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Famous Sichuan

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hoi lai Jun 17, 2012 06:19 PM

As of last week New Owner, New Cook and New Higher prices.

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    AubWah RE: hoi lai Jun 17, 2012 06:21 PM

    bad news, thanks. any details on the new owner or chef?

    1 Reply
    1. re: AubWah
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      hoi lai RE: AubWah Jun 17, 2012 06:27 PM

      the girl at the counter who is still there from previous incarnation was less than enthusiastic when I asked if the Chengdu Spicy Sesame noodles were as good as before and I was put off by the price increase of over $3.

    2. kosmose7 RE: hoi lai Jun 17, 2012 07:12 PM

      That explains it. Last time when I was there, food was really terrible unlike my previous experiences. May be it was the short interim period before the new chef came. Thanks for the info! :) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/753398

      11 Replies
      1. re: kosmose7
        strangemd RE: kosmose7 Jul 12, 2012 06:12 AM

        Was thinking about taking the family here this weekend. Has it settled down since the ownership change, or would you suggest we did Old Sichuan instead?

        1. re: strangemd
          squid kun RE: strangemd Jul 15, 2012 04:50 PM

          Got mapodofu to go today for the first time since the reports of changes in the kitchen. This had been a dependable takeout order in the past. Sorry to say it was completely different this time: little chile heat; almost no discernible Sichuan peppercorn; sliced leeks replaced by minced scallions; excessive cornstarch gloppiness.

          I'm in no hurry to return. Old Sichuan on Bayard does much better by this dish.

          1. re: squid kun
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            AubWah RE: squid kun Jul 15, 2012 05:53 PM

            Sounds like this is a dead restaurant. I tend to shun Sichuan restaurants in favor of Hunan these days, so to me, no great shakes. It is a shame though, I remember when I used to eat at Famous Sichuan all the time, the chef was really skilled. Sounds like the new "chef" is a fraudulent failure.

            1. re: AubWah
              strangemd RE: AubWah Jul 15, 2012 06:58 PM

              Well, I'm glad I got spooked by the earlier posts.
              Went to Old Sichuan on Bayard and ate very well.

              1. re: strangemd
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                AubWah RE: strangemd Jul 16, 2012 11:15 AM

                What did you have?

              2. re: AubWah
                Bob Martinez RE: AubWah Jul 15, 2012 07:54 PM

                I think that's an overreaction. We went to the earlier incarnation about 5 or 6 times and liked it a lot. This past Saturday night we went to the "new" restaurant. Some of what we had was very good and one dish was disappointing, mostly because we were expecting one thing and got something that was good but different.

                Granted, this was only a limited sample of 4 dishes but based on what we had I think it's premature to write them off.

                I'll post in more detail tomorrow.

                1. re: Bob Martinez
                  squid kun RE: Bob Martinez Jul 16, 2012 01:01 AM

                  >based on what we had I think it's premature to write them off.

                  Oh, I'm not writing them off either. I was just reporting on my go-to takeout dish, which reflected a change for the worse. Look forward to your update.

                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                    Bob Martinez RE: Bob Martinez Jul 16, 2012 02:55 PM

                    OK - here's more detail about Saturday night's meal.

                    Sichuan wontons in red oil and Sichuan dumplings -

                    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8434/75...

                    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8145/75...

                    These were both terrific, as good as any I've had anywhere. That said, we normally wouldn't have ordered two dishes that similar. We attempted to order the Sliced pork with Minced Garlic app. and were told they were out of it. The English skills of the server were minimal - maybe there was another reason why it wasn't available.

                    Mains -

                    Shredded Pork Szechuan Style

                    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7258/75...

                    Very good, a solid B plus.

                    Beef with Bean Curd

                    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8141/75...

                    My GF was hoping for an entree similar to the one served at Famous Sichuan Ver. 1, the Roasted Beef Filet w. Bean Curd Sauce.

                    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7082/72...

                    As you can see this was different and quite honestly, the dish was misnamed. It should have been called "Bean Curd with a Little Bit of Beef." The beef portion in the previous dish was generous. In this one the beef was just a flavoring.

                    That sounds like a strong criticism. Actually, the flavor of this dish was excellent, hot and beefy with wonderful silken tofu. It just wasn't what we expected and the menu description is inaccurate.

                    So what do we have here? At least on the basis of Saturday night's meal what we *don't* have is a great restaurant being replaced with a crappy restaurant. What we seem to have is a great restaurant being replaced with a *different* restaurant. There seems to be real skill in the kitchen - there's a lot of good Sichuan chefs working in New York right now. We liked what we had although the mislabeling of the tofu dish was annoying.

                    I miss some of the old dishes a lot. It's an open question as to whether new great dishes have taken their place. It will take some time to find that out and but based on our Saturday night meal, things may turn out OK in the end. Right now I think it's premature to write them off.

                  2. re: AubWah
                    MVNYC RE: AubWah Jul 15, 2012 09:01 PM

                    "fraudulent failure"? Hyperbole much?

                    1. re: MVNYC
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                      AubWah RE: MVNYC Jul 16, 2012 08:11 AM

                      I don't think it's hyperbole

                      1. re: AubWah
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                        knucklesandwich RE: AubWah Jul 16, 2012 03:01 PM

                        Never mind, AubWah. Hyperbole is the best!

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