Lunch Deal At Famous Sichuan Makes Street Meat Look Expensive

On certain days when I have a little extra time on my hands for lunch, I like to venture a little farther than normal for food, and in most cases that usually means Chinatown. And when that intersects with wanting spicy food, the Sichuan variety comes to mind. That’s what led me to Famous Sichuan on Pell St. (btw. Doyers & Bowery). Once I got there I discovered perhaps the greatest lunch deal I’ve found yet, in an area of the city known for its dirt cheap food.According to the menu, the restaurant is the only one in lower Manhattan that specializes in Sichuan food, which means I made an excellent decision. (Also, this proclamation is right underneath a picture of a dish called pig tripe blood cake with sauce, which is just plain awesome). The lunch deal is $5.50 and includes a cold appetizer of the day, choice of three soups, rice and an entree. Did I mention the $5.50 includes tax? And that they give you a free pot of tea if you eat there?

There are 39 choices of entree for lunch including all of the Americanized favorites (Kung Pao chicken, pepper steak with onions) and some Sichuan fare. I zeroed in on the Chengdu double-sauteed pork, with some wonton soup.

The cold appetizer, or “first course,” if we’re going to be fancy, was spicy chunks of white and orange pickled carrot, and it was delicious. I’m not sure if the free appetizer changes daily or it’s always the same.

The soup was better than what you normally get with these lunch deals, but the two wontons were filled with some sort of weird dry meat. I ate them anyway, because hey, they’re still wontons. The other choices are hot and sour or egg drop soup.

Then came the main event, with a good-sized platter of the double-sauteed pork coming out. I would basically compare it to eating a plate of bacon, but the best bacon ever, slicked with spicy oil. It’s normally $10.95 on the menu, and although I’m sure they give you more than at lunch, I still feel like they were giving this stuff away.

There are some nice green vegetables along with the pork, but they too are spicy. Basically, if you like hot peppers and bacon, you will like this dish.

I’m not 100% sure they are indeed the only restaurant in Chinatown specializing in Sichuan food, but I don’t care. This food was great and for $5.50, it’s a definite frontrunner in the search for cheap and delicious lunches.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Lunch is $5.50, including tax!?!
  • You get three courses in said cheap-ass lunch.
  • Even if you eat in and order a drink, you’re still getting out of there for $10.

THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • It’s in Chinatown, and that’s too far.
  • You have to order $15 for delivery.

Famous Sichuan, 10 Pell St. (btw. Doyers & Bowery), (212) 233- 3888



  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I don’t know if the story regarding “Famous Sichuan” is true or not but this happens to be one of the funniest reviews on yelp.


    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      I’m referring to the review on 10/17/2008:
      When the bill came, we paid about 10% in tips because of the bad food and lack of service.

      Then, just as we were about to leave. The manager came out from the kitchen and started saying to us: “You must pay at least 20% tip”.

      We told her : “It’s our right how much tip to pay, your food is not fresh, service is bad. Why should we pay more?”

      The manager started yelling: “You cheap men! 5 people came in and order only 3 dishes, do you know how hard it is to run a restaurant?! You cheap men!”

      We started yelling back too. And then the chef came out of the restaurnat too and started shouting obscene words at us and stuff in Chinese. Finally we decided not to argue anymore and just ignore them and leave.

      Then, the manager ran to the door and shut down the behind us and locked us inside the restaurant, and said :” No one will leave until you pay at least 20% tip!”.

      We tried to call 911 on our cell, but the chef hit one of my friends and knocked the cell our of his hand. And threatened us with a big stick on his hand…

      We didn’t want to be hurt in a situation like this, and had to pay the 20% tip and left.

      I mean what the hell!?!?!? A restaurant run by the mob!?!?!??!?!

      • 3 meals for 5 people? i side with the restaurant!

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        nah, I side with the diner…this was excluded:

        The waiter and the boss seem very cold to us. But we didn’t think much. So we ordered 3 dishes from the menu (Water cooked fish, double cooked pork, and Ants on a tree).

        When the dishes arrived, we immediately noticed that the fish was not fresh (you can even smell it). So we called up the waiter and told him that. She said: “What do you expect, just eat it. This is not a luxurious restaurant.”

    • User has not uploaded an avatar


      Good call, I forgot to include that zinger about the luxurious restaurant.

      • Never eaten here before either and the review does sound hilarious.

        Obviously sounds too fake to be real. They could’ve called the cops after they got outside especially for unlawfully holding them captive. Plus real new yorkers would start kicking ass no matter the big stick in hand.

  • I ate that same dish for dinner… and I didn’t like it. The meat is wierd.. fatty fat bacon.. I wanted the double sauted pork that is like the red roast pork cooked with mushrooms etc.

    The green chiles are almost inedible they are so hot..

    Of course none of the above stopped me from taking the rest of the meat home…

    I also went to Wo Hop for special request “eggplant and tofu in brown sauce with no baby corn and extra mushrooms…” and some beef chow fun to take home..

  • I’m keeping track and this certainly pushed the envelope. You know, “for science.” Great write-up and comments.

  • Mad props for hitting that double sautéed pork. It doesn’t get any more Sichuan than that.

    Looking over their lunch menu, I see plenty of legit choices, like: L13-17, 27-39 (except 33, unless you know what you’re doing/can read Chinese). MaPo Tofu is at L31 (TWO chili peppers, look out!)

  • Now that is a hilarious review!! I can totally see this happening in Chinatown … I was born and raised there! Surprisingly I’ve never been into that restaurant before. I was excited to try it out, but I might be thinking twice.

  • haha maybe its just me… but this place doesnt seem appetizing to me at all :p

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