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Grand Sichuan International


Pan
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Several of the items that you or/and your friends ordered were not Sichuan- or Hunan-style dishes. Sorry you didn't like the jellyfish, though. I've never found it bland.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  Ended up having a nice meal, even though it was only myself and two friends, a much smaller group than I had hoped for.  (What kind of college student chooses to actually do work instead of going out for a little Chinese food?  C'mon now  :blink: ).  Anyway, here's what we sampled:

  2.  Wonton Soup (very flavorful broth, wontons had nice texture, good stuff)

16.  Egg Roll (I did not taste this, but my friend seemed to like it)

30.  Dan Dan Noodle w. Chili Sauce (quite spicy lingering aftertaste, pretty good)

47.  Jelly Fish w. Scallion Oil (not a fan, found it very bland, lacking in flavor)

59.  Beef Lo Mein (decent, nothing memorable, friend who ordered it thought it was okay)

110. Smoked Tea Duck (nice crispy skin, flavorful meat, good sauce, my favorite dish of the evening)

Braised Pumpkin (yummy, this was dish was a hit with all three of us)

Overall, good food, good prices, would be nice to go back to sometime.

Well, at least you liked the excellent Dan Dan Noodles and Braised Pumpkin. :biggrin: Sorry you weren't thrilled with the Jelly fish -- yeah, the jellyfish itself is more a texture than a flavor, but I've found the scallion oil makes up for that. As for the smoked duck: I'm jealous. When a group of us were there a few months ago, our table wanted to order it but they were out. :sad:

Next time you want to go, bring more adventurous friends. :wink: Or let us know here, and we'll be happy to join you. :laugh:

And Happy (belated) birthday!!

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Whoa, whoa, guys. Pan and Soba, ease up a little on the quick culinary attacks. :raz: I went in knowing to go for the Sichuan and Hunan style dishes, hence the reason I was the one who ordered:

30. Dan Dan Noodle w. Chili Sauce

47. Jelly Fish w. Scallion Oil

110. Smoked Tea Duck

Braised Pumpkin

Not everybody eats like us here at eGullet; the average person is not a foodie. I was with some less adventurous companions, so they chose to stick with dishes that were familiar to them..lo mein, wonton soup, egg roll, etc. One of them even thought they were being "adventurous" by ordering pumpkin soup (which I forgot about, but did not get a chance to try).

We all shared everything on the table, which is why I commented on all the dishes too, as well as my own.

Sorry if I came off as a little defensive, your comments just seemed a little condescending to me.

That being said, I am very glad to have tried this restaurant. I find typical Chinese-American food very uninteresting, so I very very rarely eat Chinese when I dine out. So it was nice to have a little more authentic depiction of what Chinese food should be like, and also to taste a side of Chinese cooking I have not tasted before. I always enjoy trying new places, new flavors, new dishes, etc, and I'd definitely be willing to go to this restaurant, or others like it, again.

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Whoa, whoa, guys.  Pan and Soba, ease up a little on the quick culinary attacks. :raz: [...]Sorry if I came off as a little defensive, your comments just seemed a little condescending to me. 

"Several of the items that you or/and your friends ordered were not Sichuan- or Hunan-style dishes" is neither an attack nor condescending, but merely an accurate statement. Sorry that it bugged you.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Perhaps sometimes I am a little too passionate about my food  :laugh:

Aw, heck, I know the feeling! I would have to think that most of us have eaten out with people lacking in adventurousness or ability to tolerate the unusual and spicy. I sure have, so I understand.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Whoa, whoa, guys.  Pan and Soba, ease up a little on the quick culinary attacks. :raz:

Sorry if the comments bothered you.

The Grand Sichuan restaurants are many things to many people, but one thing that several of them don't focus well on, at least imo, is Cantonese food. Yours is not the first impression regarding this outlook. The one that springs most to my mind is this post and related commentary.

Anyway, glad that you found it worthwhile to return. You might consider trying Spicy and Tasty in Flushing. Many on the board think it easily the equal of GS, if not better.

Soba

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  • 4 weeks later...

