Grand Szechuan, 2016

Grand Szechuan: Szechuan Cool Noodle
Grand Szechuan is the restaurant we eat at most in the Twin Cities area. I stopped posting regularly about our meals there a couple of years ago, as otherwise things would get pretty monotonous. As I did last year, I instead have for you an end of the year round-up drawn from a number of meals eaten this year. It highlights mostly dishes that have not been featured before, as well as a few old favourites. A few new things entered our rotation this year and we also got around to eating for the first time a few things that have always been on the menu. Whether it’s to eat old or new things, we’re always glad to walk in their door.

I am also glad to be able to say that this year they seem to have been busier than we’ve ever seen before. This may be because MSP magazine put them back on their 50 best restaurants in the Twin Cities list this year—they should never be off this (or any other similar) list. If there ever comes a time that there are 50 better restaurants in the Twin Cities than Grand Szechuan that will mean either that we’ll have entered a new golden age of Twin Cities dining or that they’ll have declined terribly. So far, there is no sign of the latter happening: Grand Szechuan remains one of the most dependable bets in the area. So much so that we’ve lost track of Szechuan Spice, Tea House and Szechuan (up in Roseville)—if anyone has information on any new developments at those places, please write in below. We also haven’t been back to Little Szechuan in a long while—are they still hotpot-only?

The only major change at Grand Szechuan is that sometime in the first half of this year they acquired fancy new menu books. Nothing dropped off the menu but almost everything that used to be on the Chinese-only menu at the front, or on pieces of paper stuck to the walls by the captain’s desk, or that you had to know to ask for specially, is now on the menu proper: the triple flavour squid is now on there too, I think (as “Spicy Squid Roll”). A few dishes do remain on the Chinese-only menu. As of our last visit, this included only a couple of whole fish dishes and the spicy, scrambled pork brains (which they remain convinced no one who is not Chinese would want).

Names of featured dishes and my takes on them are in the slideshow below. The slideshow is arranged in order of appearance on their menu—with one exception: I’ve put a sweeter dish from the “Szechuan Snacks” section, which is at the beginning of their menu, at the very end.

I can’t say that Grand Szechuan is on the same level of our favourite Szechuan restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley (outside Los Angeles)—a couple of meals we ate at Szechuan Impression, in particular, this year were just breathtaking. However, as I said earlier in the year, they held their own with a Michelin starred Sichuan restaurant we ate at in Hong Kong. As far as Asian cuisines in the Twin Cities go, Grand Szechuan represents theirs better and more fully than any other restaurant.

There’s a whole other genre of meals we’ve been eating there, however, that aren’t even touched on above: their weekday menu includes a number of noodle and noodle soup dishes at lunch and we’ve stopped in for those on a number of occasions too. Expect those to show up sometime early next year in my slow-motion survey of noodle soups in the Twin Cities metro area. In the meantime, if you still haven’t been to Grand Szechuan, or haven’t been in a while, what are you waiting for?

6 thoughts on “Grand Szechuan, 2016

  1. Szechuan in Roseville has become our go to for any kind of Chinese now, as it’s convenient for us to get to (20 minutes), and has always been reliably good; and nice to go to a place where they recognize you.

    The news is that the owners are opening up a new place in the warehouse district sometime this year. Last month they excitedly told us about it, as they were choosing serviceware at the table next to us. They are a charming family. I just noticed this news in the local press. The planned for name of the place escapes me.

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  2. Was at Grand Szechuan tonight, and then saw your review. The Eggplant in Fish Sauce is truly outstanding. We also liked the Pork Ribs in Chili Sauce. Also: the beef tongue in chili sauce appetizer was excellent.

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  3. Don’t recall the pork ribs in chili sauce but yes, that beef tongue starter is great—I covered that in one of my 2014 roundups. Along similar lines, I also highly recommend the pork ears in chilli sauce and the ma la beef tendon.

    (Do you mean the “Chung King Chilli Pork Ribs”? We’ve had variable outings with that one—will have to give them another shot.)

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