When Szechuan Bistro opened last summer, owners Xium (Sophia) Zheng and chef Yuanren Zhen decided to populate the menu with thoughtful and inspired dishes that pursue a depth of flavor and textural contrasts.
There are two menus at the restaurant: one Chinese and one American. Little red marks on the menu indicate the hot dishes, so beware … or order one if you dare! The authenticity is clear, as the 85-seat bistro gets busy at lunch daily.
At Szechuan, its ambitious chef dabbles with regional Chinese cuisine and brings a real taste of China into Oklahoma.
bistro offers soft noodles, thin rice noodles, soups, fried seafood
platters, sizzling platters and clay pot cooking ($8.95-$11.95). Prices
range from $1.35 for an egg roll to a whole snapper at $19.95.
fresh and crispy snapper was the highlight of our lunch. The chef
cooked the firm-fleshed white fish just until it lost its opacity. It
was presented on an oval platter — complete with the head, eyeballs
intact — then topped with a simple, orange- and pink-hued sweet-and-sour
sauce. It was garnished with sliced bell peppers, green onions and
of dishes began with minced chicken in a lettuce wrap ($7.50), followed
by a highly unusual beef dish with Sriracha hot chile sauce ($8.50). The
thinly sliced strips of beef weren’t overpowering, although they
certainly picked up some heat along the way.
up, we opted for some gorgeous Szechuan-style jumbo shrimp (eight for
$10.95). It came with vegetables that included baby corn, broccoli,
water chestnuts, carrots, asparagus and green onions.
We ended with bowls of tapioca cooked in coconut milk, which are complimentary to every diner.
Above all, the staff and setting make everyone feel right at home, and there’s certainly a little something for everyone.
Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects
and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service
Photo by Shannon Cornman