I’d planned to review Little Szechuan in St. Paul this month but they’ve been closed for remodeling. Hopefully, they will reopen soon and if so I’ll have a write-up in May. In the meantime, here are some more pictures from recent meals at Grand Szechuan which continues to be as reliably good as it’s ever been. On our recent visits we’ve been eating some things we hadn’t tried before and now have some new regulars to add to the rotation.
Click on a thumbnail to launch a larger slideshow with descriptions. (Only dishes not pictured in the previous write-up or featured in particularly heinous photographs are included.)
Pork Ears in Chilli Sauce. Cartilagey, crunchy goodness.
Chengdu Bo-Bo Chicken. On the bone, sweet/spicy with a liberal scattering of ground Sichuan peppercorn. Just lovely–we hadn’t got it in a while and I’m not sure why.
Beef Tongue in Chilli Sauce. Thinly sliced tongue–if you’re with someone squeamish just tell them it’s brisket.
Spicy Hammered Chicken. As good as ever.
Szechuan Green Beans.
Fish Flavour Eggplant. Not actually flavoured with fish, but with flavours usually used with fish.
Eggplant with Sweet Bean Sauce. I don’t actually eat eggplant myself (it being the devil’s tumour) but both dishes, got on separate occasions, were liked by those who do.
Tofu Combination in Clay Pot. This was our first time trying this and it was unexpectedly soupy with noodles at the bottom and it was very good.
Tofu with Shrimp and Pickled Pepper. Another first-timer and this was just excellent. Velvety sauce around the shrimp and tofu and a sneaky kick from the pickled peppers.
Fish Fillet and Tofu in Szechuan Chilli Broth. This is an old standby: soft tofu, boiled fish and napa cabbage in a rather lethal broth (though you can ask for it to not be lethal).
Chilli Pork with Pickled Pepper. Nice mix of textures with the bamboo and wood ear mushrooms.
Chairman Mao’s Braised Pork Belly. Just this side of cloying (okay, maybe right on the line and tipping over) but so, so good.
Country Style Chicken. This is not on the menu. Crispy chicken and green beans tossed in a spicy-sweet sauce.
Chengdu Lamb. Also not on the menu. Cuminy and very good.
Mystery Dish. This is menu item #126 (at the end of the pork section). There is no English translation but if you ask you will be told that it comprises beef tripe, forced meat of some kind and cubes of congealed blood in a livid broth that is mostly chilli oil. Having asked you must then get it. Unless you want to die you do not spoon the broth into your mouth or too much of it over your rice. Instead, pick out the goodies with chopsticks, shake most of the broth off and eat with rice. Just excellent stuff.
So, a few more excellent meals and lots more reasons to return (or go for the first time if you still haven’t been).