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Grand Sichuan Saint Mark's - still good?

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I had dinner at Grand Sichuan Saint Marks the other night. The chicken and loofah soup was meager and weak. The cold spinach and ginger appetizer was delicious and a generous serving. The home-style pork was pretty good. But service was off - it took a long time to get our food in spite of the fact that it wasn't crowded. After the meal my boyfriend and I both got some nasty allergic-type reactions - maybe to MSG? I was wondering if others had experienced the same problems, or if it was just an off night. Maybe their regular chef is visiting his family for new years? I don't normally have a problem with MSG, certainly never at GS before. Most of the food was OK, but not at their usual level.

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  1. I went twice recently, including once within the last week or so and had excellent meals, but I ordered differently from you (Ox Tongue and Tripe and Empress Chicken the first time - and I was pleased with the Ox Tongue and Tripe, which hadn't been that good for a long time, as the tongue sometimes tastes overly gamey and off - and Spicy Braised Fish the second time; I'm not completely sure about the names of the dishes). Caveat: I have never had any problem with MSG. Is it possible their usual chef is away? Definitely possible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      Thanks, Pan, I was worried! They also broke it to me that they are not serving a special menu for Chinese New Year's. I'm glad you had two good meals. It could have just been a slip of the wrist, or an unfamiliar ingredient that gave us such a strange reaction (I normally have a strong stomach and don't complain about MSG). One dish out of three was pretty bad, the other two were pretty good. Thanks to your post I won't give up.

      1. re: hungrycomposer

        I can't remember when the last time was that they didn't have New Year's specials.

        You might find it interesting to go to Old Sichuan, in the former Yeah Shanghai Deluxe space on Bayard St. One of the old chefs from Grand Sichuan St Marks is there, and a lot of the dishes from the old St Marks menu are on that menu.

        -----
        Old Sichuan
        65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

    2. i wouldnt say ive had bad meals at st. marks grand sichuan but they have been inconsistent in the last 2-3 months. i usually order baby lamb with green peppers. the last time i ordered it, the waitress made a mistake 3 different times with the dish.

      the one on 7th ave south is also inconsistent as well. its still head and shoulders above the other chinese places but i havent been impressed lately.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sam1

        My order was also wrong - they brought us an entree we didn't order. (We sent it back.) I had dinner there on Christmas, and the food was good but not quite up to snuff. I didn't want to judge too harshly on such a crowded night.

      2. The place is way off. We used to order from there all the time and it was always consistent. Good, not greasy, complex spices, quality ingredients. Now it is terrible. Too oily, they have substituted sichuan perpercorns with something else. The meat is lower quality. They use filler in the dishes to serve less of it. We have sworn it off.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gordognyc

          I respect your criticisms, but I have to say, I can't remember a time when the food at Grand Sichuan was not oily, and furthermore, oiliness is, apparently, quite authentic for Sichuan food. The restaurants that are considered the most authentic in the city - Little Pepper in Queens and Szechuan Gourmet in Midtown - are very aggressively spicy and oily (too much for me, in fact).

          I recognize, of course, that that is not your only criticism and that I am not rebutting your other complaints.

          1. re: Gordognyc

            i'm not buying it. we order from gs at least once or twice a week for the past 3-4 years and the quality is generally the same. actually, i think it's gotten better in the past few months.

          2. I ordered delivery last week and funnily, I was thinking the regular chef was away because the food was so much better than usual. I had egglant with garlic and beef with cumin and they were both excellent.