Top 5 Twin Cities Dishes, July-September 2018

It’s October and therefore it is time for my list of top 5 dishes eaten in the Twin Cities metro in the third quarter of the year. The ground rules for this series of posts are a) that the dishes have to be ones that are either regularly available at the restaurants or still available at the time of the post; and b) that only dish will be listed per restaurant. Rule 1 prevents me from listing our favourite dishes from our dinner at Tenant in early September—their menu turns over every six weeks. And Rule 2 prevents me from listing three dishes from our recent lunch at Thai Cafe. The observant Twin Cities reader will notice that there are four restaurants in this list that are not just located in St. Paul but are located along one street in St. Paul. University Ave. in St. Paul is, in my opinion, the greatest food street in the area—I may have a separate post this month extolling its virtues. But to be fair, we just happened to not eat very much in Minneapolis in the last few months. Minneapolis may be better for high-end food but the food we crave most is more recent immigrant food, especially from Asia, and St. Paul is, on the whole, far superior to Minneapolis for those cuisines. 

[See here for the Q1 list and here for the Q2 list.]

In reverse chronological order of eating, the dishes are:

  • Sour pork ribs at Thai Cafe. We ate these and many other tasty things at lunch this past Saturday. The full review will be up in a few weeks but I want to stress again what I’d noted in my first review of Thai Cafe last year, and what everyone who has eaten these ribs already knows: this is one of the tastiest restaurant dishes in the Twin Cities.
  • Tamales en hoja de platano at Homi. We’ve eaten at Homi on a number of occasions but only got around to their tamales in banana leaves on our recent visit. Stuffed with spicy pork, these were the highlight of this meal for me. Here is the full write-up.
  • Beef sour soup at Kolap. Kolap may play second fiddle to Cheng Heng in the local Cambodian scene (which may be restricted to these two places) but is very good in its own right. The famous dish here is their Siam Reap Sour Fish Soup but we all enjoyed this beef sour soup even more.
  • Southern bo kho at Ngon Bistro. Our dinner at Ngon Bistro in August was a bit uneven but this gussied up take on the Vietnamese classic was excellent. As I said in my review, I’d return to eat this alone.
  • Chicken rendang at Peninsula. This is another dish from a meal not yet written up on the blog (next week!). If you’ve eaten rendang in Malaysia or Singapore (or Australia or London, for that matter) you won’t be so excited but this is rather great for the Twin Cities, especially when you consider how much of the rest of the menu hedges for stereotypical midwestern palates. Pro-tip: order some of the “pancake”/roti from the roti canai as a side to eat it with. And check out my review of Peninsula from some years ago.

Here are the pictures.

The next edition of this list will doubtless have Minneapolis restaurants on it as well. I have a review of Peninsula coming soon and a review of Martina should follow that one not too long after. I’m also hoping to get to Hyacinth in St. Paul soon, but that probably won’t be till November.

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