There’s a change occurring in American-Chinese restaurants, at least here in Brooklyn. For years we have been content with the same old menus — moo goo gai pan, egg foo young, egg drop soup — and there’s not really anything wrong with that. Here in NYC the actual authentic Chinese restaurants have been getting more popular, and have even been moving in from the outer Boroughs to Manhattan. In Park Slope it seems that the American-Chinese restaurants are starting to respond to this trend. They haven’t dropped those aforementioned “classics”, but places like Tofu on 7th have brought in actual chefs from China to introduce some authenticity to their menus. I recently found a flyer from a new place called Szechuan Garden which opened just a few blocks from my apartment, and was intrigued by the description on the menu that mentioned that they actually use Szechuan peppercorns in their dishes. I stopped by for some take-out, and they couldn’t have been nicer. When I mentioned I was a vegetarian but wanted to try some of their authentic food, they directed me towards the sauteed dry tofu with string beans, which they said has the same sauce and condiments as the meat-heavy items but was completely vegetarian. I can’t say for sure it was authentic, but it was very good. The tofu was in large, dense chunks and the string beans were cooked perfectly. The sauce was a great blend of different kinds of chiles — dried, pickled, and fresh — which made the dish super spicy (which I love). And yes, there was the floral accent of the numbing Szechuan peppercorn as well. I’ll definitely be back.
Szechuan Garden — 463 7th Ave