Szechuan Gourmet (New York City NY)
||242 West 52nd Street,|
New York City, NY 10019
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2011 Issue: 18(2) page: 27
This eatery, a branch of a restaurant by the same name in Manhattan's garment district (at 21 West 39th Street), and it now employs its Number 1 chef. When we need a hot pepper fix and are in the theater district, we head here for our Sichuan food fix. Michael Ngai manages the place. He is a ten year veteran of the Wu Liang Ye restaurant group and here he helps everyone order great dishes.
There are the usual items, with many having four red peppers advising them as incendiary. However, they are not as hot as you or they seem to think. One can select among more than one hundred sixty dishes; forty more on the lunch menu. We try many of them and are always delighted.
The Ox Tongue & Tripe with Roasted Chili-Peanut Dressing is a winner, as are Duck Tongues with Sichuan Pepper-Corn-Scallion Dressing. Not piquant, the Honey Glazed Spare Ribs and the Stuffed Tofu Crepe with Shiitake & Bamboos Shoots are both delicious, soothing, and worth devouring.
Love tofu and want lots of it? Order Braised Crispy Tofu with Chili Leeks & Sliced Pork; it has one hot pepper pictured on the menu, hardly any in the dish. Camphor Tea Smoked Duck should be ordered; a room-temperature phenomenon, it is good in every season. So is the Braised Whole Bass with Yibin Cai & Minced Pork. No hot peppers here, just fish cooked to a turn with minced Yibin veges swimming within.
Need a lamb fix? Try their Wok-tossed Crispy Lamb Filets with Roasted Chili Cumin. This dish has very few chili peppers just lots of lovely Northern Chinese taste. Cool down with Sauteed Sponge Squash and White Wood Ear Mushrooms, or the Crispy Wild Yam with Chili Miso Sauce.
Do not like a Chinese main meal without soup? Go for the Fish Filet with Pickled Mustard Green in Broth. Says it feeds two, however, four of us downed it with some left over along with three other dishes. Once, two could not finish it and a couple of other dishes.
This is Chinatown-quality food south of Central Park. With many other restaurants on the block, this the only Chinese one, go visit and know it is a good destination for fine your Chinese food fix.