19-23 St. Mark's Place
New York, NY
(212) 529-4800; (212) 529-4805 | Map
I had been hearing all sorts of magical things about Grand Sichuan for a while now. One of my coworkers, Eric, is a regular diner at their St. Mark's location and, unbeknownst to me at the time, had planned for us to have dinner there with his friend Liz before we headed over to the Santos Party House for the pre-SXSW party hosted by Rachael Ray. (Yes, I'm aware that this party was held on February 25... I am, admittedly, a bit behind with my blogging.) Because I had never been there before, I let Eric and Liz lead the way in terms of ordering, especially since they already to know what they wanted to eat.
As a rule, we had to start with the Pork Soup Dumplings ($6.95). Seriously, I would have been ridiculously content to have eaten the soup dumplings all night. The pork was cooked perfectly and the broth was deliciously rich and almost buttery. It turns out that Liz had been craving those soup dumplings the entire day before we met up for dinner, and I can completely understand why. I'm craving them right now as I sit here in my apartment typing this!
For our main dishes, Eric and Liz chose food strictly from the "Authentic Sichuan & Hunan Food" section of the menu: the Gui Zhou Spicy Beef ($12), the Prawn with Garlic Sauce ($15.95), and the Ma Po Tu Fu ($9.95), which is, surprisingly (to me), prepared with pork. Of course, the picture I took of the Ma Po Tu Fu did not seem to survive, as it was not in the batch of photos on my camera that I uploaded after that night. Oops.
The Gui Zhou Spicy Beef was crispy but not heavy or greasy. As you can see in the above photo, the Prawn with Garlic Sauce is served as a decently-sized portion. In retrospect, I would have ordered two plates of both of those dishes since they were so good! The spiciness wasn't overpowering at all. In fact, the dishes were just spicy enough to make my cheeks appear flushed. Since the Ma Po Tu Fu came out after we were served the Gui Zhou Spicy Beef and the Prawn with Garlic Sauce, we didn't dive into the dish as hungrily as we did with the other two. Had all of the food come out together, I have no doubt that the three of us would have cleaned those plates in record time, but it took a little longer for us to finish up the Ma Po Tu Fu. I really did love all of the food we ate at Grand Sichuan that night and am looking for the perfect reason to back and try some more of their authentic dishes!
Chinese food, anyone?
And, to prove that we didn't just sit around the restaurant all night gorging on fantastic food, billed earlier that day by Eric as "the best Chinese food I'd ever eat in my entire life," here's a little video of the lead singer from Semi Precious Weapons introducing Rachael Ray to the crowd at the Santos Party House (warning: the f-bomb is dropped):
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