We visited Szechuan Gourmet for a midweek lunch, arriving slightly before 12:45 p.m. Surprisingly, we found the vestibule absolutely full. A large party was waiting for a table, but there were also people waiting for smaller tables and take away orders. The line moved quickly because there was frequent turnover in the dining room, and we were seated after a ten-minute wait. Our guests had been to Szechuan Gourmet a number of times and remarked that though the place is usually busy at lunch, they never saw it this busy.
As a result, the decibel reading reflects the incredible turnover the restaurant experienced during out visit, and it did affect the noise level. We were near the front door, so the meter definitely picked up the chatter and other noise of people moving to and from the dining room and staff shouting orders to each other. That said, the noise level didn’t seem as loud to us as the reading suggests. Why? There was no music. The sound was composed of voices and the usual sounds of a busy restaurant.
So despite being dangerously close to 80 decibels, we do not advise that you avoid Szechuan Gourmet. Just recognize that this is not the place you should go to if you want a calm or relaxing meal, but it will be tolerable. For midtown, you would be hard pressed to find a better moderately priced Chinese restaurant. There’s a reason it’s busy.
11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day
21 W. 39th Street (betw. 5th and 6th Avenue), New York, NY 10018