I went back to the ~50th St. location tonight with my folks and brother. Having become a regular customer (mostly delivery and takeout) from the very good St. Marks Place branch, I forgot just how good the Midtown location is. It seems to me, it's still clearly better. In particular, the Aui Zhou Chicken (fresh killed) is even better than I remember and may have improved. It seems less salty than it used to be. Everything else was good, and in particular, we liked the Sichuan Cold Noodles (non-spicy version) so much we ordered a second bowl. I believe this branch of Grand Sichuan is comparable to Spicy & Tasty in Flushing, though a shade under it in quality. Most of the difference is probably down to the differences in clientele, with Grand Sichuan's being very heavily non-Asian and Spicy & Tasty, at least 80+% Chinese. But given that, the amount of taste the dishes at Midtown Grand Sichuan have is truly commendable.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'm officially addicted to the sauteed string beans with minced pork at the 50th st location. If I don't have them at least one a week ( a WHOLE order) I just don't feel complete. Best string beans ever.

I also tried the pork belly recently, before re-checking this thread (unfortunately), and found it completely inedible. Maybe it was off that night, but I'll certainly never order that again. Tried the dry aged tofu and beef, and that actually rocked. The Auhzou(sp?) chicken is still the marquee dish for me though.

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...

I also tried the pork belly recently, before re-checking this thread (unfortunately), and found it  completely inedible. ...

What was up with the pork belly - in what way was it inedible?

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I went to the 50th and 9th on Sunday after reading about it here, and I'm going back on Friday with friends I've been missing food like this since I left Portland Or.10 years ago. I'm going to get the wonton in chili oil, sesame noodles, pan fried pork dumpling dry sauteed string beans, kung bao chicken and maybe dan dan noodles( I've never tried them) and I'm going to get some pork buns to go. Anybody have any suggesions for another dish that shouldn't be missed?

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[...]Anybody have any suggesions for another dish that shouldn't be missed?

Yes.

Yes.

And yes.

Since I'm the same person making the recommendations (in reverse chronological order), there's some overlap.

If you look through this thread and the other thread linked to from the first "Yes," you'll see that various other members have posted other recommendations. I think all your choices are good except that the pork buns and dumplings may be merely good compared to the other dishes that will probably be great.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 1 month later...

I went for dinner on Friday. Since I hadn't eaten Grand Sichuan's food in a while -- this was the first time I went to the Midtown location, though last year I ordered food for delivery a couple of times a week as I was working nearby -- I ordered my favorites: beef tendon with hot pepper sauce, kung bao (with fresh chicken), and sour string beans with pork. Everything was excellent. Actually, the tendon made my lips tingle with the strange burn of Sichuan peppercorns more than it had before. Could it have anything to do with this?

Does anyone know if that Web site's claim is true? Perhaps it allowed GSI to get fresher peppercorns.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Dont know about the Peppercorns.. I went there yesterday afternoon to the one on 55 and second.. After staying with my girl for so long, I actually couldnt take the lack of chinese food on the upper west side so I fully walked there. Had the kung bao, the second sisters rabbit, the dumplings.. Then had the pickled cabbage and fish soup.. Still amazing! Also had a soft shell crab dish.. Very good.

The reason for my post however is to ask about the New Years menu.. I ordered the razor clam dish, but they were out of it.. I was with first time people who were a little reluctant about trying certain things.. (I had to fight for rabbit even) So i didnt want to order things I havent had.. Does anyone have a break down of New Years menu. Some things look really good..

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Any updates on the qualities/virtues of the St Marks location vs Chelsea location?

Friends of ours are raving about the Chelsea spot & we're planning an outing, but I'm realizing that St Marks is pretty much equidistant from where they live, so I'm wondering.

Further uptown is not an option, I'll have to save the Hell's Kitchen version for another occasion.

Thanks.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I went for dinner on Friday. Since I hadn't eaten Grand Sichuan's food in a while -- this was the first time I went to the Midtown location, though last year I ordered food for delivery a couple of times a week as I was working nearby -- I ordered my favorites: beef tendon with hot pepper sauce, kung bao (with fresh chicken), and sour string beans with pork. Everything was excellent. Actually, the tendon made my lips tingle with the strange burn of Sichuan peppercorns more than it had before. Could it have anything to do with this?

Does anyone know if that Web site's claim is true? Perhaps it allowed GSI to get fresher peppercorns.

I don't have an answer to your question, but my last visit (in January) *definitely* featured peppercorns of a potency I hadn't had in my other 6-7 trips there.

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Any updates on the qualities/virtues of the St Marks location vs Chelsea location?

(edit: Chelsea)

Had the Aui Zhou Chicken about 2 weeks ago and the memories of the pepper make my tongue weak. Was almost medicinal in quality - but I couldn't keep away from the alluring tart, then overwhelmingly pungent quality of the dish...

A note - they had only been open for about an hour. I'll bet later in the day the spices blend more predicably (and as I've had them before).

But that taste - really extraordinary...

