I recently noticed that a decent (but not more) Sichuan restaurant in Roseville had a section on their website menu that was designated “West Coast Szechuan Cuisine”. What the fuck?, I thought at first, Sichuan is not on the coast and the western part is even further away from the ocean than the eastern part. Then I looked more closely at that section of the menu and, whaddaya know, most of the dishes listed seemed to be things on the menu at ye olde Szechuan Impression and Chengdu Taste. Aha!, I reasoned, they might have nabbed a chef from one of those fine institutions and are bringing new wave Sichuan food from the west coast of the US to Minnesota. Accordingly, I got a group together and we set off for the restaurant.
Alas, reality was deflating. Those dishes are in fact available–though the menu at the restaurant (and now on the website as well) no longer mentions “West Coast Szechuan Cuisine”; though there was a takeout menu at the restaurant that still has that section–but they are pale shadows of the versions in the SGV. I’m not sure what happened here. This was apparently part of a revamping that happened in late fall last year. Did they briefly in fact have a chef from California who was making these dishes? Did he get the fuck out of town when he got a load of the winter? Is that why the menu seems to be morphing again while no one in the kitchen seems capable of making proper versions of these dishes? I cannot offer you answers to these questions, but if your curiosity is morbid enough I can give you a glimpse of our meal.