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Midtown South / Chelsea >
Chelsea Chinese (aka Grand Sichuan International)
Posted by hon on 07/03/2006
I've eaten here 6 or 7 times (solely for convenience of location and laziness). As people have noted in their posts, the service ranges from brusque to rude. And this is a problem, not a sign of cultural difference. The food is average at best. Yes, perhaps a notch above the monochromatically saucy-syrupy fare one gets at most corner Chi-Am takeouts, but really not that far above. The Yu-Zhou chicken is a case in point. It's spicy and littered with whole Szechuan peppercorns. These peppercorns need to be used sparingly (preferably ground down). They're very unpleasant to bite into: like an explosion of acidic vinegar in your mouth. The tripe is well-prepared, clean and crisp. But everything else I've had here is disappointing. Really, to me the food tastes like it is prepared by someone who just discovered Chinese spices and thinks the more indiscriminately they're tossed into the oil the more authentic the result.
Posted by Shane on 02/19/2006
...but I actually didn't find the service particularly aggravating. Bluff and unceremonious, yes; cold and inattentive, no. And really, who cares? Chinese restaurants are not known for their impeccable service. The staff know you're not there for the service and atmosphere. You're there because it'd be a sin to miss their auzhou chicken or bitter melon. Please don't pass this place up just because some of these reviewers were expecting western-style service from an authentic Szechuan restaurant. Just make sure you make a reservation, or you may wait quite a while for a table. I must say I do think the soup dumplings, while very good, are a bit overrated. The cold sesame noodles are just as solid.
Posted by Chuck on 02/04/2006
are exactly right. The food is great, but the service is, did someone say surly? They are never happy to serve you. If you're in a good mood and don't mind abruptness,Grand sizhuan is highly recommended. Start out with the dumplings. Very good.
Posted by Anonymous on 01/05/2006
Food is outstanding...unfortunately the service at the restaurant is not nearly as good as the food.
Posted by jolk on 12/28/2005
I've been to this place ~10 times and had a great experience every time - ok, maybe not always great service, but unfailingly fantastic food. They're best at the sichuanese stuff, but almost all is good. Get the garlic or auzhuo fresh chicken, the eggplant with garlic sauce, the sour string beans with minced pork, the steamed whole fish. The soup dumplings, while not sichuanese, are really good here, too. Can't really go wrong!
Posted by Anonymous on 12/22/2005
We live in the neighborhood and have ordered takeout a few times. I've always found the food to be average but thought it might be better if we sat down there. Tonight we did and the service was very poor. We were there easily 45 minutes before closing but when I asked for another minute to look at the menu I was scolded because "the kitchen is closing" -- yet they continued to seat other parties. The waitress was rude, had to be asked to clear away starter items when the main course arrived, and we were rushed out the door as quickly as possible.
Posted by Anonymous on 11/10/2005
The food is terrific, and the extensive menu even includes a group of dishes served with truly fresh chicken (i.e.: it was alive that morning). One does not dine there for the atmosphere, and the staff can be rather gruff, but your water glass will never go unfilled, and for delivery you can't beat it.