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Jan 23, 2011 09:35 PM

Need the top 5 Szechuans in the city (burroughs included)

Hey all! My dining group is going on a gorge fest- 5 or 6 of the best Szechuans in the city- Maalox not included :)

Which would you suggest, including anywhere in the burroughs? We've been to Spicy & Tasty in Flushing and weren't big fans. Don't let this color your suggestions, though- we're long time szechuan eaters and it was probably either a fluke or just chance, but in any case, any restaurant but that one.

So, which would you advise we hit?


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  1. Since you are long time szechuan eaters...where have you already been?

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Right! As long time Sichuan eaters where have you been before? What was wrong with your meal at Spicy and Tasty? Did you post about that on the OB Board?

      Make a new friend by using the search function located at the upper right hand of the page here. There are many Sichuan threads on this board. Here's a start:


    2. Most of our szechuan dining has been in other cities- Chilli (sic) Garden in Medford, MA - which is still the best for many of us, Szechuan Bay in Cambridge, MA, a few places in LA and SF.

      Spicy and Tasty had a number of things off- mostly that the dishes if anything tasted more cold and gelatinous than spicy or tasty :). The heat was simply not there, despite having several Chinese diners with us who spoke with the waiters in Mandarin. Most of the dishes lacked any serious flavor whatsoever (such as the rabbit with chili peppers.) Most things were served cold or lukewarm- and I mean dishes that aren't intended to be served as such, including several fish ones. These sentiments were all echoed by our Chinese friends at the table. Also some of the food smelled genuinely spoiled.

      Enough? :)

      5 Replies
      1. re: BigBrother

        I would try Szechuan Gourmet on 39th between 5th and 6th and Grand Sichuan on 24th and 9th before writing off Manhattan Sichuan entirely. I've been hearing good things about Old Sichuan on Bayard St in Chinatown and Legend in Chelsea, just north of the Meatpacking District.

        Outer Borough wise, Chengdu Heaven (aka Chengdu Tian Fu) in the Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing is great. I liked but did not love the meals I've had at Spicy & Tasty. Too bad the fate of Little Pepper is under question. I'd also research Bamboo Pavillion (may have a new English name now) in Bensonhurst and Grand Sichuan House in Bay Ridge on the OB board.

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

        Old Sichuan
        65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: kathryn

          I would also add that the Two best Grand Sichuans are the one in Hell's Kitchen (really good Ox Tongue and Tripe in Hot Oil, Double Cooked Streaky Pork)and on St Mark's (Cumin Beef, Tea Smoked Duck, Dan Dan). There are dishes at both that I really like. I believe most of the chain have different owners.

          Wa Jeal on the UES has been hit or miss but since I go there regularly they know how I like it.

          I was only in Lan Sheng once, but it was pretty good.

          I agree with Kathryn's Outer Borough assessment. I particularly like the Mapo Tofu at Chengdu Heaven.

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

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

          1. re: MVNYC

            I love the GS on St Marks but my last meal there was only so-so. The Guizhou spicy chicken was way too sweet. :( Still love that cumin beef and those dan dan noodles, though.

            I always felt like the 24th St one was probably the best one although I've not tried the (now re-opened) HK one, only the WV, EV, Chelsea, JC, and 24th St ones.

            John Zhang claims ownership of these on his site:

            TIME SQUARE
            (46 St.)

            WEST VILLAGE
            (7 Ave.)

            EAST VILLAGE
            (St. Marks PL)

            (24 St.)

            (Main St.)

            JERSEY CITY
            (Grove St.)

            1. re: kathryn

              I have only tried the new incarnation once of the Hell's Kitchen outpost but it was solidly good. Probably need to go a few more times to see if it stands up.

            2. re: MVNYC

              I don't like the GS on St Mark's - but I really like the one on 54th & 2nd.

              Had dinner last night at Wa Jeal - I agree that it's not always good - but last night every dish was a winner.

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

        2. Edgar Rice? Almost sounds like chinese dish.

          I like Little Pepper in Flushing myself. I took someone from Chengdu there, and it got his approval. I need to try some of the places in the malls though, like Chengdu Heaven, because they look excellent, but I tend to always be on my way to eat somewhere else.

          As for the city, I like Lan Sheng, with the caveat that you can definitely order poorly, and the results are a little inconsistant. I've generally had better experiences dining in than ordering in. I used to like Szechuan Gourmet but some switch was flipped and haven't ordered there in a long time. I felt everything started to taste the same, but maybe it's time to give them another chance...

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

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mr Porkchop

            For ordering in I found a little trick that seems to work with Szechuan places. On Seamless web I have been cutting and pasting the Chinese Characters for Ma La into the special ordering instructions. It has improved the quality of delivery orders for me for the dishes that need it.

            1. re: MVNYC

              Interesting. I don't know why, but I'm surprised that seamless can handle the characters. Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely give it a shot next time. 谢谢

          2. While not a particularly big fan of Sichuan food, I have tried all of the Sichuan restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley and thought Szechuan Gourmet on 39th St. better than any of them, so you should really include that in your list.

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

            1. I definitely think Legend, on 7th ave just above 15th st, deserves a little attention. It's a relative newcomer, but they have impressed me over and over. Lots of dishes I have never had or seen anywhere else, especially some of the big fish filet dishes. Also the hotpot is very impressive, far more adventurous than I've had anywhere else, including Szechuan Gourmet. It does have both mediocre Chinese-American and mediocre Vietnamese on the menu, so order carefully and stick to the real Szechuan food.

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