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Despite the wonky, Swiss-sounding name, Szechuan Chalet is a contender in the Sichuan restaurant sweepstakes, tendering fiery food (request extra spice) from the excellent pork dumplings in roasted red oil, all the way up to the whole fish in spicy bean sauce (a tilapia rather than a carp). Though, admittedly, the place stints on the Sichuan peppercorns, the other vectors of hotness include huge quantities of fresh green chiles, dried red chiles, and overflowing lakes of chile oil. Surprising for the Upper East Side, there are organ meats, too, including the classic ox tongue and tripe appetizer. Though not specifically Sichuan, the razor clams in the shape of a peacock is not to be missed.
The conquest of the city by Sichuan restaurants is nearly complete. When the earliest eateries from that remote region of China first appeared on the Upper West Side in the '70s, they were palaces of the pallid, with a sticky-sweet stir-fry of... More »
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