I spoke to owner John Zhang last night about his new Mao Zedong-themed restaurant on St. Marks Place. (Please see earlier thread, link below, for discussion.) I saw him at Grand Sichuan on Ninth Ave/West 24th. He will give it another "month or so" to get the dishes just right before seeking publicity for the restaurant. He reminded me that his is the only restaurant in the New York area that serves so many authentic Hunan dishes.
I asked him what people were saying about the waitresses wearing olive-green military uniforms and caps, along with red armbands ("serve the people"). He said the uniforms have been discontinued (see discussion thread, link below) and some of the Mao memorabilia, mostly photographs, have been removed. While the concept was very Chinese (and is rather popular in China) it clearly did not seem to get the same reception here.
As for the food, I can highly recommend Grand Sichuan St. Marks.
19-23 St. Marks Place (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
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