thanks to recommendations on this board, i made my first trip out to spicy & tasty last saturday night. incidentally, this was also my first trip out to flushing. i had always been daunted by what appears from the map to be a lengthy train ride. guess what? it didn't take too long. it was a nice ride & i will definitely make the trip again.
my companion and i arrived at the restaurant at about 8:30 or so on a saturday night. the place was packed! we waited about 40 minutes for a table and were the only non-asians there. the restaurant is very nicely decorated in a sort of fancy banquet hall style, with comfy padded chairs. nice!
we ordered the following:
bamboo shoots in hot & spicy oil: my first time eating fresh bamboo. great! really nice firm texture. the delicate flavor of the bamboo held up nicely under a bath of fiery sesame oil.
dan dan noodles: my first time eating this dish and i liked it a lot. despite the ban, sichuan peppercorns made an appearance in this dish, causing a tingling, numbing sensation in my mouth -- really good! the sauce was very flavorful with just a little ground pork mixed in for flavor. i did think the noodles were somewhat soft. i wasn't sure if this was the way they are supposed to be, but i do generally prefer a firmer noodle.
tea smoked duck: this dish was not spicy at all, but it was very good. the duck was crispy, smoky, and salty. not fatty or greasy at all. very, very good. the accompanying hoisin sauce tasted freshly made, as opposed to glopped out of a jar, and had a distinct flavor of orange zest.
enhanced pork: we ordered this based on the rave reviews from this board. a great dish! flat slices of smoky pork -- somewhat fatty (in a good way) though not so much as pork belly -- and lots of scallions in a spicy sauce with fermented soy beans. delicious!
we also thought the rice was quite good, with a toasty flavor of the grain and perfect texture. quite a nice thing to eat at the conclusion of a full flavored meal.
we ate half of everything, then took the other half home to have the next day. everything made really good leftovers.
next time, i would like to order more dishes featuring sichuan peppercorns (i really liked the flavor). what other dishes on the menu have lots of sichuan peppercorns?
in general, while the food was certainly full of flavor and spices, we didn't think it was as spicy as we had been led to believe it would be. there was no need to blow our noses or wipe our eyes, for example. is that the hounds' experience as well? we don't necessarily think the spicing was toned down for us, as several of the dishes were prepared in advance at the appetizer station at the front of the restaurant, and so would not have been made with gringos in mind.
we will definitely go back to spicy & tasty.