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chinese--in and around the twin cities


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#46 mongo_jones

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 07:23 PM

excellent lunch at little szechwan yesterday with slbunge and one of our colleagues who used to regularly make up the 4th in our party but hadn't been with us for a few months.

we got:

pig ear shreds in chilli oil
fried lotus root

fish fillet with tofu in a spicy sauce with chinese cabbage
cumin lamb
chendu style head-on shrimp in chilli oil (from the chinese new year menu, which is indeed a permanent fixture now)
whole croaker with tofu, chinese cabbage and vegetables (ditto)

the pig ear shreds were not my favourite, but everything else was very good indeed. i look forward to exploring more of the special menu. we were also here with some other friends a couple of weeks ago, and on that occasion got the "bracken pork" from the new year's menu: pork shreds cooked with fiddleheads. it was pretty good. nothing else we got on that occasion was particularly noteworthy (partly because we ordered conservatively to cater to our companions' palates--no offal, nothing too hot).

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current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

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#47 SLBunge

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 05:03 PM

I didn't like the pig's ear. The texture was unappealing to me.

The lamb was very good. I think the croaker was really good but it was subtle and I should have tried that before I tucked into the spicy fish/tofu dish.
Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.

#48 SLBunge

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 02:01 AM

I have colleagues in town this week and we went out to Little Szechuan for dinner.

Dan dan noodles and bamboo tips to start. Beef in spicy szechuan sauce, Kung Pao chicken, and fish with tofu in spicy sauce were the three entrees. Lots of heat, particularly with the fish, which was good for the visitors.

The Kung Pao chicken was particularly good tonight. They nailed the sauce.

I have about 5 lbs of leftovers in my refrigerator. I need to remember that not everyone eats like an English professor from a small town in central Minnesota.

Note that the dishes that seemed to be fixtures back in March have disappeared. They had a special of croaker in spicy bean sauce one of my companions really wanted the tofu in the fish/tofu dish.
Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.

#49 mongo_jones

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 03:26 AM

QUOTE(SLBunge @ Jul 20 2009, 09:01 PM) View Post
I have about 5 lbs of leftovers in my refrigerator. I need to remember that not everyone eats like an English professor from a small town in central Minnesota.


hey! that's southern minnesota!

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#50 mongo_jones

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 02:06 PM

QUOTE(SLBunge @ Jul 20 2009, 09:01 PM) View Post
Note that the dishes that seemed to be fixtures back in March have disappeared.


we had a terrible lunch here on sunday. we made a late call as usual to go up to the cities for lunch and arrived at little szechwan at 2 pm. they actually had a fair number of people still there and trickling in throughout our meal. our waiter was an enthusiastic young man who we've never seen before, and despite his enthusiasm things did not get off to a good start with him. when i asked him why they'd got rid of the special menu which was supposed to be a fixture he denied that they'd ever had one and insisted that we must mean the weekday lunch special menu. then he asked us when we last ate at the restaurant (june) and said he'd only started in july so he didn't know anything about that menu. then he tried to steer us away from almost every single thing we ordered: our favourite pork slices with mashed garlic starter ("too fatty"), the crispy-spicy chicken ("too crispy and spicy"), the fish-tofu dish ("too too spicy"); only the sauteed green beans met with no resistance. but things got worse as the food came out.

the pork slices looked wrong. there was barely any chili oil in evidence and the taste was overwhelmingly sweet (as opposed to hot-smoky-sweet). we pointed this out to him, and he insisted that was how it was supposed to be made. we pointed out that we'd eaten it a number of times before and never encountered this version. he looked dubious and then said it was a different chef than before and he did it this way. nonetheless, he took it back and it came back a little later having received a chili oil bath. then he told us that some customers like it sweet and so we should always tell the waiter we want it spicy. we've never had to do that before, we said, and he looked dubious again. then the tofu-fish arrived, and while there was the requisite layer of chili flakes on top the sauce was watery and insipid. the chicken barely had any sichuan peppercorn in it. the green beans were okay.

i don't know what the problem was: perhaps it is a new chef* (though i don't trust a word the waiter said), perhaps he signalled to the kitchen that they should tone everything down for us, perhaps it was a late-afternoon sunday thing (though, again, they had a fair bit of custom)--i'm not sure, but it was our worst meal there by a wide margin; to the extent of making me not enthusiastic to go back soon.

*there was only one familiar face in the whole place (the hostess).

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#51 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 02:35 PM

QUOTE
the crispy-spicy chicken ("too crispy and spicy")


that is a pretty great reason

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#52 SLBunge

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 04:49 PM

QUOTE(mongo_jones @ Aug 18 2009, 09:06 AM) View Post
we had a terrible lunch here on sunday.

Wow. If this new chef (or whoever) fucks up this place, I'm going to be very disappointed.
Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.

#53 kuan

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 01:55 AM

QUOTE(kuan @ Dec 31 2008, 08:33 PM) View Post
A new place just opened up near my house. T'Lavender. The menu is a mix of Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Most of the standards are there like Pho, Hong Kong style noodles, Vietnamese pancake, Tom Yum soup, etc.

