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Hot & Spicy

k
kmt123 May 26, 2011 07:04 PM

I have a business associate coming to NYC from Australia... he LOVES extremely hot and spicy food. What restaurant would be appropriate for dinner?

Ethiopian (what places are the best)
Indian??
Asian??

Other suggestions are most appreciated.

Thanks!

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  1. g
    gutsofsteel May 26, 2011 07:09 PM

    Legend

    best Szechuan food in Manhattan. Ask for very spicy if you want...

    -----
    Legend
    88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    1. k
      kathryn May 26, 2011 07:11 PM

      Zabb Elee
      Szechuan Gourmet
      I've heard good things about Legend, too
      The red red kimchi at Takashi

      See also:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/203489

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

      Takashi
      456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

      Zabb Elee
      75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

      5 Replies
      1. re: kathryn
        buttertart Jun 5, 2011 05:16 PM

        We had a fabulous lunch at Szechuan Gourmet (39th St) yesterday - the 3-chili chicken (specials board) and the fish fillets with pickled chilis and doufu (menu) were mindblowingly delicious. Great restaurant, ma la +++.

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

        1. re: buttertart
          TongoRad Jun 7, 2011 04:58 AM

          I absolutely love that chicken dish- I've also seen it called 'Three pepper chicken' (for the green chiles, dried red chiles and Szechuan peppercorns) and 'Chicken with roasted chile and green chile', which is what the 56th Street outpost calls it. It's been over a year since I last visited the 39th Street location, but with certain dishes I found 56th St. to be superior- that chicken and the Ma Paul Tofu in particular. In general they have had a heavier hand with the Szechuan peppercorns, which gives them the edge. Both of those dishes are as richly satisfying as they are hot, too, so any chilehead should love them.

          Not everything at 56th St. is a winner, but that location shouldn't be overlooked either.

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

          1. re: TongoRad
            buttertart Jun 7, 2011 05:03 AM

            We only went to 56th once and it was bloody awful (we were only offered a lunch menu -and were served worse food than at an Empire Szechwan). Will check it out, useful for that neighborhood (husband teaches near there).

            1. re: buttertart
              TongoRad Jun 7, 2011 05:28 AM

              I would surmise that a lot of their business isn't centered around the Szechuan dishes at all (when my office would do delivery, I was the only one not getting the General Tso's, or whatever)- so the regular 'take-out' stuff caters to a different crowd. Plus it's all got an unfortunate cloying sweetness to it; you really do have to use discretion there. The genuine Scechuan dishes are really done well, though.

              Have your husband lean towards those two selections I posted above, or the pork belly, or the fish filet and I bet he would be pleasantly surprised.

              1. re: TongoRad
                buttertart Jun 7, 2011 05:40 AM

                The sweetness is what I remembered - I ordered douban yu and it was a fried fillet covered in...chili jam!!! Gaah.

                Rather OT but doesn't that drive you crazy? If people would only try the real stuff, surely they would realize what they were missing. It's a shame most people's idea of Chinese food isn't. I never liked "Chinese" food very much (ate it in Toronto and the Bay Area among other places) until we went to live in Taipei. There's a whole world of delights out there.

      2. s
        Simon May 26, 2011 08:24 PM

        i'd say skip the Indian food in NYC...i'm sure Australia has much better...i've never really liked any restaurant Indian food in NYC, with the exception of the taxi-cab stand places, where i've gotten takeout, and then re-fried it at home w/ more garam masala and hot sauce and a couple fried eggs...i've despised the high-end places (e.g. Chola) and the cheapo E.Village 6th St joints and pretty much all else (Indus Valley on the far UWS was solid but i haven't been in years and not sure it's even still there)...

        ...NYC has very good Sichuan options: Szechuan Gourmet, Grand Sichuan on 24th/9th, Old Sichuan (Chinatown), and Legend (haven't been to Legend yet, but i trust the reviewers here)...for Thai, Zaab-Elee is the only place i recommend in Manhattan...

        I'd say between some of those options, it might depend on what vibe you want for the dinner, and what area of NYC works best...for example, if you want something quasi-"nice" in vibe relative other Chinese places and in Midtown, Szechuan Gourmet might be the best choice...or if your associate wants to see NYC Chinatown, then maybe Old Sichuan...and there is a thread w/ 100+ replies about Zaab-Elee on the Manhattan Board that might be worth perusing if Thai/Isaan food is of interest...and Grand Sichuan 24/9th-Ave is very very reliable....

        i'd say read up on those...cheers

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

        Grand Sichuan
        229 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

        Indus Valley
        2636 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

        Old Sichuan
        65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

        Zabb Elee
        75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        14 Replies
        1. re: Simon
          g
          gutsofsteel May 26, 2011 10:11 PM

          Legend is actually a "nice" restaurant, FYI. And the food really is better than any other the other Szechuan places in Manhattan.

          1. re: gutsofsteel
            scoopG May 28, 2011 09:00 AM

            Very limited Szechuan menu at Legend and it pales in comparison to Szechuan Gourmet.

