Land of Plenty Brings Some Heat to the Neighborhood
We recently reported that the old Mia Dona space on E. 58th St has been transformed into Land of Plenty, an upscale-ish Sichuan joint. A cursory examination of the menu and a perusal of early reviews showed some promise, so I headed over for some Sichuan goodies.
*I will begin by honestly saying I don’t have a lot of experience with Sichuan food. This is for absolutely no reason other than, well, I just haven’t had it much. So while I can’t comment to the food’s authenticity with any real experience, I can comment on it’s deliciousness.*
The massive regular menu, by which I mean most of the more interesting “traditional” looking dishes, is for the most part out of ML price range. Entree items range fom $10 for some vegetable dishes to $20 for “Stir Fried Frog with Chili, Chili, Chili” and all the way up to $38 for “Braised Sea Cucumber with Shiitake and Bamboo Shoots.” The more affordable lunch special menu has most of the regular Chinese lunch special dishes we’re used to seeing, General Tso’s and the like, for $9 to $11 including your choice of soup and rice. Being a newbie to Sichuan cuisine, I went for the Ma Paul Tofu with Chili Minced Pork ($9). I chose wonton soup and white rice as my accompaniments, but you can also choose hot and sour or egg drop soup, and brown or fried rice.
Now, I love spicy food, but I have to say that after reading the Village Voice review of this place I was a little apprehensive about ordering the only item on the lunch special menu with three (out of four) little chili pepper icons next to it. I was pleased to disover that while this dish is indeed spicy, the slow, tingly, numbing heat was not unbearable in the least. The tofu was soft and silky, holding the flavors of the sauce perfectly. Large crunchy pieces of scallion balanced the dish with some textural contrast, and the ground pork added little bursts of meaty flavor. Again, I can’t speak to the dish’s authenticity, but it was awesome. I would’ve wished for a little more pork in there, but overall I enjoyed it very much. The wonton soup was basically forgettable, just some slightly oversalted broth with four or five small wontons floating around.
Since the restaurant is currently in it’s Grand Opening phase, they are offering a 15% discount for an unspecified amount of time. I would definitely be interested to come back for dinner with a larger group to try some of the more adventuresome dishes…wok-tossed duck tongues, anyone? Bueller?
Land of Plenty, 204 E. 58th St. (btw 2+3rd), (212) 308-8788