The Next Evolution of NYC Sichuan Is at DaXi (NY Eater)

Oohs and aahs went up as the waiter wearing a red neckerchief bore a bamboo bird cage across the room. It was decorated with bright plastic flowers, and he set it down on our table with a flourish. He opened the cage door and inside were nearly a dozen pork ribs neatly stacked. But these were not just any pork ribs: Each was compressed inside a sausage casing, giving them an eerily smooth and shiny appearance. The flesh was smoky and delicately flavored with cumin.

Sichuan food — or at least a pallid version of it — has been around New York at least since the 60s, when it achieved popularity on the Upper West Side and in Chinatown. The late 90s saw a resurgence of interest, with peppercorn-laden dishes that were spicier and altogether closer to those served in the Sichuan province in southwestern China. Chains like Wu Liang Ye and Grand Sichuan broadcast the cuisine throughout Midtown to Greenwich Village and even all the way to Bay Ridge.

Now a new phase in the development of Sichuan food is underway. New, more expensive places catering mainly to Chinese customers are popping up in Flushing. Not content with earlier versions of the cuisine and its collection of recognizable dishes, these menus explore Sichuan cooking as never before: including up-to-the-minute innovations occurring contemporarily in Sichuan restaurants in China.


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