So the plan for last week’s pandemic takeout had been a return to Homi in St. Paul. But for tedious reasons we don’t need to go into—not least because it would involve my having to divulge my own idiocy—these got spiked on Wednesday. The options were no pandemic takeout last week or something midweek. The former option being clearly unacceptable we ended up doing takeout dinner on Thursday—and as a bonus we ended up getting food from Grand Szechuan. So winners all around and it turns out I was not an idiot after all but a hero. We’ll try to go back to Homi this week. In the meantime here’s a report on Sichuan excess.
Grand Szechuan closes in the afternoon on weekdays, re-opening at 4.30. I called the order in at the end of the lunch hour and asked if I could pick it up right at 5 pm. It was waiting for me when I got there. They are still not open for dining iin—not for another month or two at least, said the cashier, and I was glad to hear it. I was also glad to hear him say that business has been okay. Not as good on weekdays, he said, but pretty good on weekends. I hope that keeps going for them even as more and more other places open back up.
What did we get? The friends we pod with were happy to join us for this dinner. So we were 4 adults and 4 children and accordingly managed to do a fair bit of damage:
- Chengdu Spicy Wontons: Slightly the worse for wear, texturally, after a 40 minute drive but still very tasty.
- Elder Sister Diced Rabbit: Always fussy with the bones but as tasty as always. In some ways easier to eat at home than at the restaurant, what with the need to constantly spit out small bones.
- Diced Tofu and Peanuts in Chilli Sauce: One of our favourite cold starters and it did not disappoint.
- Dan Dan Noodles: This was for the kids and we got two orders so there’d be leftovers.
- Fish Fillet in Milky White Broth: Perhaps our favourite of their soups, this mild broth with fish, cabbage and mushrooms is always excellent and a great relief dish.
- Kung Pao Chicken: The Sichuan classic, done right.
- Braised Beef Flank: Hard to believe but it was our first time ordering this. Won’t be our last as this mild dish of somewhat chewy braised beef with bamboo shoots and carrot was very tasty.
- Double Cooked Chinese Bacon: The boys are very happy whenever we order this and the adults were well pleased with it too.
- Piao Xiang Chilli Fish Fillet: We started ordering this relatively recently. It was very good again.
- Ma Po Tofu: Another classic, done perfectly.
- Fish Flavour Eggplant: Our favourite of their “fish flavour” dishes. Again, for those who have not had these, these dishes don’t actually involve fish in any way: the eggplant here is cooked in a way often used for fish.
- Szechuan Green Beans: Along with the dan dan noodles, one of the constants at every Grand Szechuan meal for us.
As you can probably tell, we really enjoyed this meal. Grand Szechuan remains the most reliable restaurant in the metro for our family. For a menu as large as theirs that’s saying a lot. For a look at the food and the menu, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much all this cost and to see what’s coming next.
All of this came to exactly $190 with tax and tip. We generated copious leftovers and I’d estimate this would have fed 10 hungry adults with ease. So $19/head. Crazy value for the quality. If you haven’t been there (in a while) you should really fix that.
Ok, what’s next? Hopefully, the cancelled Homi outing. There’s a chance though that we might do that the following weekend which looks like it’s going to be more conducive to outdoor dining. If so this week will still take us to St. Paul for a pickup but maybe barbecue instead. Let’s see how it goes.
I think you can consider yourself an expert on this place now.
Here I will try and stay close to topic and put in a recommendation for my new favorite cookbook: The Food of Sichuan, by Fuchsia Dunlop. I have been working my way through it with great excitement. Love this book.
Yes, her earlier Sichuan book, Land of Plenty has been a mainstay in our kitchen for a long time.