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Far East Chinese Restaurant/ Shakopee

For years, City Pages awarded Nanking one of the best Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis. We went there and my daughters (we're Chinese) cried when the food came.

May 10, 2015
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Do all Thai places in TC have too-sweet food?!?

Another vote for Karta Thai. I classify myself as a Thai food aficionado, definitely not a Thai food expert. I enjoyed On's, but realize that I don't have enough deep expertise to understand many of the dishes on the menu.

Karta Thai, which is across the street from Sen Yai Sen Lek, is the most enjoyable Thai restaurant I've visited. All the simple dishes, particularly the sauces, are just slightly different than the typical Thai fare in TC. Everything tasted far fresher. The service is good, the ambiance is inviting and everyone had a great time.

Karta Thai met all my expectations for a nice meal.

Apr 19, 2015
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Dim Sum in Inver Grove Heights!

After reading the post, my wife and I decided to try out the dim sum. Their website is awkward. The "location and hours" tab list the location, but no hours! When you finally find the list of hours, it only lists Monday through Friday times but indicates that dim sum is available both on weekends and weekdays. Yelp listed their weekend start time at 11 am (yes, I admit to reading YELP), so off we went!

As the YELP posts described, the place is not much to look at. Inside, the ambiance is far from inviting. About half the dining room consists of an unused buffet stacked with boxes to the ceiling. The food is obviously the draw.

Well, the dim sum is very good. We're regulars at Mandarin Kitchen and have eaten at every dim sum restaurant in the Twin Cities. All the dim sums that contain shrimp, which are most of them, are fresher and tighter in consistency. The dumplings are very fresh. Even the egg custard was high quality. One highlight for me is that they ask what kind of tea you like, rather than the tasteless stuff served at most dim sum houses. The bill was a little less, about $17 per person, then other TC locations.

Obviously this is a good place to go just for the food. This place is two and a half years old, so I doubt management is paying a lot of attention to anything else than the quality of the food. BTW, the wait staff confirmed that dim sum is served beginning at 10 am on the weekends.

Best Prime Rib in Twin Cities??

JAX is great, but pricey. The closest great prime rib I've had was at Chester's in Rochester.

Apr 04, 2015
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Afro Deli

Just had my first meal at their Minneapolis location (1939 South 5th Street) near the campus and the food was absolutely wonderful. (I understand they have another location in St. Paul.) She had the lamb gyro and I had the beefsteak with rice.

I'm not a fan of lamb, but this was cooked incredibly soft with virtually no lamb odor. The pita bread was nice and chewy and the cucumber sauce was a perfect topping. My dish came with high quality basmati rice and just enough spice to wake up the taste buds.

The place is painted in bright African colors. Everything is PC, down to the recyclable take home containers. All this is important only if the food is great. It was.

The portions were huge and the two of us ate for ~$20. I'll be back.

Apr 03, 2015
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Grand Szechuan Near Bloomington Mn Cub Foods

"Nattering Nabob of Negativism", we're contemporaries!

Mar 24, 2015
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Andrew Zimmern - Spoon & Stable

So I'm not one of the avant garde foodies in the Twin Cities, but I do enjoy going to nice restaurants. I can't tell what's going on with this thread. There's several mentions that they serve high quality food. The negatives seem that Andrew Zimmern has an ownership position and someone doesn't like the font on the menu? Is that the problem?

If the food is good, then he shouldn't be able to recommend it because he has a piece of the action? I can probably get past that...

Mar 22, 2015
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul
1

ten top MSP breakfasts

Maria's Cafe on Franklin with their amazing sweet corn pancakes. Mmmmh...

Jul 12, 2014
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cheap Dining / Dinner Deals Around Town?

I haven't been to all of them, but I've lived off Lake Nokomis for 20 years and have been to quite a few. Most of them substitute quantity for quality.

For both quality and quantity, a shout out to Rinata. Great, bordering spectacular, food for a nominal sum - if you do the Date Night special.

