With the demise of the Grand Sichuan at Ninth Ave. and 51st St., and the inflation-commensurate-with-popularity of the prices at Szechuan Gourmet (making it now essentially an expensive restaurant), there has been a void in options for reasonably-priced, good Sichuan food in Manhattan. Thankfully, that void has now been filled by a relative new-comer, Old Sichuan in Chinatown.
Occupying the space directly across the street from New Green Bo, vacated by Yeah Shanghai Deluxe when it moved to the corner, they serve some of the most pleasing Sichuan food west of Little Pepper, including some relative rarities. I'm crazy about flaky turnip cakes with ham but almost never encounter them--Old Sichuan's are excellent. Cold dishes sampled so far--spicy beef tendon and sliced pork belly with garlic sauce--are stellar, with bold, complex, fresh flavors. The same goes for the Sichuan wonton in red hot oil... I wanted to drink the remaining sauce when the delicate wontons were gone. The dry bean curd with spicy black bean is my favorite dry bean curd dish I've tried anywhere, and the sour string bean with minced pork is just what it should be: sour, spicy, delicious. Ask about the special chicken dish on the wall (and not on the regular) menu. It's a dish of which the proprietress seems especially proud: chunks of chicken dry-sauteed with three kinds of pepper flavor... a lovely dish.
65 Bayard St., New York, NY 10013