Flatiron Lunch: Great Sichuan, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

With thirty lunch specials ranging in price from $6.98-$8.27, it wasn’t a matter of if I would get to Great Sichuan, but what to order when I went. FL’er Rodalpho recommended a list of amazing sounding dishes (the twice-cooked pork, soup dumplings, gui-zhou spicy chicken, beef with cumin flavor, and the dry sautéed string bean.) But imagine how bummed I was when only one appeared on the lunch specials list.

The first thing I noticed was the amazing smell as soon as I walked in. AMAZING. At 12:45pm, there was one or two table wait the whole time I was waiting for my take out. I would guess that before 12:30pm and after 2:00pm, you can walk right in, but I was impressed by the crowd.

Most of the lunch specials didn’t strike me as authentic Sichuan, so ended up ordering only one lunch special with two recommended appetizers.

The Sichuan wontons with red oil ($5.55) were outstanding. If you can convince friends you go with to split them with you, it would be ideal. You would all still be at about $10, and with 6 dumplings per order, I think 2 dumplings each sounds perfect. Eating all of them in one sitting might be dangerous. The red oil was perfection as dipping sauce for the spring roll that came with my lunch special. Red oil needs to be in my life, always.

So I know they aren’t typical of Sichuan cuisine, but the pork soup dumplings ($6.95) were recommended so I had to give them a try. They traveled surprisingly well back to my desk, and they had a great flavor. Embarrassingly, I haven’t tried other soup dumplings (even when they were all rage a few years ago), so I don’t have a benchmark to compare.

Because I wanted to try a lunch special, it was recommend and it traditional Sichuan, I had to try the double cooked pork ($7.53). The sauce was great with random Sichuan peppercorns to numb my mouth. Rice was the weakest link. It was serviceable, but I didn’t go back for more bites.

THE + (What people who like this place will say)

  • Red oil. Love it.
  • There are certainly additional hidden gems on this menu.
  • Even the soup dumplings are great.

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • It is called Great Sichuan, so why are so few of the lunch specials Sichuan?
  • Do you think if I throw a temper tantrum they would sell me the beef with cumin flavor for less than $15?
  • Rice should be better.

Great Sichuan, 363 3rd Avenue btwn 26th and 27th Streets, (212) 686-8866


  • “I haven’t tried other soup dumplings” ………….. not your lane to be reviewing this joint then.

  • Soup dumplings are still the rage. I travel for good ones.

    Real Sichuan food is unpalatable to many Americans, read, white people, due to it’s insane heat from the peppercorns and chilies. That’s why they tone it down, to actually sell food to a wider audience.

  • Re: rice – “didn’t go back for more bites”? It’s not a side dish, you’re meant to eat it with the pork together..? Is this a no-idea-about-most-Asian-food thing?

  • It’s pretty typical for authentic Szechuan places to have a slop bargain lunch menu. Wu Laing Ye on 48th street does just that. I don’t think they can produce the good stuff for $7.53 a combo plate.

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    Happy you enjoyed your lunch! I’ve never tried their lunch specials; I live in the area but work in the fidi.

    I’m not a soup dumpling fanatic either, but I think their dumplings compare well to the much more famous Joe’s shanghai and ginger in chinatown. They are the real deal.

  • I had their rice cakes with shredded pork. It was really good and I am very particular about my Chinese food. My co-workers always order from here and really like it.

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