Apr 29, 2014
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul
1

Grand Szechuan Plymouth is toast

+1. I give Szechuan Spice the nod for pure authenticity, but they're both excellent.

Mar 09, 2014
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Sushi and Large Group

I haven't been to Masu on Hennepin, but the store at the Mall of American is to be avoided at all cost. My wife and I stopped by while shopping and the sushi is bad enough to make you angry. How can they serve sushi with semi-raw rice? The miso soup was basically water with MSG in a cube. Etc, etc.

Origami and Fuji-Ya continues to be my favorite. Both are great places for omikase.

Mar 08, 2014
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Pollo Campero

I spent some time in Guatemala three decades ago and greatly enjoyed Pollo Compero then. So when PC appeared on this site, I was off like a flash. And it's still great. I love the ripe plantains, I love the beans, I love the rice and the chicken is sooo much better than KFC.

Since then, my wife and all her friends only go there for chicken. We live in Minneapolis and driving there this Winter has been tough, but good food can be inspirational.

I hope they thrive and open many more stores here.

Mar 08, 2014
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Going to be in Minneapolis for our 2nd Wedding Anniversary. Restaurant recs?

Just had another amazing meal at Alma. We received good service, but I can understand that it's not necessarily a locale for romantic dining. I love Alma, because it's just about the food. It's not snobby, it's not pretentious, it doesn't have 30 entrees, it's just a place to always have a superior meal.

need a MSP Pho update

I used to swear by Pho 79, because their broth was easily heads and shoulders above the rest. Recently, the broth has dropped in quality but increased in salt. Now, it's Pho Tau Bay for me.

I also support PTB because they spend more time keeping their restaurant clean. Quang is the worst in terms of hygiene. I feel like even my shoes need booties.

Mar 08, 2014
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nominate: Best Pizza in Minneapolis-StPaul (if you say Dominos, you are banned from chowhound 4 good)

I don't get all this weird toppings. There is plain pizza, which should have more than enough flavor to eat on its own. Then there's eating toppings, which has nothing to do with the pizza.

Jan 18, 2014
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who has best scones in Twins Cities

I was going to nominate Colossal Cafe, which has great blueberry scones. Reading amishangst's post suggest that they probably fall in the category of "American monstrosities". These are sweet, but not at all dense.

Not being European, however, I'm not offended. I would agree, though, that they are not conducive to jam or cream.

May 25, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Fried Rice in the Cities?

Can't say that ANY restaurant in the Twin Cities has good fried rice. Best is probably the salted fish version at Mandarin Kitchen.

I'd stay away from ordering fried rice at Vietnamese restaurants - just asking for pale imitations. Just like I wouldn't order lemon grass dishes in Chinese ones.

May 25, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Curry and noodles Hopkins

Just had the buffet lunch there on Friday. Won't be going again. Nothing memorable at all.

May 25, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Chinese wedding rehearsal dinner

Mandarin Kitchen has fixed price banquets, 10 - 12 dishes, for 10 people per table. You can book a private room with 3 tables and it would certainly be authentic.

Mar 31, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

What's the best Korean restaurant?

I finally tried Dong Yang and agree that the food is very good. Maybe the best in the Twin Cities. However, I feel compelled to mention a few quirks.

My wife and I showed up around 7:15 pm to order. The store is open until 8 pm, but they stop serving at 7:30 pm. We got the food around 7:25 pm, but they started rushing us out at 7:43 pm. The old lady picked up the main dishes and poured them into styrofoam containers.

Now, I understand running a restaurant is tough and people want to get home. But why not stop serving earlier or tell people they have to get done before 8 pm?

One more thing. When the old lady poured our entree into the styrofoam container, she used her hands to push the food! Not good. If I go back, my wife won't be coming with me.

Mar 23, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Truly Extraordinary Lo Mein

The shrimp lo mein at Fresh Wok is cheap and very tasty. The other meats are not nearly as good.

