The real Grand Sichuans?
Who's up to date on the GS dynasty in Manhattan?
It's getting hard to tell the original GS restaurants (like Canal, 2nd ave, 9th ave) from the the bland imitations (Lexington, Amsterdam, etc..), at least in cyberspace.
I can't find a central GS website, and sites for St. Marks and Varick have an under-new-management look. And what is Grand Sichuan Eastern? Has GS gone Empire?
Who, pray tell, can explain this mess, and does an oldschool GS exist somewhere in NY?
IMO, the only really, really good one was the Canal St. one, and it is gone. Some dishes are good at most of the others, but overall they are far less good. I eat at the Amst. one frequently since it is nextdoor, and I always get the same 3 or 4 dishes---eggs with bitter melon, water cooked fish (not on the menu), sour long beans with pork. But otherwise, it is pretty feh.
> Who, pray tell, can explain this mess, and does an old school GS exist somewhere in NY?
Afraid not. Doesn't seem to exist, as it ran out its course. If you want a real-real Sichuan food in Manhattan, Szechuan Gourmet is your best bet (and quite a decent one at that); otherwise welcome to Flushing.:-)
Sichuan dining in New York is enjoying a renaissance. In Manhattan. GSI was something of a pioneer but there are lots of other good choices.
In terms of GSI branches the one on 9th Ave. and 24th can range from good to very good. I'm convinced that there's a regular turnover in their kitchen as new staff learns their trade and then moves on to open their own places. Catch it right and it's great; catch it on a bad night and it's OK.
We've had reasonable meals at the 7th Ave. branch in the West Village. I wouldn't travel for it but I'd certainly drop in if i was in the neighborhood.
Moving on from the GSI family, Lan Sheng is terrific. So is Szechuan Gourmet. We've also really enjoyed our meals at Land of Plenty in midtown.
If you order carefully you can get good meals at Legend. We're also partial to Hot Kitchen in the East Village. Great Sichuan in Murray Hill is also pretty good.
By all means, head out to Flushing if you want but that's really not necessary any more.
re: Bob Martinez
Land of plenty has a new chef...it's not that the food is bad but we think it's cooked by a Cantonese chef. dishes are a lot more milder and some dishes are less oilier. Some non sichuan dishes taste the same or even better but a lot of traditional sichuan dishes lost that.....heat and should i say, soul?