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A wooden rack with slices of fatty meat and cucumber hanging over a dish of red chili sauce.
The fabled pork belly with chili sauce at Szechuan Mountain House.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14 Mouth-Numbing Sichuan Restaurants in NYC

New York’s undergoing a Sichuan renaissance. Here are some of the best places to try.

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The fabled pork belly with chili sauce at Szechuan Mountain House.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sichuan food as introduced to New York City in the late ’60s and early ’70s was rather pallid because Sichuan peppercorns were then technically illegal — the Department of Agriculture finally approved them in 2005 — and chile-heavy food hadn’t really caught on yet, either. Early Sichuan restaurants in the city featured dishes like baby shrimp in a sweet and slightly spicy red sauce, and cold noodles dressed with sesame paste and peanut butter. Now, Sichuan is arguably the foremost regional Chinese cuisine, and one that can be found all over the five boroughs, while many of its highlights have been incorporated into the menus of other Chinese restaurants, including neighborhood Cantonese-American carryouts.

Here are some of Eater’s favorite Sichuan restaurants — and yes, Philadelphia import Han Dynasty and the once-mighty Grand Sichuan chain are notably not included.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Grain House

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929 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025
(212) 531-1130
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Five years ago it was the foremost Sichuan restaurant in Little Neck, Queens, home to many Asian restaurants, and then in 2018, it picked up and moved to the Manhattan Valley on the Upper West Side. Sour string beans with minced pork, Chengdu green bean noodles, ma po tofu, cumin lamb, and Chongqing stew chicken remained among its menu highlights, now with some Hunan thrown in, but there were some new things, too, like the relentlessly spicy “burning noodles.”

A bowl of noodles with crushed peanuts and scallions on top.
Burning noodles at Grain House.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Little Pepper

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18-24 College Point Blvd
College Point, NY 11356
(718) 939-7788
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Founded in 2005, this long-standing favorite was once located on Flushing’s main drag but relocated to College Point in 2012. It’s still one of the city’s best and least expensive Sichuan restaurants but is now a little harder to get to. The menu favors appetizers in chile oil, dumplings, Sichuan classics including hot pots, and lots of offal. French fries dusted with Sichuan peppercorns are a cross-cultural wonder, and the vegetable and tofu section of the menu is formidable, much of it vegetarian.

Dumplings bob in a brick red translucent sauce more like a soup.
Dumpling in hot sauce at Little Pepper.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Land of Plenty

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204 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-8788
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When it opened a decade ago, Land of Plenty defined a new upscale style in Sichuan cuisine. Decorated with antique farm equipment on stark white wells, it radiated a staid East Side atmosphere, but even then the food was shocking in its heat and depth of flavor. Order anything with the three chiles symbol, and you can depend on it being mouth-searing, including Madame Song’s seafood noodles, poached rabbit, and crispy tofu with roast chile and cumin. Unlike many similar spots, the lunch specials are not watered down.

Diners eating and talking at tables with white tablecloths in a white-walled room at Land of Plenty.
The interior of Land of Plenty.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. Hot Space

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39-07 Prince St #1F
Queens, NY 11354
(718) 939-3237
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Hot Space represents a comparatively new sort of Sichuan restaurant that’s been popping up in Los Angeles as well as here. The sub-genre emphasizes whole fish pan-fried and then inundated with a sauce of your choosing. The whole fish choices, three or four per day, run to barramundi, snapper, striped bass, and sea bass, and sauces have names like pickled pepper, hot and spicy, and black pepper. A whole host of appetizers and side dishes from ribs to rabbit are available in this jazzy space with a neon-blue cocktail lounge atmosphere.

A skin-on fish divided into two parts and immersed in chile oil, heaped with cilantro.
Sea Bass in hot and spicy sauce at Hot Space.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Szechwan Absolute

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39-16 Prince St Ste209
Flushing, NY 11354
(917) 983-6666
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When it first opened, Szechwan Absolute was the third Sichuan restaurant to appear in the modern apartment complex and retail center known as One Fulton Square, owned by NYU grad Kevin Yin and one floor up from the original Szechuan Mountain House and more upscale Sichuan restaurant Guan Fu. The menu is elaborate and tends to be spicy as hell, as seen in the dish of boiled tilapia filets, enough for a half-dozen diners. Offal abounds, and spice combos are sometimes innovative. The space is spare and handsome.

Boiled fish in red sauce with Sichuan peppercorns littering the surface.
Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil at Szechwan Absolute.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. DaXi Sichuan

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13620 Roosevelt Ave #2R
Flushing, NY 11354
(917) 563-1983
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The menus of Flushing’s upscale Sichuan restaurants are full of all sorts of other regional fare, including Dongbei, Tianjin, and Shanghai dishes, reflecting a mix of cuisines now popular back in China. Founded in 2017 in the New World Mall, DaXi — cousin of a restaurant in the Sichuan capital Chengdu — is a vibrant room with plush banquettes. Pork ribs are delivered in a bird cage, kung pao shrimp deconstructed, and the usual spicy cucumber salad turned crunchier by using only the skins.

