Empire Szechuan Noodle House

Manhattan, New York City


Image for Cass Danger

rating star

I loved this place! There's not a ton of veg-friendly places in the neighborhood (aside from bean tacos), so this was a real treat. A friend and I dined for lunch and tried a number of dishes. We both got the vegetarian wonton soup-which was fantastic! It had a good flavor on it's own but it was even better with some hot chili sauce. I had to pay $1 extra to get the wonton soup with my lunch special but it was definitely worth it.

We went with the crispy tofu for the appetizer because the server said it was firm tofu. When we got it, we realized that it was actually soft tofu. It wasn't as soft as most soft tofu but it definitely wasn't firm. I'm not a big fan of soft tofu so this wasn't my favorite. The batter wasn't spiced and the tofu itself is plain so the dish lacked flavor. It came with a soy sauce to dip it in, which was okay, but not enough to give it flavor.

I went with the mixed vegetables and tofu (not on the menu, but I wanted both tofu and veggies, not just one or the other so I paid $1 extra), but it was very good. I explained I'm not a fan of the soft-style tofu so the server brought out a VERY firm piece of tofu, which she called "dry tofu" and said they could make the dish with that. It was great. The tofu was good but I actually enjoyed the veggies (broccoli, carrots, pea pods) even more so I'll just go with the veggies next time. My friend ordered the Chinese broccoli with brown rice, which was good, but it was just the one veggie and I prefer more variety within a dish.

The service was fantastic. All the servers were attentive and very kind. I will definitely be back. Even though I paid $1 extra for the veggie wonton soup and $1 extra for the not-on-the-menu dish, my entree was still only $8 or $9 and the crispy tofu was $4. Not bad. I'lld definitely be back.

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