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chinese restaurant uws

Any recommendations for great chinese restaurant for December 25, 2012?

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  1. "Great?" Chinese. On the UWS? Not happening.
    Grand Sichuan on 74th/Amsterdam is good. Shun Lee near Lincoln Center can be very good, never great, and always overpriced. Go South!

    1. For "great" there's nothing in UWS unfortunately. For "pretty good" however try Grand Sichuan.

      Further south on 56th and 8th, Szechuan Gourmet is excellent.

      Call to make sure that the restaurants will be open on the 25th.

      1. Legend just opened a UWS location. 109th street.

        There's also a Grand Sichuan on 74th.

        Both will probably be packed though.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Thanks for the tip on Legend. I wasn't aware that had opened. It could be transformative in the neighborhood if it's as good as the downtown branch.

          1. re: kathryn

            E-mailed comment from an anonymous hound with well-calibrated tastes who lives nearby:

            "I think it's [Legend's] B team, and yet that still makes it the best chinese place in the nabe by far. Sichuan pickles outstanding. Cumin lamb oddly lacks punch. Crab (surimi) asp[aragus] soup is packed with loofah, egg white and chicken flavor. Eggplant fish casserole dark, unctuous, tasty."

            1. re: kathryn

              i am surprised that Legend opened a second branch: the one on 7th Ave/15th is so awfully inconsistent -- they seem incapable of running one place properly, let alone two...

              i've had some great meals there, as well as some dishes (the same dishes!) that were so unbelievably bad that i either sent them back, or just left shaking my head...staff there have told me that there are diff chefs on diff days (and when i've had the bad versions, they've winced, as if to say: "Oh no, the substitute chef is at it again")...on my last visit there, i politely told them that this was my last meal there until i here that they fix the kitchen issues, and that i hope they can get things in order...

            2. Legend is probably your best bet. I've never seen Grand Sichuan on Amsterdam full.

              1. Don't go to Grand Sichuan on 74th street. It's a really lame version of the GS/SG style menu with glaring flaws in ingredient quality, seasoning, and through-the-looking-glass terminology, like calling their water-cooked dishes "chong quing style". And the worst dan dan noodles I've ever had.

                SG on 56th is a much better choice.

                5 Replies
                1. re: knucklesandwich

                  They do however have great eggs with bitter melon and chicken loofah soup. And for all their shortcomings, they are next door!
                  It does help to order in Chinese, I have seen some big differences. Shouldn't be so, but there it is.

                  1. re: swannee

                    Swannee, how do I pronounce eggs with bitter melon in chinese, phonetically?

                    1. re: knucklesandwich

                      Ku3 gua1 jian1 dan4. The jian sounds like jyen. It is not a dish one finds often, they do it well with lots of little pieces of pickled chilis mixed with the fluffy scrambled eggs and crunchy bitter melon.
                      I have never had even acceptable food at Shun Lee except for New Years ' banquets. And it is so expensive.

                      1. re: swannee

                        I'm baffled by the Arabic numerals. How does that sound?

                        1. re: knucklesandwich

                          1 means high and flat, 2 goes from low to high, 3 goes down and then comes back up, and 4 goes high to low. That's both too simplified and too complicated.

                2. Across from Lincoln Center is Shun Lee which is better than decent (but I didn't add the word "great"!)

                  1. Went to Legend UWS today for lunch and was with my wife (a banana), and I was the only white guy (da bedze) in the restaurant. The food looked great, but I think we were "racially profiled", meaning that all the food was much less spicy than I would like--with great Szechuan food I feel a shimmering intense heat across my tongue, and a special pepper taste that I can't describe, but know when I taste it (and sweat on my hairless forehead). None of that today. I will go back in the near future and use my limited Mandarin (my most useful phrase--Wor bu she da beedze) to try to get the real thing. I was encouraged by the clientele.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: davidsop

                      Had a virtually identical experience at the UWS Legend this evening. While some dishes were more successful than others - dan dan noodles, braised fish with pickled mustard greens, and snow pea shoots were good - not one dish approached the full on spice sensation characteristic of Szechuan food. From the first bite it was evident the preparation had been 'sanitized' (the later protests of our waitress notwithstanding). Speaking of which...service to the extent it existed at all alternated between rude and clueless. All in all a major letdown Does not hold a candle to 56th St Szechuan Gourmet.

                      1. re: burton

                        Both Szechuan Gourmets are far, far better than the original Legend.

                        I won't bother trying the new one.

                        It is a complete mystery to me how anyone who likes restaurants like Grand Sichuan or SG would bother with Legend.

                        1. re: knucklesandwich

                          Because they have some very good dishes and it's a different neighborhood. I refer to the original Legend, not the uptown one, which I probably won't try.

                        2. re: burton

                          Ok, take a step back: this is the UWS, not 39th street Szechuan heaven. We went to the UWS Legend last night, and for the neighborhood, it's clearly the best we have, by far. I agree that the spice is toned down on some of the dishes, though the Chong Qing chicken with chili peppercorn was excellent, as was the Spicy Ma Po Tofu (I told them when ordering that if they didn't make me cry, I wasn't paying). The Dan Dan noodles were bland anyway. The Braised whole fish with shredded peppers hit the mark, while the pork dumplings in chili oil were a fail. Tea-smoked duck was quite good, as were the hot&spicy frog leg.
                          So, I think it's kind of up and down, but never far down. Since I live only a few blocks away, it's a real blessing. Also, some of you seem to have had less than satisfactory service. That was not at all our experience. They were quite friendly, very helpful, and clearly wanted us to come back often.

                          1. re: strangemd

                            Just got back from Legend UWS and the spicing was definitely toned down but the food was fine. The space isnt so nice and the staff are very young but they got everything we ordered correctly and were attentive enough. The "ants climbing trees" had enough spice and was a very good rendition of the dish. The "chendu Duck" was excellent and had a high quantity of quality duck in a very tasty broth, filled with tree ears, sprouts and lettuces. The "tasty crispy dry fried chicken w/ginger and peanuts" continues my addiction and I can pick at this for quite a long time. Bacon w/leeks was very nice, as was a cold eggplant appetizer. The red rabbit was just okay. And yes there were others eating with us. The 4 of us spent $25pp including tax/tip. No alcohol, just tea. If you're stuck on the UWS (Bklyn arrogance speaking here), I can see going.

                      2. We enjoy Canteen 82, but are vegetarians, eat only the vegetarian food (which is not spicy) and can't comment on the non-veg dishes. I have no idea of how their food compares with the dishes described in msot of this thread. That being said, we do enjoy the soup dumplings, steamed dumplings, and various stir-fry dishes. The food is always fresh and not oily.

                          1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic

                            Yes, in December 2012. Scroll up and see lots of posts from then talking about it.


                            1. re: thegforceny

                              Legend opened a UWS location on 109th street in December. The second UWS Legend will be at 72nd.

                              1. re: kathryn

                                Got it. Thanks. Apologies to @L_G!