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looking for the best szechuan / sichuan in Queens

My wife and I will be spending a week in Queens (thanks Air B&B) and are looking forward to eating some of the cuisines we can not get near our home in Roanoke, VA. One item high on that list is authentic Sichuan (there are places with the name, but no where near the real thing.)

By way of background we did live in Manhattan for a time and one of our favorites was Wa Jeal. Although our in-restaurat experiences were much less satisfying than delivery. When we ordered for delivery we could tell them we liked the ma-la of the peppercorns and the heat of the chilies and they would send the real thing. At the restaurant the same same requests always produced milder less interesting food.

We will be based in Astoria, but will have a car, and ofcourse subway availability.

Suggestions will be appreciated.

Tony

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  1. Look for a place that features "Great Taste" or "Taste Great" in its name. No matter where you live, there will be at least one and probably more.

    1. I think the best is still Spicy and Tasty on Prince St. In Flushing near the Main St. Subway station.

      1. Since you have a car I'd go to Little Pepper in College Point which I think is the best sichuan in NYC (their english isn't great, but menu is in english)

        Otherwise I'd probably go Spicy & Tasty or Szechuan Gourmet

        Chengdu Tianfu in the Golden Mall is pretty good too, but I'd with S&T or SG over it

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lau

          Agree about Little Pepper and Spicy & Tasty. I'd rank them #1 and #2 respectively.

        2. If you have a car and want the best Sichuan, go to Little Pepper

          9 Replies
          1. re: AubWah

            Ok, adding Little Pepper to the top of the list. But when I do a search on them here I do find a few complaints about a lack of Ma La. Is that your experience?

              1. re: Tony M.

                not at all, btw Tony M. if you really want them to make it authentic they will

                they asked me last time if i wanted to authentic sichuan and it was very ma la, in fact it was the same level that you would get in chengdu (ive been there). its helpful if you can explain this in chinese, but i think if u tell them in english they will get it

                1. re: Lau

                  Ms Wu doesn't speak much English, so unless you are OK with Mandarin, consider enlisting some help from a younger generation: that would be your waiter :) Just never leave Ms Wu guessing what you want and you will be taken good care of.

                  I still remember my first time experience at LP.. I am not very young and it was for the first time that I stood up from the family dinner table to thank the chef who happened to be reading a newspaper at a table nearby..

                2. re: Tony M.

                  Tell them you want things spicy and order like you mean it. Don't mince around questioning the waiter as to the various spicing levels and flavor combinations. They'll take you for a newbie who will bitch and moan when you bite into a pepper. Instead, just order the dishes with confidence, like you've been doing it for years. If the waiter mentions that a dish is spicy, say "Good. I like it that way!"

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    yah Bob Martinez is correct that you need to be assertive

                    btw if you get it authentic spicy, be aware its going to be very spicy. last time i ate at Little Pepper a few of my friends couldn't handle the spice level as they aren't that used to eating really spicy food and everyone across the board was sweating although it was very good

                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      And if you say "no MSG" they will automatically make your food non-spicy!

                      1. re: NYJewboy

                        How many of their regular Chinese customers do you think say "no MSG?"

                        :-)

                    2. re: Tony M.

                      Also, the new Little Pepper Hot Pot in downtown Flushing is quite good.

                  2. I prefer Little Pepper to Spicy and Tasty nowadays (though S&T is still great).

                    Neither of those restaurants has ever lacked for spiciness (both regular and Sichuan pepper). I think they don't USUALLY dumb stuff down for non-Sinophone customers who don't ask for it...

                    Although...we went to S&T maybe three times and could not get an order of the simple garlic-cucumber appetizer. They were always "out", and once when we said we had seen it out front, they said that somebody had just ordered it. However, my Beijing-born roommate broke out her Chinese, and they magically found some after saying there was no more. So there may be a little difference of treatment. :)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: didactic katydid

                      S&T is very good, but there is really no comparison: these two restaurants are not quite n the same league. The only serious competition I can think of is 成都天府, a dinky Sichuan stall in the Golden Mall: they have a seriously talented chef.

                      1. re: diprey11

                        i like chengdu tian fu, but i agree with you that LP is a step up from all of the others, its probably one of the best sichuan restaurants ive been to in the US

                        i should review it properly

                    2. Ok great - thanks for all the responses. Since Little Pepper seems to be getting the most nods, let me ask the next question - recommendations for specific dishes.

                      I believe I've found the OLD menu here:

                      http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bi...

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Tony M.

                        My favorites are Braised Sliced Fish In Spicy Soup Base, Cumin Lamb, Crust of Cooked Rice with Pork (not spicy), Double Cooked Pork, Enhanced Pork, Smoked Tea Duck (not spicy), Cucumber w. Garlic (nice to fight off the heat with), DanDan Noodles... Most of these dishes are pretty popular... So many I have yet to try

                        1. re: Tony M.

                          rschwinm's list is almost exactly the same as mine, though I don't get the tea duck anymore. we also get mapo dofu (crucial!), the eggplant with garlic, and the Sichuan style sausage with leeks (though, don't get enhanced/doublecooked/sausage at the same time! too similar).

                          1. re: didactic katydid

                            Ah, yeah, I forgot to include the mapo tofu on my list...

                          2. re: Tony M.

                            Look at the dishes discussed by ScoopG, and at those that I mentioned in my report, near the bottom of this thread:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/766257

                            1. re: Tony M.

                              In addition to (or sometimes instead of) anything others suggest, if you have enough people, get their hot pot. It's great!