Hockey makes you hungry, and after a rare Thursday evening game, I, the lovely wife and boys were famished. So were our Chelsea friends and their kids. So the eight of us made the walk to 24th Street and 9th Avenue to Grand Sichuan International (229 9th Ave, NYC, 10001: 212-620-5200). The place, which looks like a throwback to a 1950's style Chinatown Restaurant, was crowded, and we waited about 45 minutes for a table. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but we did have 4 kids with us. However, while we were waiting, Paul Giamatti left the restaurant to have a cigarette and then returned, giving us adults a little "isn't it cool to live in NY where you can see a famous celebrity at the same mildly dingy restaurant we're going to killing himself slowly with cigarettes moment." But, as soon as that moment passed, and the lovely wife used her Vulcan mind meld with the staff, we were seated.
Male Martha is no stranger to Sichuan Food. This is actually the third Sichuan restaurant that has been reviewed, the other two being in Toronto and in Flushing. I will say off the bat that both of these restaurants had superior Sichuan food to Grand Sichuan International. Of course, they're not off the 1 train and within walking distance of Chelsea Piers, either. And, to be honest, the food at Sichuan Gardens was quite good, as long as you stuck to the Sichuan menu. We all liked the Dan Dan noodles and the Sichuan cold noodles. Although not a Sichuan specialty, the soup dumplings were good as well. The bean curd and pork was good. Particularly tasty was the Eggplant with Garlic sauce and Pork (#156). The shrimp with salted pepper was good, and different than I have had in other places. It was deep fried.
Less tasty were traditional American Chinese dishes, including beef with broccoli, sesame chicken, and all the other stuff your kids (and mine) eat. They ate em, but if you go to Grand Sichuan, you shouldn't.
So, if you're in Chelsea and have a dan dan noodle jones, consider Grand Sichuan. Heading out to Queens is better, but its easier to go clubbing after this meal!!!