Mar 19, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Authentic Chinese?

By far and away, Szechuan Spice is the most authentic Chinese restaurant in the Twin Cities. Unfortunately most people order the standard take out Cantonese dishes, egg rolls, sweet and sour chicken, etc.

For an authentic dining experience, start with their 3 item sampler. Choose the Ma La Tendon, Shredded Pork Stomach and Bon Bon Chicken to achieve deep insight into Szechuan cuisine. Their Dan Dan Noodles are the best in the Twin Cities. And that's before you get to their excellent entrees...

Mar 19, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Eating places: South Minneapolis vs. Como Park/Roseville

I've lived on Lake Nokomis for close to 20 years now. One neighborhood stand by that has never failed us is Prima on Lyndale & 52nd. Al Vente is also good, but a little more expensive. Next in line is Cafe Levain. Colossal is always fun if you go early. Cafe Ena has good food but I'm still in mourning since the same owners closed down El Meson!

Feb 03, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Lunar New Year

Does anyone know if any of our local restaurants are planning a Lunar New Year menu?

Feb 03, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

International food experiences in Mpls

If your friend wants to experience international cuisine, try Mercado Central on the corner of Lake and Cedar. It's like Hmong Village for Mexican, Ecuadorian, Salvadorean and Guatemalan restaurants. Lots of places to pick and choose from, with a central location to dine, just like Global Market.

Jan 05, 2013
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP: New Restaurant(?) - Grand Szechuan in Bloomington

The wife and I went to Grand Szechuan and Szechuan Spice on consecutive weekends for dinner. Both had good food, but Szechuan Spice was clearly the better choice. Oddly enough, SS does not enjoy nearly the amount of business that GS has. I wouldn't hesitate to go back to either one in the future, but favor SS over GS by a nose.

I find it interesting that good Szechuan restaurants greatly outnumber Cantonese places here.

Dec 08, 2012
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP-Tian Jin-Must Try in western Suburbs (Mandarin/Szechuan)

I'd rank Szechuan Spice #1 and Little Szechuan #2. Pretty good, but definitely not as good as Szechuan Spice.

Dec 05, 2012
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

University Ave. reminder

The wife and I stopped by Que Nha Friday night after seeing the recommendation by Andrew Zimmern in the December Mpls St Paul magazine. In general, I'm highly skeptical of these lists, but his recommendations agreed complete with mine for the restaurants I know.

Best Pizza: Punch
Best Pho: Pho 79
Best Sushi: Fuji Ya
Best Pastry: Salty Tart

and he nominated Que Nha as the best Vietnamese. So off we go to the land of Light Rail construction on a cold November evening.

To make a long story short, I'd agree that this was the best Vietnamese I've had in a long time. I'm a long time habitue of Eat Street, but the cooking here was significantly better.

We had an absolutely excellent papaya salad. To be honest, I've never had papaya salad before - but this was absolutely scrumptious. We also had their steam rice pot with seafood, bamboo and Chinese sausage - essentially a clay pot meal. Also absolutely delicious. The pho, with abalone and sea cucumber, was okay - not spectacular (as AZ indicated in his recommendation), but how often do you eat abalone and sea cucumber? Yes, of course it's canned.

I'd definitely go again and try out their other dishes. Only two issues: they should turn up the heat and use less MSG. But definitely would go again.

Dec 01, 2012
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Pho - Dish of the Month Minneapolis-St. Paul (Oct 2012)

Is the Pho 79 on Nicollet and 25th owned by the same people that run Pho 79 in Energy Park? The one on Nicollet still has, in my opinion, the best broth.

I don't go to Quang any more. The place is so dirty that it's even starting to bother me.

Oct 14, 2012
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul

El Mason-closed!

What a shame! It's one of my favorite places for authentic, unpretentious dining. I just loved the paellas. Tried Cafe Ena twice and it just doesn't do it for me.

Oct 14, 2012
discus in Minneapolis-St. Paul