Best Chinese - 2013
Land of Plenty
When we're intent on burning our faces off with the food of southwestern China, midtown east is not usually the first neighborhood we contemplate. But after our minds have wandered through the East Village, the vicinity of Times Square, and Flushing—the neighborhoods where many of NYC's best Sichuan restaurants live—we frequently end up at Land of Plenty, a subterranean spot that's just a stone's throw from Bloomingdales, Zara, and other upscale shops and yet blessedly bereft of shopping bag-bedecked tourists that rush up and down the avenues. Land of Plenty offers a staggering list of Sichuan dishes, many pooled in chili oil and liberally dusted with those characteristic mouth-numbing peppercorns. We can't get enough of the dan dan noodles, the beef tendon in chili oil, the ma po tofu, the cumin-rubbed lamb, or the Sichuan pork dumplings—but given the stunning depth of the list, we treat each visit here a chance to explore new territory rather than an excuse to revisit old classics, and it will be a long, long time before we've managed to eat our way through the menu. Challenge accepted.