The Opening Soon sign had been out for so long that I started to wonder whether the new Little Szechuan in St. Louis Park’s West End shopping complex would ever open. I even checked the Little Szechuan website regularly for clues. Then finally, last week, we happened to drive by, and amazingly, the restaurant was open. It’s a gorgeous restaurant, with a sophisticated decor that integrates classical Chinese themes into a very contemporary decor.
The original Little Szechuan opened a few years ago in St. Paul, with a terrific chef, Luo Guanghe, (formerly of the Tea House, according to Andrew Zimmern) and became a mecca for authentic hot-and-spicy Szechuan cuisine. Luo, to paraphrase H.H. Munro, was a great chef, as chefs go, and as chefs go, he went, to the Grand Szechuan in Bloomington, which now offers up some of the best and most authentic Szechuan cuisine in the Twin CIties.
So the big question mark for me, when I dined there last week, was, woud the new Little Szechuan recapture some of the greatness of the original, back in its glory days? And that’s what I still wonder. We only tried a few dishes, with mixed results – quick-fried cucumber ($6.50), the salt and pepper shrimp, and the fish fillets with pickled vegetables (both around $13.95, if I remember correctly.) The spicy cucumber appetizer was first-rate – crunchy and spicy and savory; and the shrimp were terrific; but the fish dish fell flat – not as good as the lively and flavorful as the version served at Szechuan Spice.
But three dishes isn’t nearly enough to judge by, so I hope to return soon and try some more dishes – if you get there before I do, please drop me a note and let me know how you liked it.
5377 West 16th Street, St. Louis Park, MN 55416 (952) 322-7671.