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Grand Sichuan (St. Marks) vs.Szechuan Gourmet (39th Street)

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Okay, so I realize this is not an original discussion.

The thing is I have been out of NY for a year and I'm bringing my good friend for a visit in a couple weeks and I've promised him an outstanding/authentic Sichuan meal. I ate at both restaurants at least a couple times a month when I lived in the city and I think they both have their pros and cons (the quality of SG seemed to decline a bit towards the end of my stay while GS isn't nearly as adventurous).

So has anyone had meals at either of them recently? Which would you recommend most highly as of the last couple of months?

Also, if you had to list your favorite three dishes at both (keeping in mind we are very adventurous eaters and have a very high tolerance for heat) what would you choose? I always had the same dishes when I visited (Chong Qing Spicy Chicken at GS, double cooked pork belly at SG) and wouldn't mind branching out a little this time.

Again, I realize there are many previous posts concerning this topic but since the quality of these restaurants does seem to fluctuate quite a bit I'd like a more recent consensus.

Thanks for your help!

James

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  1. At Grand Sichuan St Marks the menu isn't as diverse but I think they do Dan Dan noodles and wontons in red oil better than SG. We also always get the Gui Zhou spicy chicken. This is a dish that they made up/invented and my husband loves it. We typically get cold cucumbers in scallion sauce too.

    At SG, we always get the cumin lamb and mapo tofu (extra spicy). I also like the dumplings with chili soy--a little sweet and spicy. GS doesn't have this on their menu. Avoid their wontons, and the Dan Dan are good but not as good as GS. But SG have a great, long cold appetizers list. Try #4: Sliced pork belly with chili garlic soy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Sliced pork belly with chili garlic soy is unforgettable at SG. It's worth mentioning that the garlic really, really makes an impression in this dish.

    2. I've been frequenting the SG at 56th St., and Grand Sichuan St. Marks is my regular place. SG is a much more consistently delicious and spicy restaurant, though both are good. A lot of dishes at SG are very spicy, but some I've had recently are their cold cucumber with chili sauce and cold chicken in hot oil dishes (the menu names may be slightly different).

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pan

        Thanks for the replies. Is the SG on 56th owned by the same people as the one on 39th? Looks like the menus are similar but with a lot of different items. I'll probably end up going to the 39th street location for nostalgia's sake but do you think the 56th street location is significantly better?

        1. re: titleTK

          I've been liking it better, though by now, I'm recognized there. But really, the food has been good there for quite a while now (it wasn't good when they opened - apparently, they opened before they had decent kitchen staff, then rectified that). I do believe they are under common ownership.

          1. re: Pan

            Correct, same ownership at both 39th and 56th streets - they have also taken over the former Szechuan Chalet on 72nd and 2nd.

          2. re: titleTK

            You will be in good hands on 39th street. They make Grand Sichuan St. Marks look like rank amateurs