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What else should I eat at Szechuan Gourmet tomorrow?

I've been lucky enough to work in the Hearst Building for the last few days, which puts me right across the street of Szechuan Gourmet on 56th Street. My last day is tomorrow (I'm a freelancer), so I want my last lunch at SG for awhile to go out with a bang. So far I've had the "Ma Paul" Tofu, the Double-Cooked Pork and Chili Leeks, and the Kung Pao chicken; the tofu being my favorite -- I enjoyed the pork and chili leeks, but wasn't blown away by the dish as others seemed to have been. So, since SG has an overwhelming list of <a href="http://szechuangourmet56.com/food-del... specials available</a> and I only have one more shot for the forseeable future, what should I order tomorrow? I'm new to Szechuan food, but have discovered that I like my dishes spicy and interesting.

(Let's keep it to lunch specials for main dishes -- like I said, I'm a freelancer, not a wealthy business magnate -- but I'd order an appetizer as well if anything's recommended as unmissable.

)

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Szechuan Gourmet
244 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Try the szechuan dumplings in hot oil as an appetizer, and maybe splurge on the crispy lamb with cumin or the shredded tea smoked duck with scallion and ginger. The 56th St. branch of Szechuan Gourmet makes good versions of these dishes, but I'm not sure if they're lunch specials.

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    Szechuan Gourmet
    244 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    1. I'm there for lunch about once a week. You've already had two of my faves from the lunch menu (the Ma Paul Tofu, which may be their best item, and the pork belly with leaks)- the other two are the braised crispy tofu (L21) and the three pepper chicken (they call it stir fried chicken with roasted chili and green chili- L33)- that last one may not be for the faint of heart, but they do a kick ass job on it, and are not light-handed with the Szechuan Peppercorns or sliced garlic, it's probably my #2 fave.

      The dan dan noodles and Szechuan wontons are also worth considering.

      5 Replies
      1. re: TongoRad

        Seconded everything you say. The chicken with roasted and green chili is my go-to order there. As far as appetizers, you also picked the two that I would choose

        1. re: TongoRad

          I agree with most everything you have written. Personally not a fan of the pork belly with leeks, but I know most posters love that dish. I will, however, have to say that their dan dan noodles are one of the weaker dishes. It's pretty soupy and not that tasty IMHO. I think the wontons are a much better option for an appetizer.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Looking at the lunch special menu, I also like braised fish filet with chili miso, shredded beef with spicy asian gree chili, and prawns with chili minced pork.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I decided to go with the three-pepper chicken, which was excellent, and spicy as I wanted it to be. I'd agree that Ma Paul Tofu is definitely my favorite so far -- it had the most Szechuan peppercorn flavor of any of the dishes (to my untrained palate at least) and just really hit the spot. I love eating Szechuan Gourmet for lunch -- eating an insane rollercoaster of a meal is a great way to break up a boring work day.

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

              1. re: tweebiscuit

                Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reporting back.

        2. Well, I am most familiar with their 39th St location, but hopefully would be able to extrapolate.
          Do you want lunch specials or just about anything? does it make sense to llok into more expensive dishes? Would you consider ordering food to share, and if so, for how many people (approximately)?

          1. Had a brilliant lunch there yesterday (lunch specials aren't offered on weekends, by the way) - pork belly with garlic sauce, great potstickers (thin skins and loose filling, very Taipei-style), oxtails with smoked bamboo shoots (whiteboard menu), smoked tea duck, and Sichuan green beans. Should have had the chili chili chicken i/o the duck (wasn't expecting the bamboo shoots to be smoky) but it was all excellent. Pics...

             
             
             
             
             
            2 Replies
            1. re: buttertart

              I like the tea smoked duck too. Thanks for the other suggestions.

              1. re: fm1963

                Those bamboo shoot specails on the white board are v good and I've never seen anything like them before (have been to China several times but never to Sichuan, so they may be ordinary there, don't know).
                The "mund" (mung) bean "jello" with spicy sauce on the appetizers is good too, unusal texture and wildly spicy sauce.

            2. In addition to a number of the items previously noted: Chilled noodles with spicy sesame vinaigrette (superb); braised fish fillets with either silken or crispy tofu; brocolli with spicy garlic sauce (simple and remarkably good).

              1. Based on the reviews, I ordered the double cooked sliced pork belly with leeks and chili the other day (for $13). It was just ok. The meat tasted a little dry, like a sliced-up pork chop and the dish was a little oily. With that said, I'd like to order more there next time, and try some of the mapo tofu and vegetables that are recommended here. The place was packed so it was obvious that a lot of people love it.

                13 Replies
                1. re: mimi222

                  String beans with Yibin bits are delicious.

                  1. re: MRich

                    Pic of them in my post of 1/30 above, and yes they are.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Buttertart, were your pictures from SG on 39th St. or 56th St.?

                      1. re: H Manning

                        39th, we went to 56th once and were served utter slop.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Surprising.

                          I used to order from 39th street and when I switched jobs I started ordering from 56th. I saw little difference, if anything I thought it was a bit better.

                          1. re: MRich

                            It was when they first opened, perhaps we should give them another whirl. But it was bad enough not to make the prospect in the least appealing.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              I order delivery from there a few times a month, just a few days ago I had the string beans. Fantastic as ever.

                              1. re: MRich

                                The 56th St location, eh? Husband will be happy, it's right near Fordham.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Yes, I haven't tried everything at 56th but the ma po tofu, meat dumplings, crispy cumin lamb, and shredded duck have been great at that location.

                                  1. re: H Manning

                                    Grat, very happy to hear it, a good option in that neighborhood then.

                      2. re: buttertart

                        Cucumbers are worth a try.

                        Also cumin lamb.

                    2. re: mimi222

                      I'm not a huge fan of that dish but my latest discovery is how awesome #4 is in the appetizers list. Sliced pork belly with chili garlic soy. Tender, fatty, spicy. Oily, yes, but a lot of their dishes are a bit oily (that's Sichuan cuisine for you).

                      1. re: kathryn

                        I love that too (and it's pictured above too) but when I have the dish by that name in Chinese - suan ni bai rou - I want at least some sesame paste in there.