The Upper East Side’s Sichuan Renaissance


Land of Plenty’s picture-perfect ma po tofu, snowed with crushed Sichuan peppercorns.

How did it happen that some of the city’s best — and most authentic — Sichuan restaurants have come to be located on the Upper East Side? Maybe for the same reason so many young bohos are moving into the neighborhood: significantly lower rents than in some other parts of town.

Sliced tongue, tripe, and tendon at Szechuan Chalet

As befits what was once the city’s most effete and desirable neighborhood, many of these spaces are elegant, too, so that one dines on Sichuan cuisine in surroundings significantly more comfortable than those of downtown, Flushing, and maritime Brooklyn places (where most of the more accurate approximations of Sichuan food have previously been located).

This week, Counter Culture tears into one such place, eyes watering, nose running, and lips burning: Land of Plenty, occupying the former Mia Dona space just east of Bloomingdale’s.

Here are pictures from it and a couple of other UES Sichuan faves.

At Land of Plenty, you can eat the classic dan-dan mein on white napery.

Sichuan pork dumplings in roasted red oil at Szechuan Chalet

Lamb filets with roasted chili-cumin at Land of Plenty

Tripe and tendon with chili oil at Wa Jeal Sichuan Chili House

Braised whole fish filet with soy bean sprouts in roasted chili spiced broth at Land of Plenty

Cool your mouth with this at Land of Plenty: camphor tea smoked duck.

Upper East Side special: braised fish stomachs at Land of Plenty

Land of Plenty
204 East 58th Street

Szechuan Chalet
1395 Second Avenue

Wa Jeal Sichuan Chili House
1588 Second Avenue