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« Dinner at 15 East, 9/27/07 | Main | CLOSED: Dinner...And brunch at The Nolita House, 9/07 »

Lunch at Grand Sichuan Eastern, 9/22/07

Being bad NEVER tasted this good. Picture it...Saturday, September 22, the Jewish day of atonement (a.k.a. Yom Kippur). I'd stopped eating the night before around 7 p.m. with the intention of fasting for the next twenty-four hours. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling confident that I could make it to 7 p.m. that evening without a bite of food. A friend and I went to services around 11 a.m.; after doing some much needed praying, we went outside to take a break. He'd received a text message from a coworker telling him to come over and meet him at Grand Sichuan Eastern. We decided to meet up, but would be strong in the midst of temptation and NOT eat a thing. After all, we were going there to visit with a friend...a friend who just so happened to be at a restaurant.

Saturday turned in to a rainy mess. After dodging the storm and racing from window over-hang to window over-hang, we finally reached Grand Sichuan Eastern. My first impression of the restaurant: small, clean and modern with our table being the only non-Chinese diners. This was one of the first times in my life that I've gone to a Chinese restaurant where the rest of the crowd DID NOT look exactly like me. My God, I love New York! What a welcome change from Texas.After trotting through rain puddles and shivering from my drenched outfit, I'd worked up quite an appetite. I decided to give in (God help me, for I've truly committed the ultimate Yom Kippur sin) and order lunch, as did my friend. Every thing we ordered was fantastic: soup dumplings, egg drop soup, sliced fish in red sauce, beef & broccoli, sesame chicken and the shrimp special. I'd never had soup dumplings before, but now I'm hooked. A soup dumpling is basically what it sounds like; a dumpling with a "soupy" interior. One has to be very careful when consuming a soup dumpling, because if you're not careful, you could hurt yourself (with a hot broth explosion in your mouth), or someone else (with a hot broth explosion directed at their face). The sliced fish in red sauce and the shrimp were probably my favorite dishes. Both were extremely fresh and had the right texture and balance of spices. The beef and broccoli was your hum-drum, run-of-the-mill Americanized Chinese food that tastes the same at every Chinese restaurant from New York City to Amarillo, Texas; but the sesame chicken at this restaurant was of much higher-quality than the versions I was used to: chunks of golden, white breast meat that was bathed in a perfectly sweet and tangy sauce.

To make a long story short, I believe that if you're one of, if not the only English speaking customer at a non-English-speaking ethnic restaurant, you're probably in for a fantastic dining adventure. My favorite part of this lunch was when we first arrived and were placing our order (I'd been craving an egg roll), and when I proceeded to order an egg roll, the waitress looked at me like I had five heads and ten eyes, then began laughing (as did the entire restaurant).God, I love New York. I feel so blessed to live in this amazing city. I highly recommend Grand Sichuan Eastern...a wonderful meal from start to finish. Being bad NEVER tasted this good!

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