Szechuan Gourmet is one of my favorite Chinese restaurants outside Chinatown. Located Midtown West, this place is always busy; I am not surprised considering the very reasonable prices and how good the food is. They have an extensive menu that features some classic and not so classic dishes as you will see in this post, satisfying the meat eaters as well as the vegetarians.
We went there with my co-workers to celebrate the birthday of our friend David. As we were a large party, they sat us in their private dining room. Interesting room: you will not find any Chinese paintings, but European paintings where the subjects bare it all!
We decided to share and let David take care of the order. We started off with scallion pancakes:
This is a very comforting dish and perfect if you had one too many drinks...It was crispy and not greasy, which is often the problem with that dish.
The second appetizer was the vegetable dumplings:
They were perfect: often, the shell is too thick and there is not enough stuffing. There, the shell was thin and the filling very tasty.
Again another delicious fried appetizer, very comforting.
Then the entrees started to come. First was the eggplant in garlic sauce:
This is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes. For sure you need to like garlic because, after eating this, no vampire will approach you for days...The eggplant were perfectly cooked, melting in my mouth, with that delicious smokey taste so particular to that vegetable.
Then came the fried rice:
It was good, not the best I ever ate, but good.
After that came the crispy orange chicken:
That was a fantastic dish: the chicken was moist and crispy, smothered in a deliciously sweet sauce.
Then, we tried the Ma Po Tofu:
This dish had a beautiful color, but don't be mistaken: all the red is chile and that was spicy! Yes, it was good, but very spicy.
The last entree we tried was surprising: Jumbo Prawn in mayonnaise.
Just hearing the name of the dish, it does not sound really Chinese, nor appetizing. Apparently, this dish came from Hong Kong. It was a very good dish: the shrimp were crispy, mixed with broccoli and pineapple for some sweetness, and the creamy sauce was delicious, with a very very slight mayonnaise taste. For sure, the next time I see that dish on a menu, I will order it!
Last was dessert:
It was Tang Yuan, round soft rice cakes with black sesame filling, dipped in syrup.
I liked it, although I would have liked the syrup to be sweeter. The texture of the ball was similar to mochi, maybe a bit softer.
We had a good time at Szechuan Gourmet: good food, good company and good prices. This remains one of my favorite spots for authentic Chinese food in Midtown Manhattan.
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!