Wednesday, November 16, 2011
NYC Restaurant Review: Great Sechuan
# 363 3rd Ave, New York NY10016 40.74123 -73.981879
# (Btwn 26th & 27th St)
This is one of the best and most authentic Chinese restaurants I have found in NYC. I am amazed at how many lousy Chinese restaurants survive in NYC...but this one is great. Not fancy, but with what seem to me to be real roots in China rather than perpetuating the mediocre American interpretation of Chinese cuisine.
My son loves the place and they love him. The service is generally so-so, which is typical of the most authentic of Chinese restaurants. But once they got used to my son, they remembered what he always ordered and welcomed us warmly every time we came. They are good people who serve good food in a no frills restaurant. They always have two TV's going...one in English one in Chinese. I have never decided if I liked this or not. I think I like the odd contrast between the two programming styles.
They have a good lunch special. Price wise I recommend it. You will get good food, appetizer, main course and rice, for a good price. And you will be satisfied. But it isn't their BEST food. Just their good food. On this cheaper menu I'd say the Double-Cooked Pork and Kung Bao Chicken stand out from what I have tasted so far.
But the regular menu has some real gems. First off there are the Pork Soup Dumplings. Now these don't beat the soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai, but they are still amazingly good dumplings. For the uninitiated, soup dumplings are delicious dumplings with soup inside them. They are hot...so poke a hole in them with your chopsticks to let the steam out before you pop them in your mouth. But they are also one of the best inventions ever. Joe's Shanghai are the best I have ever had, but Great Sechuan does a great job of them as well.
The regular Pork Dumplings are also good, though I personally feel that the wonton skin they use is too thick. I like very thin skinned dumplings. But as that style of dumplings goes, these are very good. My son loves them.
The Cold Shredded Amazing Chicken is also great. Maybe not quite "amazing" but I definitely enjoyed it. A tad spicy, with very tender white meat chicken. This was one of the more authentic seeming dishes.
This place is also unusual among traditional American Chinese restaurants (as opposed to Indian-Chinese fusion restaurants) in that they have lamb dishes. This is usually a big gap at Chinese restaurants. I have not tried the lamb dishes here yet, but they seem adaptations of traditional Chinese dishes, not Indian fusion cuisine. Now I like Indian-Chinese fusion, but I have yet to try true Chinese lamb dishes and this restaurant gives me that chance. I plan on trying it!
The Chong Qing Dry & Spicy Chicken is amazing. Spicy and again, to my palate, more authentic than most Chinese restaurants. Also on the spicy side is the Sichuan Fried Rice, which is a nicely spiced up version of an old standard.
They used to have what seemed to be a Mao inspired part of the menu which seemed really interesting and authentic, even if the political theories associated with the food were not so palatable. We had a couple of things from that part of the menu that were unfamiliar and delicious. But now they seem to have pared that down and Mao`s Stir-Fried Shredded Pork is one of the few items from that wonderful part of the menu that remains.
I love good Chinese food...and outside of Chinatown and a handful of other restaurants I have found I often am disappointed by the Chinese food in NYC. Great Sechuan was a nice surprise. Good food, reasonable prices and a level of authenticity that is rare in American Chinese restaurants. I highly recommend it.
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Posted by mole333 at 8:14 PM