Try as I might, I just don't get any of the branch restaurants other than the Grand Szechuan on 24th Street & 9th Avenue. I had lunch this week at the 55th Street & 2nd Avenue restaurant. I still have indigestion and did not enjoy one bite of what turned out to be an expensive lunch for a neighborhood restaurant.
Based on other hounds' suggestions, I ordered something called Quong Qing Chicken - a spicy dish with teeny tiny bits of chicken drowning in a sea of chili peppers. The chicken tasted deep-fried and came sesame-coated with gravy. After a few bites, I started burping (yuck) in front of a co-worker. The 'non-existent' chicken was greasy, oily and extremely salty. I left most of the dish and hungry, I decided to order from the generic prix-fixe lunch menu. I ordered wonton soup and mixed vegetables which came with more brown gravy. Before ordering the veggie dish, I asked the sour-pussed waitress (who noted I left the first dish practically untouched) if the veggies were all fresh. She assured me they were. I told her I didn't want any canned veggies. Well, the wonton soup was yucky - the consistency of the wonton filling had a strange texture and the broth was thin. I mean any decent Chinese restaurant can make a tasty wonton soup. The mixed vegetable plate had fresh broccoli and snow peas and CANNED corn and other canned crap such as mushy mushrooms.
I know my second order wasn't a typical Szechuan dish but they couldn't get that right either. Total cost for a neighborhood lunch: almost $25 with tip.
I believe the best way to try Grand Szechuan is to go with several people and sample lots of various dishes. This cuts your losses if you don't like a particular dish. GS has taken on a cult following among Chowhounds and I'm wondering at this point how deserving that reputation is.
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