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

            1. re: scoopG
              g
              gutsofsteel May 28, 2011 10:09 AM

              I disagree.

              1. re: gutsofsteel
                d
                diprey11 May 29, 2011 04:15 PM

                I am kinda on the fence, but I tend to side with ScoopG: Legend has both its pluses and minuses. Well, I've never tried their hotpot, something they are famous for. Their selection is much smaller than 朵颐, The Szechuan Gourmet, but I'm not quite sure if that's a bad thing. (My absolute point of reference is the divine 小辣椒, The Little Pepper, in Whitestone, and their menu is not that extensive either.)
                For example, I enjoyed Water Cooked Fish, 水煮魚, at Legend, it was done closer to the TLP style, but the broth lacked the sophistication, and the fish texture was somewhat inferior to what I had at either restaurant. That was quite fine by me, though :-)
                They didn't have the greens I wanted, so they still have pass my 豆苗 test, where SG is in the stars (best in the US, IMHO).
                The cumin lamb was nearly perfect, I liked it more than at SG (the texture was 10 out of 10), but that's a matter of preference in style.
                They aced my 干煸四季豆, fried green beans with minced pork and salted vegetable, test with flying colors, so they are competent enough to save me the comparison effort to Grand Sichuan and the likes.
                I am yet to order the whole fish with minced pork as well as other classics, so my judgement is possibly flawed. All in all, very, very solid and overall in the same ballpark as SG. I think "pales in comparison" might be a metaphor.
                To be clear, I don't care much about ambiance, service, or linguistic abilities of the staff. Legend is actually good at all of them.
                Note to ScoopG and other gourmets: if you know the native name of the dish just ignore the menu at Legend and ask away! Hint, hint...

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

              2. re: scoopG
                buttertart Jun 5, 2011 05:19 PM

                Szechuan Gourmet 39th is completely on its game, lunch yesterday was one of the best ever. They also make those nice Taiwan-style potstickers with the thin skins. I like the food there better than at Legend, but Legend is worth visiting.

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

              3. re: gutsofsteel
                s
                Simon Jun 5, 2011 02:51 PM

                tried Legend...i liked it a lot...just started w/ the basics: cold cucumber, mapo tofu, kung pao chicken...both cold cucumber and the kung pao chicken were the best i've had in Manhattan...didn't care for the mapo tofu as much but that may be more personal preference (i prefer a more dense tofu, less saucy version)...will definitely go back, and i suspect it will supplant GS St. Marks as my Sichuan delivery option...

                -----
                Legend
                88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: Simon
                  t
                  thegforceny Jun 5, 2011 03:39 PM

                  I live in Chelsea and that very thing has happened: I now order Legend after long time of orders from GS. Legend is fresher with 'cleaner' tastes. I find their heat to be more complex as well.

              4. re: Simon
                n
                nmprisons May 28, 2011 05:16 AM

                Indus Valley is still there and still very good.

                Their Lamb Vindaloo, if you ask them for it extra spicy, will knock your socks off.

                -----
                Indus Valley
                2636 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

                1. re: nmprisons
                  p
                  Pan Jun 5, 2011 04:18 PM

                  While I was living near there, recently, I ordered delivery of that vindaloo and asked for it to be very spicy, low salt, and with no added sugar and very sour. It was fantastic! In general, I find Indus Valley good but overpriced for the quality, which is more or less a given on the Upper West Side.

                  -----
                  Indus Valley
                  2636 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

                  1. re: Pan
                    n
                    nmprisons Jun 7, 2011 05:17 AM

                    Glad you enjoyed. And, yes, you pay a few dollars more, but you save on train fare if you live in the neighborhood (or at least that is how I justified it.)

                    1. re: nmprisons
                      p
                      Pan Jun 8, 2011 12:13 AM

                      Train fare is not very expensive. Try justifying it based on convenience. :-)

                2. re: Simon
                  p
                  Pan Jun 5, 2011 04:21 PM

                  I have managed to be unaware of Zabb Elee, though I must have walked past it if it's been in business for more than a couple of weeks or so. Did it replace Zabb City on E. 13th? I just looked at their menupages menu. It's more nearly exclusive Isaan than Zabb City is/was, isn't it?

                  -----
                  Zabb City
                  244 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                  Zabb Elee
                  75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: Pan
                    squid kun Jun 5, 2011 05:08 PM

                    Zabb City's still in business and still on 13th. Zabb Elee (under different ownership) opened in March on 2nd Ave. in the former Le Da Nang space. Here's a roundup of earlier posts ... http://www.chow.com/digest/78853/an-i...

                    -----
                    Zabb City
                    244 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                    Zabb Elee
                    75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: squid kun
                      p
                      Pan Jun 5, 2011 07:41 PM

                      Thanks, Squid. My girlfriend and I went tonight. It's quite good and will be in my rotation from now on.

                3. rose water May 27, 2011 07:35 AM

                  i agree with legend and zabb elee. i'd also add xian famous foods for a more casual option--not as incendiary as the szichuan options, but extremely flavorful and awesome.

