After hearing raves from a couple of Flushing friends, I went with them to Sichuan Dynasty (135-32 40th Road, 718-961-7500) on Valentine's Day. It has been open for about two weeks and occupies a pleasantly decorated three-story space. The owner is friendly and helped us negotiate the special menu that my friends had liked: three dishes for $16.95, each additional $5.00. Perhaps it was the Valentine's rush or something, but, even though the service was fine and the owner friendly, as usual, the food we tried was not as good as I had been led to believe, with the exception of the twice-cooked pork which was quite excellent. It uses very thin-sliced pork, maybe fatback, and lots of leeks, and the spicing was just right. The meal started with a watery broth tasting only lightly of pepper and ended with a watery sweet bean soup which also lacked punch. We tried Sichuan tofu, a very peppery beef dish with bok choy, I believe. There was a spicy chicken dish, like kung pau without the peanuts and chilis and another not spicy chicken with tomatoes, as well as Sichuan string beans with salty pork. In fact, to me, everything except the pork and the soups was exceedingly salty. I haven't tried much Szechuan food here except in non-Szechuan restaurants but have had experience in California. Generally, I've enjoyed most everything I've tried. I think maybe this place deserves another chance. It does seem authentic. We were the only non-Chinese there that night, although a few people came by for take out. And, for being open less than a month, it was packed. I'd like to hear about other experiences. One of my dining companions said she still much prefers Szechuan Gourmet. However, I was told that the whole fish was good, though quite bony, and they had a bunch of cold appetizers in cases at the front that looked interesting.
Also, as a side note, I find it interesting that when I've had so-so dining experiences, it seems to be the pork dishes that stand out. At Tibetan Yak, the pork was the only thing we really liked. At Mai Thai, the appetizer grilled pork was outstanding but the rest lackluster. And here, the pork dish was the only stellar one. Other experiences?