Pandemic Takeout 71: Grand Szechuan (Bloomington, MN)


As I said last week, it’s been a dangerously long time since our last meal from Grand Szechuan. And so rather than compound that danger we picked up a big order from them this past Saturday. For a change we didn’t have a large crew of people joining us for pandemic takeout: it was just the four of us eating. However, those who know us well will not be surprised to hear that we ordered exactly the same amount of food for the four of us as we would have if there had been 8-10 of us. It’s the right thing to do. You get to eat a proper range of dishes and then you get leftovers that mean a few more days of deliciousness. Here’s how it went.

I got to Grand Szechuan at around 12.30 on Saturday. Given the fact that they’ve now been open to in-person dining for a while, and that most of Minnesota seems to behaving as though the pandemic is behind us, I expected to see them quite full. However, this was not the case. I think there were only six or seven tables seated at what would normally have been prime lunch time (and not seated as far away from each other as I would have also expected). I’m not sure if this was an aberration but I do hope they are still doing good, compensatory business via takeout. The food remains as excellent as ever.

What did we get?

  • Szechuan wontons. Never optimal via takeout but still very good and we can’t go too many meals without getting them. These we finish at the meal itself as they don’t do well in the fridge.
  • Pork belly with mashed garlic. One of our favourites since Chef Luo’s days at Little Szechuan, this was just great.
  • Bamboo shoots in chilli oil. Also very good and a nice textural contrast to the pork belly.
  • Dan dan noodles. This were eaten by the boys and they were very pleased.
  • Vegetable and tofu soup. The simplest soup on their menu but always works very well with a lot of bold flavours elsewhere on the table.
  • Kung pao chicken. Their version is excellent and is now one of the boys’ favourite dishes there as well.
  • Sweet and sour pork ribs. Though they did also greatly enjoy these ribs as did we.
  • Cumin lamb. I’d meant to order the Chengdu grilled lamb and brain farted my way to this lesser dish. But we enjoyed it anyway. (It also goes very well reheated and eaten the next day with dal and rice.)
  • Fish with chopped dry pepper. This is one of our very favourite fish dishes there and we hadn’t gotten it in a while. Also excellent with a combination of heat and sourness and a nice mix of textures.
  • Mapo tofu. The classic; always great.
  • Szechuan green beans. One of the few vegetable dishes of any kind that both boys can be relied on to devour.

For the visual evidence, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it all cost and to see what might be coming next.

This came to $143 before tip. That may seem like a lot for a family of four but keep in mind that we’re still enjoying the leftovers 3 days later. This was enough food for at least eight adults. Which would bring the real per head cost after tip to something like $21.50. In other words, screaming good value as always.

If you haven’t been or gotten takeout from them in a while, please consider supporting them. They remain, in our views, not only the best Sichuan restaurant in Minnesota but the best Chinese restaurant, hands down. And they are probably our family’s absolute favourite restaurant of any genre. It would be hard for us to imagine the Twin Cities dining scene without them—and once you’ve explored their menu a little I’d bet the same would be true for you.

Okay, what’s next? I’m not sure. It’ll depend on how soon we emerge from turkey-induced coma. Maybe more North Indian exploration? Let’s see.

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