Golden Horseshoe II: Sichuan Boogaloo (St. Paul, MN)

I have a double bill for you today. Having already posted a pan of a bad meal at an inexplicably praised restaurant let me now counter the negativity with a rave for a very good meal at an inexplicably ignored restaurant: Golden Horseshoe, the Sichuan residency at Cook St. Paul. I have already posted a longer review of our first dinner there. This will be a much shorter post with the aim of urging those of you who have not yet gone to go. And to inform/remind you that time is running out on the possibility of going. The residency was supposed to run through the end of August but is now terminating at the end of July. Sunday, July 28 will be the last service. As they only do dinner Thursdays to Sundays (5-9 pm) this means you have eight opportunities left to go. Go this week if you can; you’ll probably want to go again and will kick yourself if you don’t leave yourself the opportunity.

If you read the minimal coverage that this residency received in the local press, you may recall that the original plan for Golden Horseshoe was for one or two new dishes to be added to the menu every week, culminating in a final menu of 20 or so dishes by the end of August. With the early termination of the residency that plan changed and the current menu is the final one. It’s not as minimalist as it was on our first visit: there are now four appetizers and ten mains. More than enough options to keep a group happy.

What did we get? We repeated only one dish: the mapo tofu, which we confirmed again as the best in the Twin Cities. To this we added four other dishes we had not tried before: the dan dan noodles, the cold noodles with pulled chicken, the dry-fried cauliflower with pork and the quick fried crispy fish. I can now tell you that their dan dan noodles are also the best in town. And the cold noodles—a main dish which they were kind enough to let us order an appetizer-sized portion of—was not far behind. The other two dishes were excellent as well: the fry job on the fish was delicate and the seasoning top-notch, and the cauliflower—or to be more exact, the caulini—was also done perfectly. This meal was even better than our first and we liked that one a lot too.

To see what all of this looked like launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it cost and to be urged once again to go.

We were also happy to see far more people at the restaurant on this outing than had been there at our first. I can only hope that this will keep up for the last two weeks. We are planning to go back on the last day of service and are hoping to get enough people together to be able to order the whole menu. And there’s a pretty good chance that we will order multiples of the mapo tofu to go and freeze it for later enjoyment!

Now if you can crack the code of why local food writers who hype marginal restaurants could not find it in them to drive more people to Golden Horseshoe, a truly excellent eand unique culinary event in the Twin Cities that deserved more attention, please explain it to the rest of us.

As an aside, at this meal we had a long conversation with Eddie Wu, the proprietor of Cook St. Paul about various Twin Cities food matters. During the conversation I mentioned my blog and to my pleasant surprise someone at an adjoining table mentioned that they read and enjoy it. I may not have shown it out of surprise and embarrassment but this was great to hear. If you are that person please write in below to say hi.

4 thoughts on “Golden Horseshoe II: Sichuan Boogaloo (St. Paul, MN)

  1. Thanks for this – I had not heard they were closing up shop early. Luckily I was able to get back there once more. Cold chicken noodles, dry fried eggplant, chicken and shrimp dry pot. I asked for more heat across the board and the kitchen gladly complied. One of the best meals I’ve had in a long time (and enough leftovers for 2 meals). The eggplant was otherworldly, I think I’ll start calling it “angel’s gourd”.

    This place was just great and in a way I’m glad it will close before, say, I have a not-so-great experience there to bring down the average so to speak. Two meals, 6 dishes, 5 knockouts (the fish roll was merely good). What a run.


  2. We went on Friday and it was the best sichuan meal we have had, hands down. The eggplant was incredible. We plan on going back this week. My soon to be off to college son had the fish and my wife had the tofu. I had the garlic shrimp. We all shared and the shrimp was the weak link. The shrimp was good but not on the same level as the other two main dished.


  3. Alas, our plan to go out in force and order the entire menu on the last evening did not come to pass. I’ve been down with a severe right foot strain since the first half of the week and walking is still extremely painful. I kept holding out hope that it would get loose enough for me to push through but it wasn’t to be. Two of our friends went anyway and brought us back some takeout. We ate the Cantonese pork belly right away. Tomorrow: mapo tofu and the chicken-basil dish.

    They hadn’t been before and loved it. They said there were a lot of people there, evidently bummed it was coming to an end and most over-ordering for one last chance to eat this food.

    Did any of you go back this week?


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