It has been almost three months since we last got food from Grand Szechuan, a situation that suggests dangerous negligence. But don’t alert the authorities: I went back this past Saturday and picked up a large order to eat with some of the friends we’ve been eating with throughout the pandemic. We have not yet eaten in anywhere and we haven’t yet had anyone but our pod friends inside the house. Both these things will change soon. Well, we might aim for outdoor eating at a restaurant before we take the plunge to go indoors. And it is quite likely that Grand Szechuan won’t be our first dine-in experience. This because they too are being cautious and are not yet open for dine-in. On Saturday I was told that they’ll almost certainly be opened back up for normal service in July and possibly as early as the end of June. Let’s see how it goes.
For now, if the orders waiting to be picked up when I arrived on Saturday are any indication, they are continuing to do a brisk takeout business. And what did we take out? A number of old favourite dishes—a few of which we get very often and a few we haven’t gotten in a while.
- Pork belly with garlic. This has been one of our favourites of Chef Luo’s dishes since the heyday of Little Szechuan and we really should get it more often.
- Beef tongue in chilli sauce. This dish of thinly sliced tongue in a spicy dressing was also as excellent as it always is.
- Szechuan cold bean jelly. This tangy cold dish of thick noodles of bean jelly in a piquant dressing was on point as well.
- Dan Dan noodles x 2. For the kids, one order mildly spiced and one regular. Enjoyed by the target demographic.
- West Lake Ground Beef Soup. It’s been a while since we’ve ordered this soup at Grand Szechuan and I really have no idea why. It was great—a lovely mix of textures in mild but flavourful soup base.
- Chinese bacon with lotus roots. This was specifically requested by the older boy. The kids ate most of the pork belly out of this; I quite enjoyed the sweet-tangy lotus root left over.
- Shredded pork with Peking sauce. I think we might have gotten this for the first time last year. Like the soup, not a Sichuan dish per se, but this sweet-sour preparation of shredded pork goes well with the spicier fare.
- Fish fillet and bean jelly in spicy sauce. This may be our very favourite fish dish at Grand Szechuan and it was just perfect on this occasion. Despite the livid red colour it was not unmanageably hot.
- Spicy beef short ribs. We couldn’t remember if we have ever gotten this before here. But we’ll certainly get it again. A nice hit of Sichuan peppercorn on this.
- Tofu with salted egg yolk. This is not on the menu but if you like tofu I really urge you again to ask for this. The medium firm texture of the tofu is a perfect match for the creamy, mild sauce.
- Green beans. A given at every meal we eat at/from Grand Szechuan.
For a look at all of this launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it cost and to see what might be coming next.
All of this came to $172 or so with tip. It was enough food for at least 10 hungry adults, probably more like 12. But even at $17.20/head this is a crazy deal. Well. as much as we’ve enjoyed getting pandemic takeout from Grand Szechuan in the last year and a quarter I’m hoping my next report on their food will be of an in-person meal.
Next up, however, will be another pandemic takeout report. We haven’t decided on the location yet but we’ll probably get Thai food from one of our University Ave. favourites. There’s nothing better than hot/spicy food in the kind of hot weather we’ve been having and will continue to have for another week.