Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 2:57 p.m.
The problem with strip malls is that they all look the same - which might also be what makes them so appealing. It's impossible to judge the book by the familiar cover, so you've got to go inside where there might be a food find or a dinner disaster. Inside one particular strip in Bloomington, there is a wealth of delicious riches.
Grand Szechuan has lots of Chinese-American fare for those who love their moo shu as well as a bunch of authentic Szechuan dishes. Herein lies the the ruby-hued pile of delicious, chili oil-doused goodness. There are any number of delicious dishes for those who like their flavors bold and burny. The Chengdu dumplings are packed with highly seasoned ground meat and arrive nestled in a just-spicy-enough sauce. It only looks nuclear. In fact the dish is wonderfully balanced, savory with hints of garlic, a burst of toasty sesame and salty black beans with that sweet, hot oil. Best of all, they're only $5.