Althought I don't know the address, it's right next to Fat Nats which is:

3540 Winnetka Ave N
New Hope, MN 55427

I haven't been dissappointed yet and I've been there three times already. Prices are suburban spendy, which means everything is about a buck more than it would be on eat street.


Well that lasted about 8.5 months. Place is gone.

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#54 mongo_jones

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:50 PM

QUOTE(SLBunge @ Aug 18 2009, 11:49 AM) View Post
QUOTE(mongo_jones @ Aug 18 2009, 09:06 AM) View Post
we had a terrible lunch here on sunday.

Wow. If this new chef (or whoever) fucks up this place, I'm going to be very disappointed.


you'll be glad to know that our meal here (once again with the parents) a week ago, saturday, was a return to form. they do seem to have all new weekend daytime front of house staff. i didn't see on either trip the unfeasibly thin woman who used to lurk in the office by the kitchen entrance, and who i think was the owner. i have no idea what is happening in the kitchen itself, but whoever was in there that day did a good job.

we got some new stuff: ma la chicken and a spicy shrimp dish from the daily specials menu, and the multi-flavoured chicken from the starter section. this last has moved to the head of our starter list--hacked up on the bone with skin and coated in a sesame-peanutty sauce with a nice kick. the ma la chicken was also excellent and would be great accompaniment to beer and football. crispy deep-fried chicken (with skin) with tons of red peppers and a decent sichuan peppercorn kick. we also got the standby tofu-fish thingy, which did not disappoint this time around, and the string-beans.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#55 mongo_jones

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 07:21 PM

QUOTE(SLBunge @ Aug 18 2009, 11:49 AM) View Post
QUOTE(mongo_jones @ Aug 18 2009, 09:06 AM) View Post
we had a terrible lunch here on sunday.

Wow. If this new chef (or whoever) fucks up this place, I'm going to be very disappointed.


so, our friend who often made up our little szechuan four-top tells us of a rumour she's heard (she has a chinese immigration attorney, whose secondary service seems to be passing on restaurant tips) that the former chef of little szechwan has opened a new place in bloomington named grand szechuan. this would explain the wholesale staff makeover and spotty quality on our last couple of visits.

this new place must be investigated.

eta: old news on chowhound, of course.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#56 SLBunge

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 08:40 PM

Reading the Chowhound stuff makes me feel so out of touch.

Definitely worth investigating.

Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.

#57 mongo_jones

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 12:16 AM

after being thwarted by big daddy's yesterday i stopped by little szechwan to pick up lunch. they have a fancy new menu. or rather they have a fancy new menu book. most of what's on it remains the same, but there is some new stuff. of that i got the croaker in spicy bean sauce (two small whole croakers in a piquant bean sauce; very good) and the ground (minced really) chicken with pickled peppers (quite good). the ma po tofu was also better than we've had there in the past, and the pork slices with mashed garlic was decent. perhaps they're hitting their stride again with the new chef? that said the food on this occasion and also at our last meal was significantly oilier than it has been in the past.

we still haven't been to grand szechwan (our colleague who is our frequent chinese dining companion has and was not particularly impressed).

today we took my mother to dim sum again at jun bo. they've done away with the cart service (as of this week, they said). probably not a coincidence that everything was significantly fresher and tastier--especially the sticky rice, the fried whole shrimp and the steamed beef tripe. we did have to wait 10-15 minutes for the first food to arrive, which is the only downside when you're a great greedy guts like me.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#58 mongo_jones

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 05:04 PM

slbunge and the joneses ate at grand szechuan in bloomington yesterday. this is the place that the original kitchen staff of grand szechuan in st. paul left to start last year. a very nice space--much grander than i was expecting. we got the couple's beef (thinly sliced beef and tripe), dan dan noodles, kung pao chicken, pork with bracken (fiddleheads i think), and the fish fillet with tofu in spicy broth. everything was good, though i would say nothing was great. if this is the same chef still who was the original at little szechuan, then the kitchen can certainly hit great. the good news is there was nothing that even remotely approached bad.

there's certainly not much basis for rating this above or below little szechuan which seems to have regained its feet with new staff in the last few months. i'm just thrilled the area can support two good szechuan restaurants--there was a pretty decent crowd for lunch (and we only got there 1.15'ish, which is probably on the late side for the midwest).

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#59 mongo_jones

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:45 PM

an excellent late lunch at little szechwan this saturday. just the two of us (the brat's new single nap schedule rules out the possibility of eating in the cities with anyone unwilling to eat lunch at 2) but we ordered enough for 6 and brought the rest home. we tried the red revolution fish, which appeared on the specials section after the change of regime. it is the best thing i've ever eaten there and one of the best sichuan dishes i've eaten anywhere. everything else (couple's beef, cold bean jelly, cumin lamb, homestyle tofu) was very good as well.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#60 mongo_jones

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:10 PM

2.5 years later i can report that little szechwan on university has gone into the toilet seemingly for good--our last few meals there have been actively mediocre and others report bad outings as well. grand szechwan meanwhile has become consistently very good--the special dishes from their chinese new year menu in february were great, and may still be available (they were more than a month later). but this is not why i am reviving this thread.

 

i am doing so because it has recently come to my attention that there are quite a few other sichuan places that have opened in the cities in recent years (along with branches of grand and little szechwan). has anyone been to these other places?


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson