Peninsula, Again (Minneapolis)

I recently re-reviewed Homi two years after my first report. Next week I’ll have a return visit to a Thai restaurant in St. Paul that I first reviewed last year. In between those here is a second review of a restaurant in Minneapolis that I first reviewed four years ago. Peninsula remains the pre-eminent Malaysian restaurant in the Twin Cities metro area—though it must be admitted that that is not saying very much. Of the two other Malaysian places we’ve been to here, one is just about passable (Satay 2 Go in Apple Valley) and our meal at the other was atrocious (Singapore in south Minneapolis, now closed). As far as I know, there are no others; please correct me below if this is incorrect. Anyway, Peninsula, I am glad to report, remains pretty consistently what they were four and even ten years ago and if you navigate their menu carefully it is very possible to eat a good meal.  Continue reading

Singapore (Minneapolis)

Singapore: Exterior
This is the story of a crushing disappointment.

We love Malaysian food, and since in the US there are not that many opportunities to eat it we take each one we get. In the Twin Cities metro area our options, as we knew them, were Peninsula, where pretty decent iterations of some iconic dishes can be found, and Satay 2 Go, which is a bit spottier but still plausible. Thus I was very intrigued when there was mention on Chowhound earlier this year of a place called Singapore re-opening in south Minneapolis. Conversation about it indicated that it had been well-respected when it was previously open but details were hard to come by. Then a few weeks ago someone else posted, noting that they had just been, that it was the same ownership/chef as previous and that it was still good. We resolved to go and this past weekend we did. And it was very, very, very, very, very bad; possibly worse.

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Satay 2 Go (Apple Valley, Minnesota)

Satay 2 Go: Roti Canai

In my review of Peninsula a couple of months ago I noted that I didn’t know if there were any other Malaysian restaurants in the Twin Cities. This review does not answer that question for Satay 2 Go is in Apple Valley, 20 minutes or so south of the Cities. And a more unlikely location for a Malaysian restaurant you’d be hard-pressed to find. Not only are they in Apple Valley, a soulless suburb served mostly by an endless parade of chain restaurants, but they’re located at the far end of the parking lot of a Home Depot, next to a T-Mobile store. Eat Street this is not, and nor should you expect any of the relative glitz of Peninsula should you venture to eat here.

And should you venture to eat here? That’s a tricky question to answer. But I’ll give it a shot. Continue reading

Peninsula (Minneapolis)

Peninsula is the premier Malaysian restaurant in the Twin Cities. I’m not sure, actually, if there even is another worth the name—if so, no one’s ever mentioned it to me. Unsurprisingly, its menu serves a sort of South East Asian greatest hits, much of which is not terribly inspiring (lots of very sweet takes on Thai dishes, for example). Some of their Malay dishes, however, can be quite good, and it’s possible to eat quite well there if you pick your way carefully around the menu. Over the last seven years we’ve done just that and through our extended trial and error I offer you the following recommendations of most of the dishes that we like best there. What follows is a report on two meals eaten a month or so apart (first in late August, and then last weekend). Continue reading