out with a last bit of concentrated spices right in the center. You need to distribute the spices by stirring to keep things in balance.

                                                                                      I’m saving the best for last. Lan Sheng Special Braised Pork.

                                                                                      http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8282/7815689432_5dce3390dd_z.jpg

                                                                                      “Terrific” doesn’t do it justice. It’s as tender as the best pastrami and equally unctuous. The hoisin sauce glaze supplies a touch of sweetness but there’s a bit of spiciness as well. I split this dish with my GF but honestly, I wanted it all to myself.

                                                                                      We first had this last December and were utterly blown away. When we returned last April they had run out of it earlier that evening. I suspect we’re not the only people who love it. I guess the moral of the story is that persistence pays off.

                                                                                      Another picture –

                                                                                      http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8428/7815689822_432913ba5b_z.jpg

                                                                                      You know what? It tastes even better than it looks.

                                                                                      This dish doesn’t appear on the online menus but it’s easy to find on their in house menu. There’s even a picture to accompany the description.

                                                                                      http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8443/78...

                                                                                      If you go to Lan Sheng you’ve got to order this.

                                                                                      * It’s a long standing tenet of Chowhound that the better Asian restaurants have a “secret” menu that’s not given to Caucasians. Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that the stylish Asian crowd that shows up restaurants like Lan Sheng uses some type of secret Internet that alerts them to these places. You Google restaurants like this and while a lot of complimentary hits show up it’s the equivalent of mild applause. The Asian crowd shows up in droves and gives them a standing ovation. Somehow they find them.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                        l
                                                                                        Lau Aug 20, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                                        looks great, will have to re-visit soon

                                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                          v
                                                                                          vicissitudes Aug 21, 2012 04:21 AM

                                                                                          Funnily enough, I dislike the braised port at Lan Sheng. Too sweet and fatty when I had it. Different horses for different courses.

                                                                                          They have a cold appetizer of jellyfish with scallion "pesto" that I find rather addictive.

                                                                                          I had a poor experience the last time I visited NYC. It was this past winter and the restaurant wanted to close up at 10pm or so. They simply brought out vacuum cleaners and propped open the outer door so the freezing cold air blew in while they cleaned. The few tables of us who were still eating dinner got the message and fled -- but by this time I was on the braised pork course and didn't care.

                                                                                          1. re: vicissitudes
                                                                                            b
                                                                                            barberinibee Aug 27, 2012 06:38 PM

                                                                                            i ate at Lan Shang on Friday for lunch and had the most fun eating their potato strips in a vinegar sauce, braised short ribs and sauteed water spinach. Duds were vegetable dumplings and a dish of dried tofu with "garlic bolts". We couldn't finish up all this food, so they graciously agreed to pack it up to take with us. We discovered the next day that our leftover braised spare ribs had gone missing, replaced bysomebody else's half-eaten noodles of some sort.

                                                                                          2. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                            LeahBaila Aug 24, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                                                            Returned recently, myself. Fell in love w/ Dan Dan noodles all over again. They make a fabulous version! Great report.

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