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Manhattan Sichuan

Szechuan dishes from the '70s

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Szechuan dishes from the '70s

Borden Elniff | Nov 11, 1999 06:47 PM

I'm trying to find a Szechuan (Sichuan) restaurant anywhere in the five boroughs whose cooks make any or all of the following three dishes the way they were made at the first Szechuan restaurant in New York -- David Keh's first operation. It was at 95th & Broadway, and very straightforwardly called Szechuan Restaurant.

Cold sesame noodles: these were cold, not at room temperature. They were thin egg noodles, mired in an extremely thick sauce of sesame paste and peanut butter; slivers of cold cucumber and cold chicken were added to the mix. The sauce contained chili oil and Szechuan peppercorns, which of course gave the noodles a powerful afterkick.

Eggplant in garlic sauce: the pieces of eggplant were reduced to a black, glistening mass--almost a jam. The sauce was breathtakingly garlicky and peppery, and the dish was served piping hot.

Prawns in chili sauce: the prawns were large and crunchy, the sauce was bright red (never orange) and dry (never soupy). Five or six prawns constituted a serving. There were no onions in the sauce, just garlic, ginger, and the extremely thick, bright red chili sauce.

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