If you’re looking for great food on St. Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, you’re probably also looking for a good time (and possibly a lot of alcohol, then a second cartilage piercing). Uplifting news for you: Szechuan Mountain House exists. The Szechuan food here is memorably numbing and garlic-heavy. If you’re interested in outdoor dining, there’s a patio area out front that’s decorated with plants and dividers where you can hang out and drink a few bottles of Tsing Tao to offset the mala spice.
No matter what you order, your meal starts here with complimentary homemade pickled cabbage and ends with cold mung bean soup. In between, we’d suggest getting the mapo tofu, which is both stomach-vibrating and delicious, as well as the pork belly with garlic. It’s possible you’ve seen pictures of it on social media: it comes with cucumbers and light-pink, thinly sliced pork slabs hanging neatly over a rack that looks like something you’d use to dry jeans. Combined with a helping of garlic paste on the side of the plate, the cold cucumber and fatty pork will temporarily convince you this is the only way we should be eating pork belly.
Szechuan Mountain House is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout - and they also have a location in Flushing in case that's more convenient to you.