Restaurants

To make my list of restaurant reviews less unwieldy and more potentially useful I’ve divided them up into separate pages by region and broken each page out by general cuisine. Hovering on “Restaurants” in the navigation menu above will show you the drop-down list but you can also get to them directly from here:

Los Angeles and Environs
Minnesota
India
Elsewhere in North America
England
Hong Kong

3 thoughts on “Restaurants

  1. Thanks for your terrific writing and enjoyable opinionating!

    Indian: I generally agree with your assessments of Barwachi, but I still enjoyed my meal there more than any other Indian meal I’ve tried in the Twin Cities since Udupi on NE Central up near I694 closed. I haven’t tried Gorkha Palace or Copper Pot. Have you?

    Dim Sum: I think some things are not good at Mandarin Kitchen, as you do, but I’ve been twice recently and twice in the distant past before they changed owners. The distant past Mandarin Kitchen (from the 1990s) was a far better restauraunt. That’s not really much use to those of us who are constrained to live in the present. Lately, I’ve enjoyed their dumplings that contain chives or other greens, but most of their offerings have not been good. I’ll give Yangtze a go. Peking Garden used to have a Dim Sum service, as did My Lai up on Rice Street and Mai Village on University in St. Paul.

    In my opinion, Hmong Village on Johnson is worth the extra 10 minutes in the car each way. 5-10x more food vendors.

    I totally agree with you re:Sea Change and Alma.

    Satay 2 Go: I only order Satay, Roti and Curry Puffs (I can’t remember their name, but the pastry with chicken curry in the middle). I think the people running the place are wonderful, and those 3 dishes that I order regularly are very good, but everything else I’ve ordered there has been not bad, but not great.

    On’s Thai: I look forward to trying some of your recommendations. Mango Salad and the two pork dishes. I remember a dish with pork neckmeat/neckbones that I recall being extremely well flavored and cooked but having an unusual gritty texture in the sauce. Even though it’s less than 2 miles from home, I don’t get here often enough because my family prefers the standard oversweet thai on offer at most other restaurants.

    Some you haven’t reviewed that you might like:

    Meritage for the oysters and drinks.
    Sonora Grill for the coconut rice, the pork guajillo sandwiches, and the eggplant fries. Skip ceviche in the winter.
    Maya Cuisine on Central for tacos or tamales. They make the tortillas from scratch, by hand, every day. They are the only guys in town that make a tender, not rubbery, tamale.
    iPho by Saigon for Banh Mi.
    Pho Cado for Pho.

    Tea House at U of MN for many dishes, I’ll try Grand Szechuan, but if you haven’t been to U of MN Teahouse, you gotta try it. They are doing house-made noodles, some wide ones in a lamb broth with good spices/herbs and somewhat overcooked lamb chunks.

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  2. Thanks for the compliments and comments (and recommendations).

    I actually did like Bawarchi quite a bit—if we lived in the cities I’d eat there at least once a month; but I didn’t like it enough for a two hour round-trip. Copper Pot I’ve not heard good things about even from friends who’re usually less picky than me and so I’ve avoided them. And as for Gorkha Palace, as I’ve noted before, Nepali food falls into a bit of an uncanny valley for me—similar to food I know very well without being exactly it—and I have a tough time evaluating it fairly on its own merits (I have similar problems with some Trinidadian food). But we’ll probably end up there at some point (and probably at Marla’s Kitchen too for Trinidadian).

    Yeah, do go to Grand Szechuan—I think they are the best Sichuan option by far (taking both breadth of the menu and execution into account). Haven’t been to U of M Teahouse but we did go to their St. Paul outpost once when we first moved to MN and after landing on Little Szechuan (in its heyday, prior to the Grand Szechuan schism) were never moved to go back. Will give the U of M branch a shot though. And we’ll definitely try Hmong Village, but probably in the spring or summer.

    And in fairness I should probably give Mandarin Kitchen another shot—our experience, however, was really so bad that it will be a hard-sell for my wife. Let me know what you think of Yangtze when you go.

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  3. Tried Grand Szechuan for lunch yesterday with an old friend that works in deep southern suburbs so it was a good halfway point, me coming from NE and him coming from Burnsville. I tried the spicy dumplings and the sliced noodles with minced pork. The dumplings were very good. Nice and tender/toothsome wrappers. The spice level could have been a little higher and, to my taste, dumplings are always better when filled with a mixture of meat and greens. The noodles were great at the start but as they got cold they got tough.

    To be clear, I was NOT recommending that you try Mandarin Kitchen again. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll go back any time soon. I think local unavailability of a food can enhance travel. Like eschewing imported strawberries out-of-season makes the in-season berries just that much more enjoyable.

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