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Mapo Tofu Murray Hill

Motosport May 27, 2010 12:56 PM

After walking past Mapo Tofu for about 6 months we finally had dinner there last weekend.
I.M.H.O. fabulous creative Szecuan cuisine. Very friendly and attentive staff, exotic items on the menu (Duck tongue, etc) and very fresh ingredients.

Has anyone else tried it?

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Mapo Tofu
338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

  1. k
    kathryn May 27, 2010 02:43 PM

    How would you rate it in comparison to Szechuan Gourmet or Lan Sheng?

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

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn
      Motosport May 28, 2010 07:31 AM

      Unfortunately we haven't been to those two places. We usually head down to C town. So many restaurants, so little time.

    2. n
      nooyawka May 28, 2010 09:04 AM

      I LOOOOOOOOOVVE mapo tofu. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I gotta stop in and try it sometime.

      1. bigjeff May 28, 2010 10:55 AM

        interesting . . . . . so that's the name of the joint? will check it out; the area is lousy for chinese food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bigjeff
          u
          uwsister May 29, 2010 02:54 PM

          I'm guessing the name of the place is Mapo Tofu. I also love Mapo Tofu - how is theirs?

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          Mapo Tofu
          338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

        2. scoopG May 31, 2010 04:46 PM

          Thanks Motosport for this find. Your post prompted me to re-visit Szechuan Gourmet once again and Lan Sheng (for the first time) in an attempt to brush on my Sichuan chops.........ticks!

          While it is probably the best in Murray Hill, IMHO it is not as good as Lan Sheng and well below that of Szechuan Gourmet in overall quality and variety of menu offerings. That said, the folks at Mapo Tofu are very friendly, aim to please and the white-napkin service was excellent. They also had a couple of interesting dishes and a special menu list of 11 “Modern Sichuan Dishes” which might be worth exploring further. I am not entirely clear though how modern Whole Fish with Chopped Pepper Sauce, Mapo Bean Jelly and Spicy and Aromatic Pork Intestine really are…Here is what I had:

          Dan Dan Noodles – not bad. Hot delights on the bottom with minced ground pork, scallions and some spinach on top. No evidence of Sichuan peppercorns or pickle in this version though.

          Sautéed Chicken with Roasted Chili and Peanut (Kung Pao) – not as good as Little Pepper (in Flushing) or Szechan Gourmet. No detection of Sichuan peppercorns, ginger or much garlic. Whose idea to add green peppers?

          Chef’s Mapaul Tofu with Chili-Minced Pork – The best dish by far. Good ma la present. Don’t know why a place called Mapo Tofu would name their signature dish with Rupaul in mind!

          Pickled Mustard Greens with Yam Cakes - 酸菜燒蘑芋 (Suan1 Cai4 Shao1 Mo2 Yu4) The dish is studded with konjac, not yam cakes! Trying to remember the last time I saw this on a NY menu….just a hint of pickled mustard greens here, which are finely shredded. Also contained flattened black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, plenty of chopped garlic bits and few red chili pepper skins. For more on konjac:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konjac

          Sautéed Spinach with Garlic - Fresh with lots of shaved garlic pieces. Excellent.

          Wok Tossed Crispy Lamb Fillets with Chili-Cumin – Couldn’t taste the chili or cumin. Uhm....

          Slideshow:
          http://picasaweb.google.com/roswellhi...

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          Mapo Tofu
          338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

          2 Replies
          1. re: scoopG
            k
            kathryn May 31, 2010 09:04 PM

            Some people have noticed that parts of Mapo Tofu's menu seem like a carbon copy of Szechuan Gourmet's menu...and SG also calls the dish "ma paul tofu" on the menu.

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

            Mapo Tofu
            338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            1. re: kathryn
              scoopG Jun 1, 2010 05:59 AM

              Some similarities (and differences) across the menus of Szechuan Gourmet, Mapo Tofu and Lan Sheng! Yes, both SG and MT use the same words "Chef's Mapaul Tofu with Chili Minced Pork." Lan Sheng uses "Chef's Mapo Tofu with Minced Pork" and it is under the Vegetable section of their menu.

              But SG, MT and Lan Sheng all use different words to describe the Gong Bao (Kung Pao) Chicken. All three like to use the word "Vinaigrette." MT offers Peking Duck but SG and LS don't. All three offer Main Lobster. LS and MT offer Tangerine Beef but SG does not.

          2. f
            fooder May 31, 2010 04:57 PM

            This is the Mapo Tofu that used to be Wu Liang Ye? They changed the name because of the negative press but I don't know if the kitchen has changed. How does it compare to Wu Liang Ye?

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            Wu Liang Ye
            36 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036

            Mapo Tofu
            338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            1 Reply
            1. re: fooder
              scoopG May 31, 2010 05:03 PM

              Well I think the quality of the various WLY branches varied. I loved the midtown one (is it gone too?) and thought the East 86th street branch only so-so. Since the kitchen here was set up for Chinese it only makes sense that it remain a Chinese restaurant, especially if the landlord wanted to rent it out quickly.

            2. Phil Ogelos Dec 30, 2010 01:11 PM

              It's too funny that I've come across this thread this aft.
              Mapo Tofu is my second-string Chinese resto -it and a dive on Second & 46th being that many blocks closer to me than Phoenix Garden [40th btw 2nd and 3rd.].
              Anyway, I entered Phoenix Garden last night for dinner. The maitre d' scowled as usual upon seeing me but I wasn't in the mood for his frigidity at that very moment.
              "Every time I come in here," I said to him, "you glower at me."
              "Out, out," he replied, "you're no longer welcome in my place; never come back!"
              So I left [not for forever, I guess, but for long enough that the man knows how much his glowering is macho-silly-macho].

              ~ This moratorium is no great loss to me; PG's cuisine is Cantonese on the bland side ~

              2 Replies
              1. re: Phil Ogelos
                s
                sugartoof Dec 30, 2010 07:49 PM

                Why go back at all, if the food is just second string, and they don't seem to want your business?

                1. re: Phil Ogelos
                  Motosport Dec 31, 2010 05:41 AM

                  What the heck happened @ Phoenix Garden?? It's my go to place for Cantonese food. We recently had a fabulous meal for 8 people that was very reasonable, about $200 before tip. We even ordered a couple of whole fish dishes and didn't skimp.
                  They don't serve liquor which may explain the low tab.
                  The host is always very gracious to me. Yikes!! Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde syndrome?

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                  Phoenix Garden
                  242 E 40th St, New York, NY 10016

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