A few evenings ago we went to Grand Sichuan House following all the great reviews here. They advertise Real Sichuan Cuisine and for New York, I think that is a fair statement. But authentic doesn't automatically mean good. We arrived at about 6:45 and there was only one other occupied table. While we were there, there were several take out orders, but no other table occupants. Service was very attentive and helpful. We would really like this place to do well, but the night we were there, it didn't quite make it for us.
They did not have the Soup Dumplings, so we had the Dan Dan Noodles. The heat was "authentic", but there was something not quite right. The best I could describe it was that the sauce was thin and the noodles had the texture of spaghetti instead of the softness we usually expect. We ordered the lamb with cumin which was quite tasty and well spiced, but the meat was tough and chewy. Most disappointing was the Spicy and Aromatic Soft Shell Crab. This dish is smothered in chili peppers like the Chong Qing dishes at GSI. The waitress warned us about this and even showed us a picture of what it looks like. We got it anyway and were not at all distressed by the heat, which came mostly from the szechuan peppercorns as the chilies themselves are a lot scarier looking than tasting. The sauce and the flavoring quite good (love them szechuan peppercorns). However, the crab was very greasy and just not enjoyable. Price was a bargain with total cost including two Tsingtao, tax and tip was a little over $50.
All in all, while we prefer eating in Brooklyn, coming from the Downtown Brooklyn, BAM area, GSI Chelsea will continue to be our "local" Szechuan choice. Driving time is about the same and parking is actually easier in Chelsea than Bay Ridge. And while there might be a wait for a table at GSI, it's probably better than being lonely at GSH.
Grand Sichuan House
8701 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
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