Sichuan Obsession

By Ratha Tep Posted February 05, 2007

Here's a tip I learned early on working here at F&W: eat where our editor-in-chief Dana eats (or at least to the extent possible, anyway). I was working late one night and needed to order delivery, so I asked her then-assistant what Dana liked. She said Grand Sichuan in Hell's Kitchen, so I gave it a shot, ordering the Sichuan wonton with red oil, starred on Dana's menu copy. That appetizer alone got me hooked. To think that such tiny dumplings practically drowning in oil could carry such power—but they did. The Grand Sichuan on 9th Ave. between 50th and 51st Streets (the others pale in comparison) has since become a weekly obsession. It's where I go with my best girlfriend to talk for hours and hours on weekday nights over sautéed spicy Chinese broccoli. They're so liberally doused with Sichuan peppercorns that our mouths are temporarily numbed. And of course, I get the wontons. Grand Sichuan is also where I hold a good number of Family Dinners—a Sunday night ritual I have with about eight friends. We'll get a big round table and order dishes I normally couldn't finish on my own (or at least would feel guilty if I did), like spicy double cooked pork and smoked tea duck. And to top it all off, there's the Prodigal Daughter's menu, but that deserves its own posting. More later. 

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