NYC - Flaming Kitchen - Spice in the Bowery

Flaming Kitchen - 97 Bowery, NYC, 10002

On The Chopping Board (OTCB) was recently invited to try out some of the menu items at Flaming Kitchen. All food was provided free of charge.

Flaming Kitchen, as the name suggests, specialises in spicy Chinese cuisine from the Szechuan region of China. Szechuan cuisine focuses on its strong use of spice, especially garlic and chilli as well as the Szechuan peppercorn.

Flaming Kitchen interior
Upon entering Flaming Kitchen, my friend and I are welcomed with a bright open dining space which is clean modern in it's design. We are seated and greeted by our host and given a few moments to peruse the menu before ordering. Like many Chinese restaurants, the menu is extensive with the menu split between noodle, meat, poultry, seafood and rice dishes. Large menus tend to scare me a little as there are so many options to choose from so when our host lets us choose a few dishes on our own and also provides a few house specialities, this helps us greatly.

Our host asks us what our spice thresholds are, and with my friend's threshold being a little low, he lets the chef know to alter some of the dishes to our palate.

Spring Rolls
To start off the meal, we are presented with 'Spring Rolls'. The spring rolls had a light flavourful minced shrimp filling with a crunchy outer which was not at all oily. The sweet dipping sauce was a nice accompaniment, however I preferred it without the sauce to allow the flavour of the sweet shrimp filling shine through.

Dan Dan Noodles with Minced Pork Chili Sauce - $6.50
After our entree, my friend and I opted for a few noodle dishes. Back home in Australia, one of my favourite noodle dishes were 'Dan Dan' noodles (aka Dan Dan Mian). Noodles consisting of a spicy sauce of chilli oil, Szechuan pepper, minced pork and scallions. When I have had this dish in the past, the sauce has usually been a thicker consistency, so when I saw this come out with a lighter sauce I was a little surprised. Whilst this was the case, the flavours in the dish were very similar to those that I have had in the past. The heat was definitely present in the sauce, and the use of Szechuan pepper was noticeable as this spice can definitely pack a punch. The use of a colder noodle helped ease some of the heat that was coming through in the dish. A great way to start the meal.

Hot and Sour Cellophane Noodles - $6.50
Our second noodle dish was selected by our host. This is a noodle dish that I have not previously had, but when it arrived on our table, the look of this dish definitely screamed spice, spice and more spice! Again, some nice heat was present in this dish but what I liked most about the noodles was the square shape and texture of the noodle which was gelatinous in mouth feel.

Whole Fish - $23.95
One of the next dishes that came out was the fish. Beautifully presented head to tail, unfortunately, both my friend and I were not impressed with this dish. Whilst the sauce was flavourful and was a little sweeter in taste (a nice refuge from the heat in the noodle dishes), the batter on the fish itself was a little thick and overpowered the light flavour of the fish. If the batter was a little lighter, this would have let the fish shine on it's own, stepping up the flavour profile of this dish.

Sweet and Sour Pork Spare Ribs - $13.95
Next on the menu, the pork spare ribs. A nice thick sauce covered the pork ribs, and whilst the overall flavours were nice, I would have liked the pork to be a little more tender and falling off the bone. 

Salt and Pepper Squid - $17.95
For those who have read any of my other reviews over Chinese restaurants, I always order the salt and pepper squid. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the batter was heavy, the squid chewy and overall, the dish lacked seasoning.

Overall, we had a good experience at Flaming Kitchen, however I would like to try some more traditional (and spicier) dishes should I visit again. If you haven't tried Szechuan food before, are in the mood for some heat and spice and willing to give it a try, think of Flaming Kitchen for your next outing.


Flaming Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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