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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Szechuan Gourmet - Chinese

Szechuan Gourmet ( 135-15 37th Ave. Corner of Prince Street, Flushing (718) 888-9388) serves food that create sensations in your mouth that you probably never had and in the process will break every sterotype you have about Szechuan food. If you think Szechuan food is only about fire caused by dried chili peppers be prepared to find out that heat comes in lots of different ways and does not have to overwhelm all the other flavors in a dish. Not since the Chinnese Communist Provincial government ran Szechuan Pavilion in Manhattan (25 years ago) have I had food like this.

The dumplings all taste homemade. The dumplings in hot sesame sauce have a great flavor that is enhanced by the heat of the chili oil. The same dumplings are available in a mild chicken broth. The cold noodles in sesame sauce are vastly hotter than standard restaurant fare and probably too spicy for most mortals.

The Chineese string bean are long beans with dried chilis and szechuan peppercorn. The anise flavor and heat from the peppercorns give this dish a wonderful smoky taste. The same pepppercorns are in the chicken and peanuts. This is not your standard kung pow chicken. It is a great blend of garlic, scallions, szechuan pepper that makes this the best of its kind we have ever had. Just be careful not to eat the szechuan peppercorns. If you ever wanted to know what it would feel like to have a handgrenade go off in your mouth, just chew on one and you will get the idea.

Other womderful dishes include goba crust pork (a sweet sizzling rice dish), mushroom casserole, shredded pork with yellow leaks and salt and pepper shrimp.

A few words of warning, the red pepper system on the menu is not very accurate for describing heat so be prepared for some adventures. Most of them are very pleasureable but watch out for the Ants Climbing Trees. This is dish was a favorite of our late cousin Josh ( a great lover of hot, exotic food) and we ordered it in his memory. This stuff is definitely in the burn you twice category but it really makes your lips tingle.

If you are adventurous, your spirit will be rewarded at Szechuan Gormet.

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