Blue Willow

If you’re near the bottom of Central Park and looking for great Chinese food, check out this Szechuan and Hunan restaurant on 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. The velvet banquette, frilly chandelier filled indoor space looks like somewhere you could eventually bring someone you work for, a date, or your family visiting you in the city. While they currently offer indoor and outdoor seating, know that their food travels well for pick-up and delivery too. Their mapo tofu reminds us of the city’s best versions - its silky tofu cubes hold up against prodding chopsticks and gravity, and you can taste the fermented black beans hiding in the tingling, mala-spice sauce.

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