A bird cage twined with plastic flowers contains a pile of pork ribs.
Tibetan pork ribs at DaXi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Alley 41

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136-45 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 353-3608
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Located on 41st Avenue, Alley 41 isn’t really an alley, but a place with a cryptic entrance that looks like an underground rock club from the ’90s, with concrete floors, rec room light fixtures, and tables and chairs scattered seemingly at random. (The name refers to owner Yao Hua’s childhood, when he lived in a “picturesque alley.”) The core of Sichuan standards is impressive, including frog with dry pepper, tea smoked duck, and double-cooked pork belly.

Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club, with diners standing and loitering.
Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. Szechuan House

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13347 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 762-2664
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Open since 1985, Szechuan House is the oldest restaurant serving the fiery cuisine in Flushing. Though its menu has been modernized, it still concentrates on the classics. Recommended are clear noodles in spicy meat sauce (sometimes known as “ants on a log”), tea-smoked duck, and sliced beef and tendon. There’s also seafood galore, including the hottest thing on the menu: “slice fish with peppercorn.” The most unusual we’ve encountered? Wasabi arctic surf clams, sounding like the adversaries in a Ninja Turtles movie.

An oval ivory platter with a whole fish concealed by spices and whole chiles.
Whole tilapia at Szechuan House.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

9. Sweet Yummy House

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83-13 Broadway
Queens, NY 11373
(718) 878-6603
Visit Website

Elmhurst’s preeminent Sichuan restaurant offers the menu from a nominally Taiwanese perspective, but most of the dishes are faithful to the originals, with plenty of chile oil, dried chiles, and green chiles, but with a restrained hand on the peppercorn throttle. The interior is comfy and box-like; the menu voluminous. Try yam gelatin with duck, diced chicken with peanuts and hot pepper, or sliced lamb in fresh hot pepper. Note: Lots of organ meats like kidney, intestines, and tendon grace the menu.

Intestines with whole green chiles and shredded scallions, very beige on green.
Intestines in fresh hot pepper at Sweet Yummy House.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Szechuan Mountain House

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23 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(917) 388-3866
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With an original location in Flushing, Szechuan Mountain House expanded to the East Village, taking over a second-story space on St Mark’s Place that’s perpetually busy. All the classics like mapo tofu are solid, but less ubiquitous dishes with novel presentations steal the spotlight, like the legendary sliced pork belly with chili garlic sauce, served on a wooden frame. The portions are huge, so come with a group to share, and expect a wait during prime times. The place boasts a rustic interior, with semi-private individual booths and a fountain.

Szechuan Mountain House
A selection of dishes at Szechuan Mountain House.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

11. Spicy Moon

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328 E 6th St
New York, NY 10003
(646) 429-8471
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Sichuan recipes, including favorites like mapo tofu, fall easily into line on Spicy Moon’s compact vegan menu. Shredded potatoes and vegetable wontons in chile oil remain much the same as on other meat-centric menus, and then there’s mixed vegetable fried rice, wheat gluten dumplings, and pea shoots with garlic, along with a handful of dishes features faux meat. Another branch is located in Greenwich Village just off the NYU campus.

A black bowl with dumplings swimming in translucent sauce.
Wontons in hot chile oil at Spicy Moon.
Tanay Warerkar/Eater NY

12. Public Village

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23 Essex St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 476-7501

Public Village is a micro sized restaurant on the Lower East Side that appeared as if by magic in the tortuous summer of 2020. The regular menu was Sichuan, along with a special menu of Dongbei food, and the Sichuan side in particular included dishes that have remained relatively obscure here. One such was wan za — green spinach noodles topped with ground pork and yellow split peas, with or without soup.

Bands of yellow split peas, ground pork, and spinach lie across the top of the dish.
Wan za noodles at Public Village.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

13. Birds of a Feather

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191 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 969-6800
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This offshoot of Midtown’s celebrated Café China (which is opening in a new spot nearby) places Sichuan food in a bistro setting. There’s little innovation here, and the spice level has been toned down, but that’s all to the good for those who appreciate the cuisine in its milder forms. The oil-slicked standard of tripe, tendon, and sliced beef is recommended, and so is the mapo tofu, which utilizes crushed peppercorns rather than cracked or whole ones. On the plus side, you can drink sake with your meal; on the negative, the dim sum is awful.

