Ignoring the warnings of a Flushing food buddy that ingredient quality and preparation had taken a nosedive, I recently revisited the ungainly named but formerly reliable downtown Flushing standby, Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan (HKGS), with a small group of repeat visitors for a late-night meal. Although I have at least 10 HKGS sojourns under my belt, it was my first since 2014, and I was shocked by how far it had fallen.
We sampled some old favorites including Ox Tongue & Tripe in Spicy Sauce, Mao’s BBQ Fish, Smoked Beef With White Pepper, and a new one, Sour Crispy Duck Hunan Style, and found each to be a pallid, poorly-cooked version of its former self. It seems obvious that the original chef is no longer in the kitchen.
Lowlights: the smoked beef was painfully chewy, with none of the fragrant flavors of the past; the duck was overly fatty and after a bite each, was left uneaten even by our resident duck fanatic; the ox tongue was over-cooked and the dish wasn’t properly spiced; and the BBQ fish, while still featuring mounds of root vegetables surrounding a steamed river fish, seriously lacked in the flavor department.
And the room, although it could never have been called elegant, previously had some flair but these days looks worn and dowdy. Service was friendly.
Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan
42-46 Main St
Flushing, Queens, NY