JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar originally opened in 2017, bringing owner Jessie Wong’s modern take on traditional Szechuan cuisine to the North Loop. Then disaster struck: Last October, a sprinkler system malfunction flooded the restaurant, causing extensive damage and forcing JUN to close for nearly a year.
But after renovations and a menu reboot, JUN is back in business. Here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect when the restaurant reopens this Sunday, September 15 at 4 p.m.
1. The new menu is more streamlined
Executive chef Kyle Dahl explains that JUN’s original incarnation took a traditional Chinese restaurant approach to the menu, with dozens of dishes. “The goal of the new menu was to chisel it down and make it more concise,” he says. “We wanted to make it both approachable and authentic.”
2. But the bold flavors the restaurant is known for are still there
“Szechuan cuisine is known for its deep and complex flavor profile,” Dahl continues. “There are 23 principal flavors—dishes don’t hit a single note. They’re a symphony hitting all the senses, and captivating you with every bite.”
This translates to dishes like the San Jiao beef, with meltingly tender pieces of stir-fried steak mingling with jalapenos, Thai chiles, and peanuts. The Chong Qing spicy chicken had a hard-to-pin-down snappiness that kept us going back for another bite, and the dumplings were comfort food with a kick.
3. The noodles are a must
Thanks to housemade pasta, the noodle dishes are a highlight of the menu—especially the beef chow fun, which features extra wide, starch-based noodles. While their bouncy texture makes them a delight on the palate, making them is quite the production. Dahl explains that the multi-step process involves a steam table fitted over a wok, a large piece of fabric, incredible dexterity, and perfect timing.
“You have to have a welder custom-make the steam table,” he says. “No one else in town is doing this.”
4. The cuisine’s bold flavors carry over to the cocktail menu
In case the Szechuan peppercorn honey syrup in the vodka-based Gardens of Szechuan cocktail isn’t enough of a kick for you, it’s garnished with a flower known as a “buzz button.” Give it a few chews and then wait for your mouth to tingle and go numb. The feeling is actually rather enjoyable after the fact—kind of like jumping off a dock into an icy lake.
Other specialty cocktails include the Goji Gin Spritz, made with goji-infused gin, lychee liqueur, lime, and soda; and the Shanghai Sunset, a combination of coconut rum, pineapple, orange, and amaretto.
5. Save room for dessert
Since there isn’t a written dessert menu, we suspect the nightly selection may vary, but we were impressed with the spot-on execution of the sweets we sampled. Chocolate lovers will appreciate the dense, fudge-like brownie, served with a scoop of Sebastian Joe’s Vietnamese coffee ice cream.
We also tried the house-made sesame balls, with a seed-encrusted exterior that yields to a satisfyingly chewy center. They’re accompanied by a honey dipping sauce spiked with chiles—one final note of Szechuan heat to end your evening.
JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar
730 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis