Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Grand Sichuan Review

When it comes to finding good Chinese food in Midtown, Szechuan (or Sichuan) cooking tends to dominate, unless you're looking for American Chinese food. I've written before about one of the star restaurants in the area, Szechuan Gourmet. It tends to get most of the attention while another terrific spot resides in its shadow just a few blocks away. Grand Sichuan, on Lexington Avenue near 33rd Street, is one of my go-to spots and definitely at the top of my list for nearby Chinese.

There are some dishes I just can't do without when I eat there, and on this visit I didn't. But I also tried a couple of new dishes.

I'd never had tomato and egg soup at any Chinese restaurant, so I wasn't sure what to expect. This was a delicious brothy soup with large omelet chunks that gave it a distinctly eggy flavor, tomato wedges and scallions.

The Sichuan wontons with red oil were also new to me. The redness promised a potency and indeed it was fiery. There are so many different kinds of spiciness; the kind in this food makes your lips burn and makes you feel like you're breathing a little bit of fire.

The Gui Zhou chicken is my favorite dish here. It too has heat. The tender chunks of chicken are tossed with peppercorns, chilies, scallions and a root vegetable that my dining companion identified as bamboo.

The dry and sauteed string beans with minced pork is another dish that Grand Sichuan does terrifically. A tasty option for getting in your serving of vegetables.

So next time you find yourself in the Murry Hill area, keep Grand Sichuan in mind. It's likely to have fewer crowds, if any, and you'll feel like you've found a hidden gem.

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