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Szechuan Gourmet - W. 39th St.


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Yes, my cumin lamb wasn't too dry as previous complaints on eG but rather less crisp than it should have been. And not sizzling hot (temperature-wise) like it used to be.

Actually if you want your meat + cumin fix, I recommend Grand Sichuan's Cumin Beef. Similar preparation but they give you a lot more heat. Last time I had it, it came out burning hot, fresh from the fryer. And (filling-less) steamed buns on the side, IIRC.

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Yes, my cumin lamb wasn't too dry as previous complaints on eG but rather less crisp than it should have been. And not sizzling hot (temperature-wise) like it used to be.

Actually if you want your meat + cumin fix, I recommend Grand Sichuan's Cumin Beef. Similar preparation but they give you a lot more heat. Last time I had it, it came out burning hot, fresh from the fryer. And (filling-less) steamed buns on the side, IIRC.

So far, the best cumin lamb that I've had, believe it or not, is at the Bay Ridge Bklyn place (on 5th between 87-88th Sts).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally had the cumin lamb at the fabled Bay Ridge place (Grand Sichuan House) and it was indeed excellent. It is, however, a barely comparable dish to the cumin lamb at Szechuan Gourmet. The seasonings are similar but the Grand Sichuan House version is, as stated on the menu, lamb with cumin sauce. It's a wet dish, not smothered in sauce but generally moist. Whereas, the Szechuan Gourmet dish is a dry dish with crispy lamb slices dusted with cumin. I'd hate to live in a world without both.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 9 months later...
So for a visitor that wants to stay in Manhattan, would you all recommend SG or Grand Sichuan or someplace else instead?

Although I have no problem going to either (or recommending them), the best Sichuan meal I've had in Manhattan this year has been at the midtown Wu Yang Li. Best Manhattan non-Sichuan meal was at Cantoon Garden, although I highly recommend NY Noodletown as well (both in Chinatown).

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So for a visitor that wants to stay in Manhattan, would you all recommend SG or Grand Sichuan or someplace else instead?

SG, but only the 39th St. location.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I've been to the 24th Street Grand Sichuan, St Marks Grand Sichuan, 33rd Street Grand Sichuan (not affiliated with the 24th/St Marks/7th Ave/Jersey City ones), and Szechuan Gourmet on 39th this year. Szechuan Gourmet has been the best out of all of them.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Sounds like Pan has.

Yeah. I can't find my Chowhound post about it, but I had lunch there several weeks ago with my girlfriend, and it was disappointing, although we were seemingly ordering from the Sichuan-style menu and made it clear that we were regulars at the 39th St. location and like really spicy real Sichuan-style food, not things sweetened for Americans. To be fair, the food wasn't sweetened, but they use too many canned ingredients and the food just wasn't very good. My girlfriend subsequently got takeout from there and it was very pedestrian. It is in no way comparable to the 39th St. location.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks guys. Szechuan is probably my favorite cuisine and I love trying new places when I travel. I'm interested to see how they do my favorite dishes--particularly fish in fire water/fish in water/boiled fish (so many names for this dish!). Also crab preparations--my local fave has a Szechuan dungeness crab that is one of the best things you could ever eat, but maybe in NYC they'll have lobster? Oh and PICKLES.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At dinnertime, reservations are usually essential. And since it's possible to make dinner reservations, there's no reason not to.

The full menu is available at lunchtime.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I take your point, Steven, but I haven't previously found dinner reservations essential. Has it gotten significantly more popular in the last few months?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I take your point, Steven, but I haven't previously found dinner reservations essential. Has it gotten significantly more popular in the last few months?

Popularity has increased over time, though I'm not aware of a particular spike in the past few months. Nor have I been there for dinner in the past few months. Probably 90% of my visits are for lunch, where it's a walk-in situation.

The times I've been for dinner, I've been very glad to have a reservation. And I've seen people turned away at the door.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks again for the help. We had no problem getting a table on a Sunday night. We had the spicy cucumber salad, spicy mung bean jelly, ma po tofu, a dish I call Ants on a Tree and they call something else (forgot what) scallion pancake, lobster with ginger and scallion, and bok choy. Everything was good but nothing blew me away. Maybe my expectations were too high--I thought it might be SO much better than the Szechuan we have here in the Seattle area, but it wasn't. But if I lived in the area I'd definitely return there when I wanted Szechuan. I'll have to try Spicy and Tasty my next visit.

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