The numbing, the burning, the bliss! St. Paul's Asian-restaurant superstar Little Szechuan improbably unites high style, including Milan-modern fixtures and a decent wine list, with profound Chengdu-style cooking authenticity. The must-order dishes on the authentic black Szechuan menu are legion (please skip the green, sweet-and-sour, gringo-oriented menu.) You must get the dan-dan noodles--long, chewy wheat noodles dressed with a handful of pork crumbles, scallions, and spicy red chili oil. You must try something loaded with black dried chili peppers, perhaps the fried cucumbers, which taste like a cucumber dew, a cucumber perfume on a cool wind, with the chili peppers trumpeting their subtle perk. Hot enough for you? The cumin lamb is an herbal soother, a vibrant meeting of cilantro, paper-thin sliced lamb, and meadow notes of cool. Kung-pao chicken is the best in town, made rich with loads of pan-darkened roast peanuts. Some vegetable--pea tips? Gai lan?--will also do wonders to damp down the heat. Now move on to the big boys: saucy ma po tofu and a blood-red cauldron of Szechuan pepper, ginger, and anise packed beef and tofu--each bite reveals flavors as complex as a rain forest, as painful as a great massage.
Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, Mon-Thu 4:30pm-9pm, Fri 4:30pm-10pm, Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun 11:30am-9pm
Delivery, Reservations Accepted, Takeout