We’re starting off 2012 with another round of Chinese food. This time, it’s from Empire Szechuan Garden, which I believe was relatively recently renovated. It’s on 46th street, just north of Queens Blvd, right next to the new French restaurant Bliss 46.
The restaurant is definitely aimed for take-out, and it’s not very appealing inside. There are two tables where you could potentially eat, but it’s cramped, a bit dirty looking, and I wouldn’t really recommend it.
And the secret ingredient is…. MSG! A whole tub of it. In fact, there were multiple huge tubs of it all over the place – they were even using them as stools and mini-tables in the kitchen area. A lot of Chinese restaurants don’t use MSG anymore, but apparently Empire has no qualms about it.
In the mid-19th century, General Tso helped quell the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing Empire in China. In 2012, we get to eat a cheap chicken dish named after him, even though neither he nor Chinese people to this day eat this (it was invented in the 1970s right here in New York). This particular incarnation costs $7 and comes with a tiny bit of broccoli, plus rice. I also just realized that it was also supposed to come with an egg roll, but did not (I did get a free can of soda though, but that doesn’t quite make up for it). It was good – I would say it was slightly above average for this dish for a take-out place.
Also available with a choice of various meats, this vegetable egg foo young is a mere $5.10. It comes with a side of rice and sauce, so I would say that’s a pretty sweet deal. It was a pretty big portion too, and rather decent taste-wise. I was also happy with the diverse vegetables, plus the egg of course.