Szechuan Mountain House
In between my travels to Chicago and Austin, I had 12 hours back home in NYC, so I wanted to grab some feel-good Chinese food. And that's how we ended up at Szechuan Mountain House in Lower East Side at 10:30 pm for quite the selection of spicy, numbing food.
When we were seated, our attentive server started us off with some pickled spicy cabbage, which we devoured. As a side note, we later found out that we were SUPER lucky to have sat down right away because the wait on a Friday or Saturday night is at least 1.5 hours!!! And they don't take reservations.
If you haven't had jellyfish before, this is the place to try it. The jellyfish really soaks up the vinegar and has that slight crunch with every bite. It's definitely one of the top jellyfish dishes I've had in this style.
One of the must-have dishes is the super thinly sliced pork belly with cucumber that is served on a wooden contraption over a chili packed garlic sauce. On it's own, the pork belly and cucumber are lacking in flavor, so it is extremely important to dip it in the sauce!
We also ordered the mapo tofu, which is just like how my dad makes it. At first, we were going to go for regular white rice, but I'm so glad we opted for the fried rice! I loved the slight garlic flavor, and it went extremely well with the that spicy mapo tofu. Thankfully, they don't over-spice their food with chilis and Szechuan peppercorns, so you can actually taste the flavors over all that spice!
We thought we needed more dishes for some reason and ended up choosing a spicy fish soup, which was MUCH larger than we expected. I would only order this for a table of four. It was topped with a ton of chilis and peppercorns, and you really need to be ready to sweat when you order this. The fish itself is perfectly cooked, but make sure you only take a little bit of the soup with every bite if you have a normal spice tolerance!
I can't wait to head back to Szechuan Mountain House, but it's so popular during normal hours that we'll have to head over only during odd eating times!
- Order fried rice instead of the white rice! It works so well with mapo tofu and is perfect for leftovers!
- Go with friends, but not too large of a group! It would really be perfect for a double date!
- If you want dessert, go next door to Mango Mango!