Monday, March 7, 2011

Great to See You Again, General Tso

My brother ZW, JB, and I went to a Chinese restaurant on X-mas evening, like the rest of the Jewish population in the US. ZW kept hearing great things about Grand Sichuan in the West Village, so we trekked down there in the cold.

There were two sections of the menu…the “American” Chinese food and the Sichuan-Style food. They decided to be really daring and ordered some crazy Sichuan dishes. Some of them were really good, and some were just sort of meh. We left proud that we were adventurous, but also left craving the “American” standards like General Tso’s chicken and dishes doused in garlic sauce.

On his next visit back to NYC, we were craving Chinese food again, and decided to re-do our Grand Sichuan experience at another location near my apartment. We wanted to go with some of the American staples, but also couldn’t pass up sampling a new Sichuan dish.

We started with sharing an order of Sichuan dan dan noodles. This small bowl of noodles in an oily, reddish sauce looked innocent enough, but let me tell you…the Sichuan chilies and spices pack a serious punch. Now, I know I’m not the most daring eater when it comes to different meats and animals. But as we perused the menu, we were in shock at some of the crazy things we saw: spicy aromatic pig blood, grilled turtle, double tasted sword clam, and jellyfish to name a few. 


We decided it was smart to stick with what we know. So, we ordered General Tso’s chicken and shrimp with eggplant in garlic sauce. And even though these dishes are pretty run-of-the-mill, I have to say I was very impressed with these versions.


The General Tso’s chicken at Grand Sichuan Eastern was hands down the best one I’ve ever had. The large pieces were made of 100% white meat (none of that sketchy gray “chicken” meat to be found), and the sauce was rich and flavorful.


The other dish didn’t exactly exist on the menu, but they had no problem putting it together for us. The shrimp were cooked really well and seemed very fresh. The eggplant used in Chinese dishes is always so good, and the sauce was garlicky and delicious.


The reviews online say how terrible the service is and how rude the wait staff is. Despite it being prime dinner time on a Friday night, our food was ordered and served with a smile. Even though the interior is bright and consists pretty much of just wood paneling, the service made the atmosphere a little bit warmer. 


This is not your standard Chinese take-out spot. Entrees will run you $12-$18, but the quality of the food makes those few extra bucks very worthwhile.

Grand Sichuan Eastern
1049 2nd Avenue
b/t 55th & 56th Streets
Menu Pages listing

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