Szechuan (Roseville, MN)

Szechuan: Steamed Flounder
At the end of my review of Tea House in Minneapolis I noted that I was considering finally trying Szechuan in Roseville. It opened at about the same time as Grand Szechuan but early reports had made me wary and somehow we never went. A friend who shares my view of Tea House, recommended it as worth a try after reading that review and so off we went. Once again, my visiting parents (who are always willing to eat Chinese food, and Sichuan food in particular) rounded out our party, which meant we could once again try a bunch of things without the risk of being stranded with lots of leftovers of food we didn’t care for.

As it happens, we liked the food quite a lot. Their menu is not quite as large as Grand Szechuan’s on the Sichuan front but nothing disappointed and some things were quite good indeed.

First, a note on the space. The restaurant is located in a nondescript strip off the 36 and while not unattractive is also itself a somewhat nondescript space.We were there for late lunch on a weekday, and it wasn’t terribly busy, and this didn’t do the atmosphere too many favours. It’s a long narrow room, and if you’re not seated near the windows up front (as we were not) the lighting becomes a mix of gloomy and harsh (on which I pin partial fault for the crappy pictures below). Still, while the ambience at Tea House is superior, I have to agree that the food at Szechuan is better.

We once again ordered a mix of familiar dishes to compare against Grand Szechuan’s renditions and some dishes that Grand Szechuan does not have on their menu. Highlights came from both categories. For descriptions and notes on what we ate, click on a picture below to launch a slideshow.

Everything was good but of the things we ate I’d particularly recommend the stir-fried chicken with roasted chillies and the preserved pork with garlic shoots.The default spice level is not particularly hot here, by the way (which is par for the course for the area). We hadn’t signaled that we wanted the things that should be hot to be really hot and they weren’t; on the other hand, they were far from mild as well.

All of this plus tax and tip came to $129. I have to note here that they’d automatically added a 20% gratuity. As there were only six of us (two of whom were small children) I asked why this was and our server said that it was their policy for all groups seated at the larger round tables. I felt it was a bit presumptuous, especially as the service was not particularly attentive and as the kitchen was rather slow—especially with the fish which only came out when we’d finished almost everything else and had begun to give up on it.

Still, these issues aside, we enjoyed the food enough to want to go back. It won’t replace Grand Szechuan in our rotation, as it’s not as good, on the whole, and is further away. But as it turns out, it’s not so very out of the way from our usual haunts for Korean and Indian grocery shopping or from Como Park, which we visit from time to time with the kids in the non-freezing months, and so we’ll be back to explore more of their menu.

4 thoughts on “Szechuan (Roseville, MN)

  1. Excellent! We’ve been going a long ways from Coon Rapids to get our Chinese, either sit down or takeout (Dinkeytown for take out). You see Annoying, the Chinese food available in our neck of the woods could best be described as “sewage”.

    Roseville is an easy and closer drive for us.

    Thanks Annoying!

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  2. Hi Annoying: Had a nice lunch at Szechuan today. We like the space and ambiance. We checked your pics before departing, whose quality I thought just fine.

    Highlight of the meal (awesome in fact) was the fish filet in chili broth. A huge bowl of amber-red chili broth with tender white fish (hopefully not talapia but I forgot to ask). I ended up dipping the order of stir fried chicken (your fave) in it. Chicken was brought a little overdone maybe, but still fine.

    We had ordered at the highest heat level and it still could have been a tad spicier (you had mentioned this issue). Still it was ok. I requested a side of extra hot oil which helped.

    Other highlight was the Black mushroom with bok choy dish. A light clear sauce was seasoned just right. I cook bok choy at home all the time and it’s been difficult to achieve such a tasty version as this restaurants was. I am sure it’s the stock they use.

    Also nice to be able to enjoy a cold beer with this dinner. Something too many ethnic restaurants lack around here. We will for sure be back.

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  3. Good luck finding much of anything good to eat in Roseville. Just ain’t gonna happen.
    Szechuan is probably the best Chinese you’re going to find in that culinary wasteland.
    Even good pizza was rare until they built a new Luce recently.

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