Noodles tinted with red oil in the foreground with ground meat and greens in the background.
Dan dan noodles at Birds of a Feather.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. Chuan Tian Xia

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5502 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(929) 295-0128
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Decorated with murals of Chinese theatrical masks and using the tagline “colorful food,” Chuan Tian Xia is the jazziest Sichuan restaurant to hit Sunset Park. A very spicy bowl of peanuts materializes first off, possibly followed by cold sliced beef ribs with vinegary dipping sauce, green pepper fish in a chile-laced broth, and then a wok of the stylish green-stemmed cauliflower, now being seen in Chinese restaurants all over town.

Cauliflower with green stems in a wok.
Griddle cauliflower at Chuan Tian Xia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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1. Grain House

929 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
Read Review |
A bowl of noodles with crushed peanuts and scallions on top.
Burning noodles at Grain House.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Five years ago it was the foremost Sichuan restaurant in Little Neck, Queens, home to many Asian restaurants, and then in 2018, it picked up and moved to the Manhattan Valley on the Upper West Side. Sour string beans with minced pork, Chengdu green bean noodles, ma po tofu, cumin lamb, and Chongqing stew chicken remained among its menu highlights, now with some Hunan thrown in, but there were some new things, too, like the relentlessly spicy “burning noodles.”

929 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025

2. Little Pepper

18-24 College Point Blvd, College Point, NY 11356
Dumplings bob in a brick red translucent sauce more like a soup.
Dumpling in hot sauce at Little Pepper.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Founded in 2005, this long-standing favorite was once located on Flushing’s main drag but relocated to College Point in 2012. It’s still one of the city’s best and least expensive Sichuan restaurants but is now a little harder to get to. The menu favors appetizers in chile oil, dumplings, Sichuan classics including hot pots, and lots of offal. French fries dusted with Sichuan peppercorns are a cross-cultural wonder, and the vegetable and tofu section of the menu is formidable, much of it vegetarian.

18-24 College Point Blvd
College Point, NY 11356

3. Land of Plenty

204 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022
Diners eating and talking at tables with white tablecloths in a white-walled room at Land of Plenty.
The interior of Land of Plenty.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

When it opened a decade ago, Land of Plenty defined a new upscale style in Sichuan cuisine. Decorated with antique farm equipment on stark white wells, it radiated a staid East Side atmosphere, but even then the food was shocking in its heat and depth of flavor. Order anything with the three chiles symbol, and you can depend on it being mouth-searing, including Madame Song’s seafood noodles, poached rabbit, and crispy tofu with roast chile and cumin. Unlike many similar spots, the lunch specials are not watered down.

204 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022

4. Hot Space

39-07 Prince St #1F, Queens, NY 11354
A skin-on fish divided into two parts and immersed in chile oil, heaped with cilantro.
Sea Bass in hot and spicy sauce at Hot Space.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hot Space represents a comparatively new sort of Sichuan restaurant that’s been popping up in Los Angeles as well as here. The sub-genre emphasizes whole fish pan-fried and then inundated with a sauce of your choosing. The whole fish choices, three or four per day, run to barramundi, snapper, striped bass, and sea bass, and sauces have names like pickled pepper, hot and spicy, and black pepper. A whole host of appetizers and side dishes from ribs to rabbit are available in this jazzy space with a neon-blue cocktail lounge atmosphere.

39-07 Prince St #1F
Queens, NY 11354

5. Szechwan Absolute

39-16 Prince St Ste209, Flushing, NY 11354
Boiled fish in red sauce with Sichuan peppercorns littering the surface.
Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil at Szechwan Absolute.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

When it first opened, Szechwan Absolute was the third Sichuan restaurant to appear in the modern apartment complex and retail center known as One Fulton Square, owned by NYU grad Kevin Yin and one floor up from the original Szechuan Mountain House and more upscale Sichuan restaurant Guan Fu. The menu is elaborate and tends to be spicy as hell, as seen in the dish of boiled tilapia filets, enough for a half-dozen diners. Offal abounds, and spice combos are sometimes innovative. The space is spare and handsome.

39-16 Prince St Ste209
Flushing, NY 11354

6. DaXi Sichuan

13620 Roosevelt Ave #2R, Flushing, NY 11354
Read Review |
A bird cage twined with plastic flowers contains a pile of pork ribs.
Tibetan pork ribs at DaXi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The menus of Flushing’s upscale Sichuan restaurants are full of all sorts of other regional fare, including Dongbei, Tianjin, and Shanghai dishes, reflecting a mix of cuisines now popular back in China. Founded in 2017 in the New World Mall, DaXi — cousin of a restaurant in the Sichuan capital Chengdu — is a vibrant room with plush banquettes. Pork ribs are delivered in a bird cage, kung pao shrimp deconstructed, and the usual spicy cucumber salad turned crunchier by using only the skins.

