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What else should I eat at Szechuan Gourmet tomorrow?

tweebiscuit Jan 18, 2011 09:51 PM

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.


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

  1. m
    mimi222 Mar 3, 2011 07:35 AM

    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
      MRich Mar 3, 2011 07:49 AM

      String beans with Yibin bits are delicious.

      1. re: MRich
        buttertart Mar 3, 2011 10:34 AM

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

        1. re: buttertart
          H Manning Mar 3, 2011 10:39 AM

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

          1. re: H Manning
            buttertart Mar 3, 2011 12:52 PM

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

            1. re: buttertart
              MRich Mar 3, 2011 01:11 PM


              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
                buttertart Mar 3, 2011 01:13 PM

                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
                  MRich Mar 3, 2011 03:36 PM

                  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
                    buttertart Mar 4, 2011 06:09 AM

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

                    1. re: buttertart
                      H Manning Mar 4, 2011 06:13 AM

                      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
                        buttertart Mar 4, 2011 08:20 AM

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

          2. re: buttertart
            MRich Mar 3, 2011 10:44 AM

            Cucumbers are worth a try.

            Also cumin lamb.

        2. re: mimi222
          kathryn Mar 3, 2011 12:51 PM

          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
            buttertart Mar 3, 2011 12:53 PM

            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.

        3. b
          burton Jan 31, 2011 01:39 PM

          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. buttertart Jan 30, 2011 04:26 PM

            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
              fm1963 Jan 31, 2011 01:51 PM

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

              1. re: fm1963
                buttertart Feb 1, 2011 04:49 AM

                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. d
              diprey11 Jan 19, 2011 10:56 AM

              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. TongoRad Jan 19, 2011 04:03 AM

                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
                  ESNY Jan 19, 2011 05:53 AM

                  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
                    Miss Needle Jan 19, 2011 05:57 AM

                    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
                      Miss Needle Jan 19, 2011 06:11 AM

                      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
                        tweebiscuit Jan 19, 2011 06:39 PM

                        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.

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

                        1. re: tweebiscuit
                          TongoRad Jan 20, 2011 01:55 PM

                          Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reporting back.

                  2. p
                    peter j Jan 19, 2011 03:06 AM

                    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.

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

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