Don't Miss the Cumin Lamb at Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan


[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Your average Sichuan restaurant may turn out a decent, if not exceptional, plate of dry-fried cumin lamb, a dish that tastes pretty solid even when it's not that inspired. But at Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan, it's the must-order ($12.95).

Most cumin lamb is a little dry and oily. HKofGS's is neither—the thicker slices of meat maintain their tenderness and remain juicy, despite spending enough time in the wok to delicately crisp their edges. In other cumin lamb dishes, the lamb and cumin fight for dominance, complementary flavors each trying to shout over the other. Not here—the lamb is sweet, the cumin gentle but assertive, and the low murmur of smoke from the wok draws them together seamlessly.

There's some mild heat here, but not the blast of cumin you may be fearing. Rather, it's cumin lamb in a slightly dressed-up guise—refined but not de-clawed.