Joshua Page, food writer at Heavy Table, became fascinated with food as a young latchkey cook in Southern California. He developed a passion for eating out while working in “the industry” in college and procrastinating (and accruing debt) as a graduate student. Now a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, Joshua also loves to write — when it’s not about crime, law, and punishment, his musings are about Twin Cities eateries. And so he writes about the “terrifying” “Red Revolution” from Little Szechuan:
In the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve, we sought out some of the scariest treats our fine environs have to offer. Our quest was anything but systematic — we went by rumor, legend, and masochistic curiosity. We risked heartburn, heart attack, and hangover to concoct a list of treats worthy of the name: Heavy Table’s Terrifically Terrifying Three.
Red Revolution Fish at Little Szechuan (West End)
Little Szechuan‘s Red Revolution Fish ($15) is radical. According to its four-pepper designation (out of a possible four) and our server’s assurances, this is the spiciest item on the restaurant’s menu — which is saying something because heat is a central characteristic of Szechuan cuisine. With its deep, blood red hue, the mass of chili peppers floating on a layer of chili oil, and the bobbing barrier of peppercorns that promises a disorienting tingle for the uninitiated, everything about this dish screams, “STOP!” But you shouldn’t.
The bark is worse than the bite here, since you fish the tender pieces of flounder out of the broth and eat them over rice. The broth penetrates the fish, making it spicy, but not inedible, and the numbing effect of the peppercorns makes the heat less intense. To get the full effect of the concoction, though, we sipped on a small bowl of broth. The delicious firewater made our heads sweat, noses run, and stomachs burn. Both trick and treat, Red Revolution is an ideal Halloween dish.