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Grand Sichuan House


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There's a Chowhound thread that's been running on this place for about a month. Now sometimes the CH folks can be, well, overly enthusiastic. There's a romanticism that takes over and the posts become unreliable. Well, this time they got it right.

 

Deb and I visited last Friday night and brought along a friend, partly because we like him and partly so we could order more dishes. :) This is a seriously good restaurant. My points of comparison are Spicy and Tasty and Szechuan Gourmet (the Manhattan branch on 39th St.). Based on one meal, this place compares favorably.

 

Szechuan wontons - perfectly prepared, nice and spicy.

 

Chengdu dumplings - this was a new dish for me. The dumplings themselves were longer and had a sort of oblong shape and had a noodley quality to them. The filling was also different - finely minced pork that was smoother in consistency than standard dumplings. Honestly, if I had read this description before eating them I might not have found it appealing. In fact the dumplings themselves were very good and made a nice change from the standard kind. And of course they were suitably spicy.

 

Dan Dan noodles - they compared with the best I've had.

 

Hot and sour soup - It was a cold night and this was a nice rendition.

 

Shredded Pork with fried bean curd - I use this dish as a benchmark since it's served at both S&T and SG. This version compared nicely.

 

Shredded duck with green beans - A standout dish. Normally I find duck to be on the greasy side. I can eat a bit of it but it has limited appeal. Not this time. This was nicely crispy and had a wonderful spicy kick. Not overpowering but enough to really wake up your mouth.

 

Cumin beef - Deb and my friend liked this dish more than me. One of them said that it reminded him of beef french fries and I think they had a point. Nicely crispy, the cumin taste was pleasantly assertive. I liked it fine but I liked the other dishes more. Put it down to personal taste.

 

They sell beer and wine. The beer selection was somewhat limited but we found something we liked. On the night we went they only had a generic red wine. It was the only part of the menu that could use a bit of improvement. If I was betting I'd say that they would happily let you bring your own wine.

 

The chef/owner came out to find out how we were enjoying the meal. We'd been praising the dishes to the waitress and I think she must have passed on the compliments. He was a genuinely interested in our opinion and he was really pleased we appreciated his efforts to serve authentically spicy dishes. He wound up comping us 50% and in return we tipped lavishly.

 

This is an outstanding place. I'm a long time Park Slope resident and for the first time I've got a case of Bay Ridge envy.

 

Logistics - this place is on 5th Ave. and 87th St, around the corner from the giant 86th St. branch of Century 21. Combining a shopping trip with a first class lunch or dinner sounds like a good idea to me. It's one block from the 86th St. R train stop.

 

Grand Sichuan House

8701 5th Avenue (btw. 87th and 88th)

Brooklyn, 11209

(718) 680-8887

Mon.-Thurs. 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Fri. & Sat. 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sun. 12:00 noon to 10:00 p.m.

 

Menu here.

 

And in answer to the inevitable question, I don't know if there's any connection to the Grand Sichuan International mini chain.

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Had a lovely meal here last evening with some wonderful company.

 

Now, granted that I haven't had good Chinese food in a while, so I might have been a bit more appreciative of the food than I normally would have, but I thought the food was stellar. Not necessarily of the blow-your-mind quality, but just solid tasty stuff made with care and quality.

 

Ordered a variety of items including:

Chengdu dumplings

Dan-dan noodles

Scallion pancakes

Jellyfish

 

For mains:

Shredded duck with ginger

Chongqing chicken

Guixou(?) chicken with potatoes

Cumin beef

String beans with minced pork

 

Everything was delicious, not a loser in the bunch. My favorites were the string beans (considering I normally recoil from green vegetables, these were fantastic) and the cumin beef (deep-fried battered beef -- you can't go wrong).

 

Portions were quite large. Everything was prepared carefully and presented with pride; we all noted the elaborate carrot garnishes -- representative of the care taken with each dish. And unlike what I've come to expect with Sichuan cuisine, the flavors were clean with very little grease or oil. Yes, the dumplings came in a sauce of spicy red oil, as did the dan-dan noodles, but they didn't taste oily.

 

Finished with orange slices and fortune cookies. Mine said, 'The star of riches is shining upon you.' Yeah, I'm counting on it.

 

A nice place, it was relatively empty on a Friday night. Definitely a wonderful find.

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So, having gone on Friday with lovelynugget and others, then again last night with omni and others, I gotta say that this is a very solid place. The 2 dinner orders had minimal repititions of dishes yet almost everything was excellent. Given that Friday was a party of 5 and Monday of 7, with more than enough ordered, this is very good news. Last night there was quite a bit left over yet $30pp more than covered it (with beers, tax/big tip). Maybe someone else can describe dishes but this included a nice sized whole fish. The apps seem much spicier than the entrees, with last night's Tripe/Tongue combo & Beef Tendon joining Friday's Chengdu dumplings as too hot for me (not that this stopped me from eating them). Cumin lamb was good but Friday's Cumin Beef was better. I'd go back in a flash. Nice place, nice people, fresh well made food. Hardly anyone else there either time. Hope they stay in business for awhile.

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I think my favorite dishes were the dried string beans and the chicken with potatoes. Next up was the beef dish. Does anyone remember what it was called? It had a ton of pepper and garlic in it and was very savory. I enjoyed the sauteed loofah as well. Everything was wonderful, but do beware of the dan dan noodles, the tripe and ox tongue, and the beef tendon dish. Those three are delicious but incredibly spicy.

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A voice of dissent, somewhat. Takeout from there fed four of us, including two MF members, plus, indirectly, two babies, on Sunday night.

 

We had:

 

Appetizers:

Fried pork dumplings

Chengdu dumplings

Dan-dan noodles

Tripe

 

For mains:

Pea shoots

Cumin lamb

String beans with minced pork

Twice cooked pork in three pounds of chili peppers

 

Some of it was very good indeed. The string beans were a big hit, and the pea shoots were excellent and not too heavy. We liked the chengdu dumplings too.

 

When you ask for spicy, they make it spicy. Heavy, and greasy, too. That's the style.

 

I have really two criticisms of the place. Both of these are in contrast to both Spicy and Tasty and Little Pepper and the manhattan Grand Szechuans and also Wu Liang Ye.

 

First, the menu was not very extensive. There were few cold appetizers -- for instance, no bamboo shoots. We ordered enough for six hungry adults and we probably ordered about half of the interesting-looking items on the menu. You can see this in that between what I ordered and what lovelynugget ordered above, about half of the dishes were the same.

 

Second, two things that I generally like very much, the tripe and the dan dan noodles, were so strongly tasting of szechuan peppercorns that I couldn't taste anything else. They have an ashen, metallic taste, which some people may love. I'm fine with it in some measure, but with both the noodles and the tripe it's all I could taste. The tripe at S&T is one of my favorite dishes anywhere, and it tastes diversely. The tripe here was well prepared but had no other taste besides gunmetal. (I just had leftovers stir-fried with tofu for dinner tonight.)

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The cumin lamb was good, but in a blind taste test it could be mistaken for ground lamb cooked in Ortega taco mix.

 

The twice cooked pork was not good. It was chewy and the pork itself lacked flavor.

 

Loved the string beans, which were also great cold the next day.

 

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