Xi'an Famous Foods
If you want to visit the holy grail that is Golden Shopping Mall without having to step foot out of your neighborhood, Xi'an Famous Food’s outposts in Manhattan or Greenpoint are your go-to, hands down. But, up in Queens, you can experience the notable chain in the basement location where it all began. It’s really impossible to go wrong with any of its heavenly, mindblowingly inexpensive offerings, so we suggest a little-of-this-little-of-that approach. Opt for one of the mini-chain’s meaty “burgers,” a hand-pulled noodle soup and a pasta of your choice, and round it out with our personal favorite: The spicy and tingly lamb’s face salad. You’ll have tasted Xi’an’s best, but won’t be too full to try anything else. (You are in Flushing, after all!)
Xi’an Famous Foods, 41-28 Main Street Bsmt #36 (at 41st Road), Queens, no phone
Though the upper ‘30s can be a dead zone for well-executed Chinese fare, the Midtown Lunch mainstay and New York Times-rated restaurant is a go-to for power lunches amidst a sea of mediocre restaurants. The blazing heat of its Sichuan offerings, like crispy, cumin-coated lamb fillet, keep loyalists coming back, but if double-cooked pork belly and other meaty delights aren’t for you, opt for the endlessly creamy ma po tofu. Killer tofu? Totally.
Szechuan Gourmet, 21 W 39th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues); 212-921-0233
Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Famous Foods