I remember hearing about Legend from a friend a while ago. Allegedly, my Chinese friend claimed, this was one of the most authentic Sichuan meals available in NYC, and Jews like me must roll with her kind to be allowed entry. It turns out that's only half true, as she was referring to their downstairs Friday night Chinese Food Fight Club meals (not its real name). It wasn't a discriminatory thing (she claimed), it's just that they don't speak very much English, and Fight Club entails lots of yelling and shouting in Chinese. We didn't act upon the invitation, and that was the last we'd heard of Legend. Cut to a couple of weeks ago - a friend who lives in Chelsea demanded we go, and claimed Legend to be the best Chinese in the city.
As they do, the stars aligned with a show that next day at Highline Ballroom that obviously required dinner beforehand. I marched a crew of some of my favorite music writers/opinionated palates to what turned out to be a very impressive showing at Legend. As you can see by the score, we really enjoyed ourselves. This is Chinese food worth leaving the apartment for, and we're awarding Legend elite status. While it's not as hip or fun as Mission Chinese, we'd rather eat the food at Legend any day of the week. The Sichuan fare is sometimes crazy, sometimes spicy, sometimes simple, and always delicious. The menu is huge, but the key is to listen to your server. The best item we ordered - the famous sliced fish and pickled soup - was on our table thanks to her.
Yup, you need some cold noodles on your table. That's gotta happen.
Good lord were these wontons incredible. Perhaps the best wontons we've ever had, actually.
Who knew string beans could taste so good? They kill it with their veggies here at Legend, and you should make sure you order accordingly. These have some serious kick to them too, so prepare for some fire.
They'll ask you if you want the shell on or off, and you most definitely would like the shell on. While it makes the dish a little dry, that crunch and flavor is well worth it.
Rice crust? We are absolutely ordering a dish with sliced pork and rice crust." And you should too.
When we asked our waitress what we were missing from our order, she was quick on the draw and told us we were missing "fish." OK, cool. We figured some spicy scallops were in our future. Wrong. A massive tub of pickled soup showed up. Honestly, we have no idea what's in it, and now can't find it on the menu. All we know is that it tasted delicious. Just ask your server for the "famous soup." You need it.