With many thanks to our dear friend Zoe, who we met at Chef Wang’s in New Hyde Park a few months ago, for the recommendation of this very authentic Chinese restaurant in Flushing, NY. She had half a dozen recommendations for us, so we still have a lot to look forward to. This evening our Quest took us to Szechuan Gourmet in Flushing, NY.
Szechuan Gourmet is located at 135-15 37th Avenue in Flushing, NY. Parking is on the street. Keep track of the time on the meter lest you get a parking ticket. True to it’s name, Szechuan Gourmet, is an authentic Szechuan Chinese restaurant. It really helps if you speak Chinese, or can point to other dishes that are served on other tables. That’s how we got our most delicious soup dish. More on that below. The waiters don’t speak much English, and we were the only Caucasians in the restaurant. So, we knew were in for a good meal. And a spicy one. And they sure didn’t disappoint on the spicy front!
We’re becoming smarter as we gain more and more experience reviewing Chinese restaurants. We have made sure now to only order two or three dishes at a time to start so we can enjoy each one independently. Then we’ll order another dish. Then another. Each one gets to stand on it’s own merit, never being influenced by the flavors and spices of the prior dish. At least that’s the plan.
What we found at Szechuan Gourmet is that they use a lot of chili spices, so the flavors from dish to dish start to meld together on our palate. The white rice we ordered half way through our meal helped to absorb some of the extra spices that were beginning to overwhelm us.
So, let’s dig right in to the meal.
We started off with Spicy Sesame Cold Noodles – The emphasis was definitely on spicy. Our meal was off to a great start. This dish was a huge winner and was quickly finished.
Next came Dan Dan Noodles with Chili Minced Pork – The key to this dish, if I may, is to make sure that you get some of the chili minced pork in every bite. The noodles themselves were kind of bland. The chili minced pork had settled to the bottom of the bowl even after it was well mixed. When the chili minced pork was added to the noodles, this dish rose in our eyes, and became most enjoyable.
To complete our first round of food, we took the advice that was mentioned earlier. Noticing that this dish was being served on EVERY other table in the restaurant, well, we knew that we couldn’t be left out. So, we ordered the Fish with Napa Bamboo Cellophane in Spiced Chili Broth. Are we sensing a pattern here with the chili spices? Yes, they do love their chili spice! This was an interesting dish. Especially how it was served. It sure looked like a soup. But, rather than a ladle to serve the “soup”, there was a wire net that we fished out the food on to our plates. Yes, plates and not bowls. There was quite the variety of ingredients. And, we are still not sure what kind of fish it was. There was also tofu in the “soup”.
After this, we started ordering one dish at a time. Next up was Szechuan Pork Dumplings with Roasted Chili Soy. I think at this time we were a little overwhelmed with the chili spices. However, these dumplings, I felt, were really good!
Our final dish (I think all the spices started getting to us at this time. Normally we order many more dishes, and even though there were only four of us here this evening as Mee Gonzi Biao had to work late (we think he would have loved this Chinese restaurant), we were basically done after three appetizers and two main courses. The last dish was Stir Fried Chicken with Roasted Chili Peanut. Note to self. No more chili spice ever! Ok, perhaps not forever, but for a long while at least.
Our check came without fortune cookies as we expected, but also without oranges or pineapple. I feel we could have used an orange or pineapple to really cool off our mouths.
Here is our rating of Szechuan Gourmet:
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)