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Extra Spicy Restaurants, Please

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Hi,

My father-in-law to be and I love spicy food. I want to take him to a very spicy restaurant in the city on Saturday. We have tried Brick Lane's Phaal, but it wasn't enough.

Any advice?

Thank you.

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Brick Lane Curry House
306-308 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003

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  1. Zabb Elee for sre - though be warned, when they ask you for your spice level (1-5) - DON'T go for 5 your first time. Try a three, it's plenty spicy (and I like heat) - any higher and some of the dishes get to the point you can't even taste the flavors anymore, just the heat. If a three doesn't cut it, go higher.

    There are some blazers at Rhong-Tiam, as well. The "Pork On Fire" is - well, the name is apt.

    Grand Sichuan has some good ones, too - different kind of heat, with the Sichuan peppercorns. Not that there aren't chilies in abundance, as well. Start with the Conch in Spicy Red Oil, then move on to the Ma Po Tofu and Cured Pork w/ Dried String Beans.
    After all that, go cool off at Barrio Chino with a grapefruit-habanero margarita.

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    Barrio Chino
    253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

    Grand Sichuan
    23 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

    Rhong-Tiam Express
    31 E 21st St, New York, NY 10010

    Rhong-Tiam Garden
    154 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

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

    Rhong-Tiam
    38 Water St, New York, NY 10041

    4 Replies
    1. re: sgordon

      Thanks, I've had Grand Sichuan, so I will absolutely have to try the others as well.

      1. re: sgordon

        All good recommendations, but I have to say I find Szechuan Gourmet way spicier than any Grand Sichuan (I have eaten most frequently at the WV and EV GS restaurants, and Chelsea on occasion, RIP Midtown West's old location).

        At Szechuan Gourmet, get the mapo tofu and ask for it extra hot. Whew! The water-cooked dishes are pretty spicy as well. Try any of the ones listed as being cooked "w/Napa Cabbage & Roasted Chilli."

        See also:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786866

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

        1. re: kathryn

          AFAIK, Szechuan Gourmet is a little bit toned-down (as compared as what it could be), but this is done in a smart, tasteful, and balanced way: they have a very good chef. OTOH, all Grand Sichuan branches I've tried taste somewhat one-dimensional, spicy or not. I know this opinion is not shared by most, sorry.

          I'd also recommend two dishes at The Legend: water-cooked fish and paper lamb (sorry for a literal translation of Chinese names): these are very well executed and can be sufficiently hot, if you ask them.

          But I agree with the previous poster that Zabb Elee serves perhaps the hottest food in Manhattan.

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

          Legend
          88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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

          1. re: diprey11

            That's what I love about Szechuan Gourmet -- it is pretty spicy, but the best dishes still have some complexity in them. It's not one-note. I like Grand Sichuan a lot but some of the dishes are more one-note, however, it really depends on the specific dish and branch. For some reason, they have slightly different recipes for, say, dan dan noodles at the different ones. I've not tried Legend yet.

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

      2. Sigiri, Black Pork Curry, ask for it Sri Lankan hot. They'll do it crazy spicy if you ask and are confident about it.

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        Sigiri
        91 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

        1 Reply
        1. re: thegforceny

          Sigiri and the fish in spicy broth @ Szechuan Gourmet were the only things that I have found to be "hallucination grade" spicy rather than just "sweating and nose dripping grade" spicy.

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

          Sigiri
          91 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

        2. I'll add Xi'an Famous Foods to this list

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          Xi'an Famous Foods
          88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

          18 Replies
          1. re: MWinston

            I've never once had something here that has made me sweat, let alone, hallucinate.

            1. re: MWinston

              there is nothing spicy there, and i have eaten lunch there at least 25 times.

              1. re: nmprisons

                The cold skin noodles are spicy. Have you tried them? Not extra spicy, though. Regular spicy.

                1. re: small h

                  They actually make me cry, but I do realize I'm not even remotely in the same league as the OP when it comes to spice tolerance. Level 3 spice at Zabb Elee makes me cry, too.

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

                  1. re: small h

                    Yes, I have had them. Many times (and always ordered extra spicy). I quite enjoy them, but they are nowhere near what OP is looking for.

                    1. re: nmprisons

                      And you don't think they're spicy at all? The way mashed potatoes aren't spicy at all? I agree that the cold skin noodles aren't spicy enough for the OP, but to say they aren't spicy is just silly. It's like saying boiling water isn't hot because it won't melt steel.

                      1. re: small h

                        When you say "spicy" and when the OP says "spicy" you are talking about very different things. My fiance and I use to frequent Ayada. We would order some of our dishes "spicy," which totally blew her mind, but had no effect on me, and some "as spicy as you will make it," which is incredibly, mind-blowingly spicy to the point where she can't have even a bite and I sweat. "Spicy" is not an objective perception of taste (though it can be measured, of course), but subjective based on the taster's tolerance. So, to me, nothing at Xian Famous is spicy. Literally, I can eat it as spicy as they can make it, all day long, without really noticing any spicyness (though I can tell that others might find it spicy because the peppers do register flavor and complexity). It might be spicy to you.

                        1. re: nmprisons

                          But you do realize that your perception is not the norm. It's like insisting that cilantro tastes like soap, as some people do, because for them it does. But for most people, cilantro does not taste like soap. And for most people, the cold skin noodles are spicy. Further, if you don't even notice the spiciness of the cold skin noodles, why do you bother asking for extra spicy? How can you even tell the difference?

                          1. re: small h

                            Not to bicker, but you don't seem to have actually read what I wrote.

