I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Grand Sichuan International, Midtown this afternoon, on my first visit. Restaurant was 1/3 to 2/3 full during the course of my meal (12:45 to 1:45). The form of the menu disappointed me; I had gotten the impression that there was much more detail about dishes and the pros and cons of various interpretations of Chinese cooking.
Be that as it may, relying on the advice of fellow chowhounds, I perused the Fresh Chicken section, and ordered the Kung Bao chicken. I did so with some trepidation, given the recent posts about certain dishes being mysteriously too salty or too hot. I also ordered the scallion pancakes to start.
I loved the scallion pancakes, nice and greasy with a substantial scallion flavor. Must eat with the sauce accompanying them to really enjoy.
Out came the Kung Bao (my companion ordered the same (major chowhound faux pas, but I chose first, so what could I do), getting it white meat only). I was thrilled. In my mind, it could not have been better seasoned. Good chicken flavor, snappy seasoning. The chile peppers were generally whole, adding nice flavorful heat, not overwhelming at all. Periodically, some very interesting flavors exploded in my mouth from the various ingredients of the dish -- could that have been whole cloves that I saw? The dish was so much better than any Kung Pao I had had elsewhere -- e.g. the peanuts were a nice pale color, not a color I had ever seen in such a dish before.
I saw lots of interesting delicious-looking dishes being served to fellow diners -- I look forward to many return visits to work my way through the menu.