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Szechuan Palace on W. 42nd, first impressions

small h | Aug 12, 201310:04 AM

Ollie's is my usual choice in this neighborhood, but I noticed a new place had opened up across 9th Ave., so we gave it a shot. The menu is very similar to Ollie's and the other Grand/Famous Szechuan/Sichuans around town. We had the fish filets with pickled mustard green soup, which my companion liked a lot; she was also crazy about her dry sauteed pork kidney. I liked the soup, but it would've been better had the greens not been so limp and lifeless. For my main course, I had the jumbo shrimp with chili sauce, a dish I get at Ollie's now and then. It was nice enough (the shrimp were not jumbo, and definitely not the huge prawns pictured on the menu), but I think Ollie's version is better: more complex, spice-wise, and also hotter overall.

We were initially seated at a two-top; nothing wrong with that, but all the dishes came out together, and there wasn't nearly enough room for everything. I asked to be moved to a larger table - there were plenty available - and had to argue with the hostess about it, which was unpleasant. Eventually I got my way, but that nonsense has to stop. On the whole, I prefer Ollie's, both food & service-wise, although Szechuan Palace would be a fine choice if you don't feel like going that extra half block west.

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