                  1. thew May 27, 2011 07:43 AM

                    zabb elee
                    sigiri - sri lakan
                    wa jeal - szechuan

                    (btw indian is asian)

                    -----
                    Sigiri
                    91 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: thew
                      g
                      gutsofsteel May 27, 2011 08:12 AM

                      thew as you know I like Wa Jeal a lot, but Legend blows it away. Give it a shot.

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

                      1. re: gutsofsteel
                        thew May 27, 2011 08:37 AM

                        i will. hadnt really heard about it before this thread

                        1. re: thew
                          rose water May 27, 2011 09:25 AM

                          more legend info/love: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/736719

                        2. re: gutsofsteel
                          scoopG May 28, 2011 09:00 AM

                          Szechuan Gourmet blows Legend away.

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

                          1. re: scoopG
                            buttertart May 31, 2011 10:21 AM

                            Both are worth visiting but agree 100% with Mr. G.

                      2. r
                        rrems May 27, 2011 04:39 PM

                        Zabb Elee and Legend are great. For Indian, I love Junoon. Their spicing is not extreme, but if you ask I would think they could make it extra hot for you. The food is wonderful, and the atmosphere and service are top-notch. It is a bit pricy, but portions are large.

                        -----
                        Junoon
                        27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

                        1. Bob Martinez May 28, 2011 09:56 AM

                          Lots of good suggestions on this thread. I'll add Chinese Mirch to the mix, Indian-Chinese fusion. Well made food with plenty of heat. I was just there last week and they haven't slipped a bit.

                          All of the Szechuan places mentioned here are good. I suspect most people develop strong opinions because a given place does a great job making their favorite dishes. I like Legend a lot although I also enjoy Szechuan Gourmet and Lan Sheng. The quality of individual dishes at each place varies but the overall level for all of them is pretty high. The 7th Ave. location of Grand Sichuan International does good versions of all the classics and their ambiance is nicer than most of the places mentioned. (Legend is nice too, albeit brightly lit.)

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

                          Chinese Mirch
                          120 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                          Grand Sichuan
                          15 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

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

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Bob Martinez
                            buttertart May 31, 2011 10:23 AM

                            I like the 7th Ave GS too, a lot - and their offering dishes in different sizes is nice for ordering more dishes for a small group. Their cumin lamb is super (crisp).

                            1. re: Bob Martinez
                              b
                              bookmonger Jun 1, 2011 04:15 PM

                              Szechuan Gourmet's tofu with minced pork is a must-have for spice lovers. If the OP's buddy can go to Queens, Little Pepper's braised fish in chili oil is one of the best values and most tasty examples of the cuisine in NYC.

                              Grand Sichuan's double cooked pork is also very spicy, and very delicious.

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

                              1. re: bookmonger
                                d
                                diprey11 Jun 1, 2011 06:03 PM

                                Was that Ma Po Tofu at SG (or Ma Paul Tofu, as per their tongue-in-cheek spelling)? Also known as 麻婆豆腐? That one is so hearty and great.
                                Please don't give up on their double cooked pork either, they do it two different ways: either crispy and meaty, or soft and greasy. People have different tastes, so there is a never-ending discussion whether their double-cooked pork is good there or not. :-)
                                Paper lamb (紙包羊肉) at Little Pepper is so fantastic I stood up to thanked the chef personally, and I am not exactly 18yo.

                                1. re: diprey11
                                  thew Jun 1, 2011 07:21 PM

                                  why tongue in cheek?

                            2. v
                              vinouspleasure Jun 5, 2011 04:40 PM

                              If you're willing to travel to queens on the seven train, sriprapha has arguably the best and hottest thai in nyc. I can take a lot of heat, but one of the "thai spicy" dishes was well beyond what I can enjoy.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: vinouspleasure
                                Joe MacBu Jun 5, 2011 08:29 PM

                                Or venture deeper into Queens and hit Hunan House in Flushing. It is the hottest I've had in NYC. It was so painful that two Indian doctor friends who love very spicy food were considering admitting themselves to the ER a few hours after our meal. Of course, we had begged for it to be extremely spicy. On a subsequent visit, the owner told me that he had actually held back a bit and not made it as hot as they would have in Hunan.

                                1. re: Joe MacBu
                                  s
                                  Simon Jun 5, 2011 09:17 PM

                                  i like Hunan House, and a lot of the othern Outer Borough places listed here...but the OP is doing a business dinner and posted on the Manhattan board, so i imagine one of the many spicy Manhattan options will work best...

                              2. u
                                uwsister Jun 6, 2011 11:43 PM

                                Zoma in Harlem is the best for Ethiopian, though I've never had anything that I thought was super hot and spicy there - or any Ethiopian restaurant.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: uwsister
                                  thew Jun 7, 2011 04:07 AM

                                  if you ask for things like the doro wat spicy, it will be

                                  1. re: thew
                                    u
                                    uwsister Jun 7, 2011 04:39 AM

                                    I personally don't care for super-spicy food, but my husband (and perhaps the OP) will appreciate the tip.

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