                            1) I'm not "insisting" anything. I am responding to an inquiry from someone looking for "a very spicy restaurant." He "loves spicy food" and wants to experience it in Manhattan. If I asked that question and someone sent me to Xi'an famous, I would have a good meal (at the Manhattan Bridge location), but not what I was looking for. (And besides, "norm" is cultural and geographical as much as anything else. Quit assuming that "most people" are like you. It is a big world out there.)

                            2) As I said above, I ask for extra spicy because "the peppers do register flavor and [add] complexity" to the dish. I enjoy that, even if it isn't the same sensation I get when enjoying food that gives me the same reaction as others would have eating the same dish.

                            1. re: nmprisons

                              There is also different kinds of spicy. For me a big mouthful of wasabi burns my nose but has no affect on my lips or tounge. However, the Nuclear wings from Mudville have my lips tingling for hours with no impact to my nose.

                              -----
                              Mudville
                              126 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007

                              1. re: princeofpork

                                The next time you must try nuclear wings with wasabi. That's like carpet bombing your entire face.

                                -----
                                Mudville
                                126 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007

                              2. re: nmprisons

                                What you wrote on 9/15 was "there is nothing spicy there." Not "there is nothing spicy enough for you there." I'm inclined to agree with the latter statement, but the former is simply untrue.

                                1. re: small h

                                  I agree with nmprisons. You're not reading his reply. He was writing a reply to someone who asked for an extra spicy restaurant. From that perspective, there is nothing spicy at Xi'an Famous Foods.

                                  -----
                                  Xi'an Famous Foods
                                  88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                                  1. re: small h

                                    If the OP doesn't think phaal at Brick Lane cuts it, no way anything at Xi'an Famous Foods would be spicy enough for him/her. In that respect I agree w/ nmprisons as well.

                      2. re: nmprisons

                        You don't consider the cumin lamb burger at Xi'an spicy?

                        ETA - I think I see the problem. Saying "there's nothing spicy at Xi'an" is very different from saying "the dishes at Xi'an aren't spicy enough for the OP."

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          No, I don't. But that's my perspective. Again, this is a specific response to a specific question. I'm not denying that individuals may find food at Xi'an spicy. However, the individual asking the question specified he was looking for extra spicy restaurants. And based on that, Xi'an does not qualify.

                          1. re: antonys1

                            Saying that the food at Xi'an isn't spicy is like a member of the Polar Bears Club saying that they don't find the water cold on their annual New Years Day swim.

                            I don't doubt you for a moment but I think your tolerance for heat is a lot higher than most people's.

                          2. re: Bob Martinez

                            It's funny, I didn't even realize that the lamb burger was supposed to be spicy until you posted that. It is far from the spiciest thing on the menu (though I don't find those items spicy either). OP wants his top blown. Xian Famous won't do that.

                      3. Also, on Man vs. Food Nation they just showed a challenge called The Squealer at Rack & Soul in Harlem. It's a pulled pork po' boy.

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                        Rack & Soul
                        258 West 109th St., New York, NY 10025

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MWinston

                          Just checked the website. Its not on there

                          1. re: princeofpork

                            Yeah I can't find it on a menu either... maybe it's an off-menu item? In any case, here's a promo video for the challenge: http://aol.it/pFqdO6

                        2. In Queens, Sripaphai can be hot if you say "Thai Hot". Water cooked dishes and the Fish with tofu at Spicy and Tasty are hot--as are the ma la liang mian and cold rabbit--if you ask confidently. But Zaab Elee is probably hotter still. The hottest food I have ever had in North America was strangely enough in Minneapolis (!!) at the Sri Lanka Curry House. So the comments about Sigiri may well be to the point--although I have never had really hot food at a Sri Lankan restaurant in NYC.
                          The Phaal at Brick Lane just isn't very good or complex. It's easy to add lots of chili, but not to construct a wonderful but blissfully diabolical dish.

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

                          1. You must have an asbestos tongue because I thought Brick Lane's phaal was super spicy.

                            I think Zabb Elee (ordered spice level of 5) will be the only thing that will come close to the level of spice you are looking for according to the list people have posted so far. I've had all of these items, and they really don't approach the phaal level of spiciness (even though most will consider them on the spicy side). The only thing I haven't had is Sigiri's black pork curry.

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Just went to Zabb Elee for the first time last night. No question the spiciest food I've eaten in Manhattan (I asked for level 5). In fact, no place else even comes close. Having said that, it's still not Thailand hot. I spent 3 months working in Thailand some years ago and it completely changed my inner scale of what "hot" could mean.

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

                            2. I am surprised no one has mentioned any Korean places. I am not sure which of the places in Koreatown are the spiciest, but they tend to be hot.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: plf515

                                Korean food is in generally spicy. But not at the level of Brick Lane's phaal. They make the phaal using gas masks!

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  I think that's a bit of a misconception - yes, lots of Korean dishes are spicy, but heat is very rarely extreme. Nothing will come close to Brick Lane's phaal or Zabb Elee's "hot" dishes.

                                  Edited - this is a reply to plf515.

                              2. Second Zabb Elee, Xi'an (go to the E. Village location and ask Jason what's hot), some dishes at Grand Sichuan. Momofuku's rice cakes are very hot. Not my favorite dish there, but if you're looking for an incendiary late night snack, it would hit the spot. There's also a spicy cold noodle at the noodle bar sometimes.

                                -----
                                Momofuku Noodle Bar
                                171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                Grand Sichuan
                                23 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                                Xi'an Famous Foods
                                81 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

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

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: hungrycomposer

                                  I'm not that good w/ spicy food but can eat Momofuku rice cakes without a problem - I have a feeling it won't cut it for the OP.

                                2. Try a dish called something like Second Sisters Rabbit at the Grand Szechuan on 2nd Ave near 55th St. Ask for it spicy.

                                  -----
                                  Grand Sichuan
                                  1049 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022