Garment District and Herald Square

Szechuan Gourmet

Its name may be generic, but Szechuan Gourmet is anything but ordinary. This eatery is the antithesis of stuck-in-the-eighties Szechuan chains that proffer limp sesame noodles and lame hot and sour soup. While its menu caters to local tastes, the restaurant has made an atypical-for-Chinatown attempt at atmosphere: Soft lighting, decorative red paper lanterns and damask-cushioned chairs invite diners to savor the outstanding food such as peppery minced pork with clear noodles. Dishes are generously spiced, but tender sea bass in a honeyed-ginger sauce banks the fires of red-chili-blanketed fried chicken chunks or garlicky pork. — Karen Tina Harrison

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New York Lexikon