13620 Roosevelt Ave #2R
Flushing, NY 11354

7. Alley 41

136-45 41st Ave, Flushing, NY 11355
Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club, with diners standing and loitering.
Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Located on 41st Avenue, Alley 41 isn’t really an alley, but a place with a cryptic entrance that looks like an underground rock club from the ’90s, with concrete floors, rec room light fixtures, and tables and chairs scattered seemingly at random. (The name refers to owner Yao Hua’s childhood, when he lived in a “picturesque alley.”) The core of Sichuan standards is impressive, including frog with dry pepper, tea smoked duck, and double-cooked pork belly.

136-45 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355

8. Szechuan House

13347 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354
Read Review |
An oval ivory platter with a whole fish concealed by spices and whole chiles.
Whole tilapia at Szechuan House.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

Open since 1985, Szechuan House is the oldest restaurant serving the fiery cuisine in Flushing. Though its menu has been modernized, it still concentrates on the classics. Recommended are clear noodles in spicy meat sauce (sometimes known as “ants on a log”), tea-smoked duck, and sliced beef and tendon. There’s also seafood galore, including the hottest thing on the menu: “slice fish with peppercorn.” The most unusual we’ve encountered? Wasabi arctic surf clams, sounding like the adversaries in a Ninja Turtles movie.

13347 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

9. Sweet Yummy House

83-13 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373
Intestines with whole green chiles and shredded scallions, very beige on green.
Intestines in fresh hot pepper at Sweet Yummy House.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Elmhurst’s preeminent Sichuan restaurant offers the menu from a nominally Taiwanese perspective, but most of the dishes are faithful to the originals, with plenty of chile oil, dried chiles, and green chiles, but with a restrained hand on the peppercorn throttle. The interior is comfy and box-like; the menu voluminous. Try yam gelatin with duck, diced chicken with peanuts and hot pepper, or sliced lamb in fresh hot pepper. Note: Lots of organ meats like kidney, intestines, and tendon grace the menu.

83-13 Broadway
Queens, NY 11373

10. Szechuan Mountain House

23 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Szechuan Mountain House
A selection of dishes at Szechuan Mountain House.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

With an original location in Flushing, Szechuan Mountain House expanded to the East Village, taking over a second-story space on St Mark’s Place that’s perpetually busy. All the classics like mapo tofu are solid, but less ubiquitous dishes with novel presentations steal the spotlight, like the legendary sliced pork belly with chili garlic sauce, served on a wooden frame. The portions are huge, so come with a group to share, and expect a wait during prime times. The place boasts a rustic interior, with semi-private individual booths and a fountain.

23 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

11. Spicy Moon

328 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003
A black bowl with dumplings swimming in translucent sauce.
Wontons in hot chile oil at Spicy Moon.
Tanay Warerkar/Eater NY

Sichuan recipes, including favorites like mapo tofu, fall easily into line on Spicy Moon’s compact vegan menu. Shredded potatoes and vegetable wontons in chile oil remain much the same as on other meat-centric menus, and then there’s mixed vegetable fried rice, wheat gluten dumplings, and pea shoots with garlic, along with a handful of dishes features faux meat. Another branch is located in Greenwich Village just off the NYU campus.

328 E 6th St
New York, NY 10003

12. Public Village

23 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
Bands of yellow split peas, ground pork, and spinach lie across the top of the dish.
Wan za noodles at Public Village.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Public Village is a micro sized restaurant on the Lower East Side that appeared as if by magic in the tortuous summer of 2020. The regular menu was Sichuan, along with a special menu of Dongbei food, and the Sichuan side in particular included dishes that have remained relatively obscure here. One such was wan za — green spinach noodles topped with ground pork and yellow split peas, with or without soup.

23 Essex St
New York, NY 10002

13. Birds of a Feather

191 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Noodles tinted with red oil in the foreground with ground meat and greens in the background.
Dan dan noodles at Birds of a Feather.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This offshoot of Midtown’s celebrated Café China (which is opening in a new spot nearby) places Sichuan food in a bistro setting. There’s little innovation here, and the spice level has been toned down, but that’s all to the good for those who appreciate the cuisine in its milder forms. The oil-slicked standard of tripe, tendon, and sliced beef is recommended, and so is the mapo tofu, which utilizes crushed peppercorns rather than cracked or whole ones. On the plus side, you can drink sake with your meal; on the negative, the dim sum is awful.

191 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

14. Chuan Tian Xia

5502 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Cauliflower with green stems in a wok.
Griddle cauliflower at Chuan Tian Xia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Decorated with murals of Chinese theatrical masks and using the tagline “colorful food,” Chuan Tian Xia is the jazziest Sichuan restaurant to hit Sunset Park. A very spicy bowl of peanuts materializes first off, possibly followed by cold sliced beef ribs with vinegary dipping sauce, green pepper fish in a chile-laced broth, and then a wok of the stylish green-stemmed cauliflower, now being seen in Chinese restaurants all over town.

5502 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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