Looking for Chinese before my food allergy associate arrives, I stumbled upon Grand Sichuan New York at 227 Lexington (at 34th St.) Peering in the window I could see that at least half of the customers at the 8 or so taken tables appeared to be Asian - a good omen. Or, they could be Asians with no taste! I decided to try it.
The decor looks close to Chinatown without actually being there. It appeared to have been some other type of restaurant before turning Chinese. There was a lone red lantern hanging from the ceiling and some obligatory Chinese landscape scenes set into recesses in the wall. Pieces of plywood acted as patches in various places of the drop ceiling. And, there were boxes of supplies piled up in the corners. Good signs!
The menu was in both English and Chinese and included sections devoted to traditional Sichuan, New Sichuan, Chef's Specials, Singapore dishes and Canton Specialites. Hey - it's called Grand Sichuan so I stuck with that part of the menu.
There was a good selection of soups although only 4 available as single servings. I opted for the miso soup instead of the usual hot & sour, egg drop or wanton. The miso was dark and rich with a good flavor and small pieces of diced tofu in the bottom of the bowl.
Smoked tea duck was my main course. I love smokey foods and this was excellent although a bit on the salty side. Might have been the dipping sauce that accompanied it, though. It was served as chopped pieces of duck with sliced cucumbers. The skin was crispy, the meat tender and with a wonderful smoked taste. I eventually gave up on the chopsticks and used my fingers to get as much meat off the pieces as possible. Some were pretty thin.
All in all, a good meal washed down with Tsing Tao beer. Not the best Chinese I've had but definitely above average. I'd like to go back with a few people in order to sample more dishes. Eating Chinese alone is a very limiting experience.