For about 24 years, I was in a place surrounding by diverse wonderful Chinese foods, but I didn’t realize this fact until I started to live without them–literally, I am craving for the Chinese flavor! Though Boston Chinatown is close and has a lot of restaurants, their cuisines can hardly satisfy my stomach. During the spring break last week, I went to New York City; hopefully I could discover a restaurant.
It was 10 pm on Friday night, I arrived Manhattan with my empty belly. My girl friend picked me up at the bus terminal and she knew her gourmet was craving for some good foods. Good restaurants are always within her radar. She took me to a small restaurant located in 65 Bayard Street named “Old Sichuan Cuisine.”
Soon I found out this is a hybrid restaurant of Sichuan and Shanghai flavor. Usually hybrid is acceptable for me but it is not ideal—I always thought a restaurant can only be great if it just stick on a single style. But my girl friend was confident: she fleetly ordered 3 dishes on the top of her recommended list—Chicken with Spicy Sauce, House Special Noodles, and Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun.
First we got the spicy chicken. The chicken was well chopped and immersed in the very palatable spicy sauce. It was a cold dishes, served with sesame and scallion on the top; its flavor was full-bodied and trigger my appetite very quickly. The chicken was juicy from the first bite; the special spicy sauce was not that spicy as it looked like. It was sweet and a little bit sour, which is from mature Chinese vinegar. After several bites, a strong pungent flavor from xanthoxylum seeds came up, which made this dishes more attractive!
The House Special Noodle came second. With shrimp, chicken, pork and cabbage, this noodle soup was simple and tasted like home made. It used fine dried noodles, so it was soft and well absorbed the flavor in the soup. But compared with the chicken, the noodle was inferior.
Finally the Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun Came. As it is called, the buns are fried in a pan, so it usually takes more than 10 minute to make. It had a crisp and slightly scorched bottom because it was actually fried in a pan. The chicken inside is well-mashed and juicy; also with sesame and scallion, it tasted refresh even though the chef used a lot of oil to fried it. The pan-fry process made it distinctive from other bun, which usually uses streaming to cook.
This restaurant has its own way of hybrid; it well mixs the flavor of two style–Shanghai flavor makes Sichuan spicy more acceptable and Sichuan flavor makes Shanghai flavor more exciting. I start to believe my girl friend is an expert looking for great foods! Also, the portion sizes are big and the price is very reasonable. The whole dinner only cost $23, including tax and tips. Only one thing I thought they can improve—brightening the interior of the restaurant, and that will make the foods more appealing!