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Jan 1, 2007 09:17 PM

Twin Cities: Do you Love or Hate or Just Yawn about BIG BOWL

Big Bowl is the pan asian chain with assorted chinese, thai, Indian

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  1. One vote for yawn. I have been there several times for work lunches. It is not terrible, but I think there are many better Asian options at better prices.

    1. I love the pot stickers and panang curry chicken. There aren't a lot of decent asian places in the northern burbs, and frankly, when in a pinch, BB in Rosedale is much quicker and easier to get to than any of the places in Mpls or St. Paul. Besides, I'd much rather do Big Bowl than PF Changs.

      1. I am not familiar enough with the suburbs to know where the good restaurants are, so when I find myself in Roseville, Edina or Minnetonka at lunch time I usually opt for Big Bowl. I usually order the Kung Pao Chicken, which is so-so. My husband has ordered a variety of spicy curry and stir-fry dishes, which he only rates as so-so.

        One more vote for yawn. It's not a *bad* restaurant, it's just nothing I crave.

        1. You could do a search for this board and substitute "cheesecake factory" for "big bowl" (and vice versa) and everything would still be pretty darned accurate.

          P.S. Within spitting distance of each Big Bowl restaurant is some very good asian food. Roseville - China Jen. Edina - Mandarin Kitchen. Minnetonka - Oragami West.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Danny

            I'm not sure how you figure that Mandarin Kitchen is anywhere near the Big Bowl - Edina and Bloomington are miles apart. In traffic it could be a half hour drive each way.

            Near the BB in Edina is Red Pepper - a Chinese place on 66th at Xerxes (I just love that Minneapolis has a Xerxes street!). I'm sure some of the dishes are better than some of the dishes at BB, but some probably aren't.

            Also note that there is now a Patrick's Bakery in Edina for a quick and tasty bite - in the same shopping center as Red Pepper.

            1. re: Loren3

              I'm not a geography expert, but I'd guess that Mandarin Kitchen is about 5 miles from Big Bowl at the Galleria

              1. re: ChefD

                I looked it up on google maps - 4.7 miles (9 minutes)

                Here's the map:

                I don't see how it would ever take 30 minutes. (I think you could walk and still do it in less than 30 minutes.) But, if you want Chinese that is closer, Jun Bo is only 4.2 miles - and has dim sum all day every day. (


                P.S. That Patrick's is in Richfield, and is the original location - not any sort of expansion. (The newer locations are Wayzata and in Bachman's on Lyndale)

                1. re: Danny

                  Point noted, but even at 15 minutes each way (S. France and 494 traffic can get pretty bad on weekends), that's rather a long way to go and a lot of gas to spend to grab a quick Asian bite if you're already at the Galleria or Southdale. Same goes for Jun Bo, or First Wok, or Ketsana, or Kimson, or Sawatdee, all in the Bloomington area. This goes back to the perennial issue of answering the question at hand, which I took in this case to imply that there may be nearby alternatives to BB. Many people in the twins are convinced that Mandarin Kitchen may be the best Chinese in town, but again, it's not in S. Edina, which is where BB is. That's why, although not as good as Mandarin, I recommended Red Pepper as an alternative. It's only a couple of blocks from the Galleria BB.

                  And I was laboring under the delusion that Patrick's was an old established bakery in the twins, and that was a new addition. That one hasn't been there for more than a few years.

                  1. re: Loren3

                    FWIW, i think the Big Bowl at Lunds just south of the Galleria is better than the Big Bowl in the Galleria. Maybe its because they do more volume so everything is fresher.

          2. Well, this may compromise any reputation I've established so far, but I have to be honest.

            Most of what I've had there has just been ho-hum - nothing really bad, but nothign that would really draw me back. However, there are a few menu items I really crave from time to time, and which have even made BB a destination (you know, instead of a place to settle for when you are starving at the mall). Specifically their dumplings, potstickers (the non-vegetarian ones), and ginger ale (or the gin gin cocktail if you want to have a little more fun) just thrill me. I also had a very good teriyaki salmon entree last time I was there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: diesel

              I admit it: I crave their spicy stringbean appetizer from time to time.
              This is like AA: very cleansing. The first step is admitting you have a problem. My higher power is Satay2Go.

              1. re: AliceS

                If you find yourself in the Warehouse District, try the Szechuan green bean appetizer at the Monte Carlo. I'm not kidding - they're great!