Edited by waves2ya (log)

~waves

"When you look at the face of the bear, you see the monumental indifference of nature. . . . You see a half-disguised interest in just one thing: food."

Werner Herzog; NPR interview about his documentary "Grizzly Man"...

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First of all, I've had a dish that I believe was marked "seasonal" and probably not exactly part of the New Years menu, at the St. Marks branch, and liked: I think it was called "Red Spinach." I had something else that was definitely from the New Years menu, but I don't remember the dish. It was pretty good but tasted kind of buttery, something that's true of various dishes at the St. Marks branch, and which I don't favor.

Comparison of the Chelsea and St. Marks locations:

Both very good, though I think the Midtown location is better than either. The Chelsea location's menu is more similar to that of their Midtown location (c. 50th and 9th) than the St. Marks location's. The St. Marks location features more Hunan-style food. I think you'd like either branch. I can make specific recommendations of some St. Marks dishes I've had, if you like. For the Chelsea location, you'd do pretty well to get most anything recommended for the Midtown location.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks for the perspective. We're still a month or so away from this dinner. If there's a movement toward St. Marks I'll post, otherwise I'll re-check this thread before we head to Chelsea.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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For some reason, New York has never had a lot of restaurants that specialize in Shanghai cooking.  (Anyone remember Say Eng Look?  I used to go there a lot, and it was practically the only Shanghai-ese restaurant I knew about.  Great food--I still remember it vividly, and miss it.)  And from my limited contact with Shanghai cooking, I would venture to say that Szechwan cooking is nothing like it.  In fact, it seems to me to be about as far away from it as it could be with both cuisines still being recognizable as Chinese food.

Stumbled on this now year-old post last night, had to come back & say yes, I remember Say Eng Look vividly too. It was indeed great.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I was meeting friends for dinner last Wednesday and trying to decide between Congee Village (cheap and good and thus a good way to impress my friends from NJ) and GSI (cheap and different from anything they've had before). I chose the latter, though as soon as we sat down, one friend expressed his preference for anything that's "not too weird" and "not spicy." Good choice, JJ. My unadventurous friend ordered wonton soup and sesame chicken. The chicken was good.

My other friend, whom I had brought to GSI for his first time last week, and I ordered double-cooked pork with sweet black bean sauce, spicy and sour squid, beef tendon with hot pepper sauce, and "sauteed and dry string bean" -- all dishes, except for the green beans, I've had and enjoyed from GSI before. The squid is definitely a favorite of mine: cucumber, a water chestnut-like vegetable, and intricately scored and very tender nuggets of squid. I ordered the green bean dish because of my experience with a similarly named dish at Szechuan Gourmet, the Manhattan branch of a Flushing Sichuan restaurant that I visited for an article I was writing for TONY. I figured that if GSI makes the dish in a way that is at all similar to the way it's made at Szechuan Gourmet, then it is guaranteed to be amazing. At GSI, it was a bit different -- they use strings beans instead of long beans and pork instead of salty fish. But the concept is the same: green beans cooked until they're soft and sweet and teamed with little bits of something salty. I prefer the version at SG, but it was the one dish at GSI that both my unadventurous friend and I would order again. The meal cost $50, and we could have skipped one of the main dishes and been just as full.

What should I try next time I go? I keep ordering the same stuff.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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What should I try next time I go? I keep ordering the same stuff.

I've really enjoyed the tea-smoked duck, the whole fish items, the cured pork (though I understand that there are other places that may do it better), and the non-spicy fresh chicken with mushrooms dish -- something that was very good, despite being very non-GSIish.

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What should I try next time I go? I keep ordering the same stuff.

I've really enjoyed the tea-smoked duck, the whole fish items, the cured pork (though I understand that there are other places that may do it better), and the non-spicy fresh chicken with mushrooms dish -- something that was very good, despite being very non-GSIish.

Good suggestions, Ben. Especially because these are dishes that my friends wouldn't feel squeamish about ordering.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Had the Aui Zhou Chicken about 2 weeks ago and the memories of the pepper make my tongue weak.  Was almost medicinal in quality - but I couldn't keep away from the alluring tart, then overwhelmingly pungent quality of the dish...

But that taste - really extraordinary...

I am addicted to the AuiZhou Chicken and Dan Dan noodles like nothing I've ever eaten. (What's that odd looking stalky veggie thing in the chicken dish?)

I also love the szechuan peppercorns, but my husband, while he loves hot hot food, can't stand them. I was hysterical at his face the first time he got one full force.

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