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.

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I love been curd. I have ben told I make a nice been curd with peanut butter,mustard,ginger,honey,hot sauce,soy sauce,orange peel fresh mined garlic


Still like my pork fried rice,sweet-n-sour pork and Kung Bo chicken. The upper east side isn't as "old money"as you think. Pretentious yes but not old wealth. Damm it's hard to get deep fried ice cream in these new fancy Chinese restaurants. Funny thing is I don't see Chinese people in these restaurants. Only see Chinese people in restaurants down in Chinatown.