Mpls Dining woos
I have been very disappointed with three restaurants with Asian fare. The first is Temple - which replaced Tiburon. My boyfriend and I were shocked at the prices! $16 for a spring roll. "A" spring roll! Usually it costs $5 and you get two. Not at this place. Just one spring roll cut in half, and the roll wasn't even stuffed. Such a disappointment. Also got the Sea Bass that cost $26 - it came with 4 green beans and 2 dumplings. I don't know who I am upset with, the restaurant menu or me for choosing to go there.
Then I went to Azia - I should have learned my lesson since the owner of Azia is the owner of Temple. It took 10 minutes for someone to serve me in the bar during happy hour. The bar was not that busy and there were 4 servers just gabbing away at the bartender. I finally had to go over and ask the bartender to send me a server. The rest of the experience was disappointing with overfried cranberry wontons, but the martinis were awesome.
Last - Wasabi Fushion. I know it is new and it needs to get some kinks out. But the service is below average, though the sushi chefs are great. Something is weird with the sushi rice though - it doesn't stick well, so when you get nigiri or a roll, each piece tends to fall apart. I have hopes that Wasabi will do better as the months progress - but for now, be warned.
Am I the only one feeling this way?
When you say "Mpls" do you really mean Minneapolis city proper or do you mean Twin Cities? My favorite "Asian" restaurant in the Twin Cities right now is Little Szechuan on University Ave in St. Paul. But there are plenty of others. Are you just looking for ideas literally in Minneapolis?
i haven't had good experiences at azia either. probably won't go back. many people seem to like it though and it's popular for bar hopping. i agree with TDQ that little szechuan is really good-- also like other faves in st paul like sakura (sushi) and tanpopo (japanese homestyle/noodles).
The places you mention are more about the "scene" than the food. If you want great Asian food DQ had it right -- head to St. Paul. LS is fabulous, but I also like Grand Shanghai alot. Steamed pork bao are wonderful, shrimp w/tomato ginger sauce are fab -- many great choices. The Vietnamese sandwiches at Saigon Cafe are great. Many interesting places on University Avenue. (Krua Thai is pretty good.)
I odn't think Twin Cities yet has a place with a cool scene, great cocktails and first rate Asian food. I've been to places like that in NY, but not here.
For the prices at Temple, you can go sit at the bar at the Chamber's Kitchen, have the scene, have great cocktails, and have TWO Asian-inspired appetizers.
What about Rainbow on Nicollet? I haven't been there for a few years but their menu seems exciting, especially the Chinese New Years special meals, and there is a nice ambiance in the restaurant.
You'll probably have better luck getting "a scene" at sushi places - Nami specifically and I think Martini Blu has a pretty popular happy hour. Tum Rup Thai is also an acceptable Thai choice, although I'd probably go for True Thai if I didn't care about the ambiance.
I've never actually eaten at Azia but we got sushi at Anemone once and the service was so horrible we refuse to go back.
I really like Azia, yet I will concede that their servers are hit-or-miss. I think their dishes are unique and flavorful, and the atmosphere is fun. Their cranberry puffs are utterly crave-able (to me, at least), the orange beef tenderloin satay is fantastic, as are the Malaysian chicken skewers. I also really love their crab cakes and spicy lettuce wraps.
I cannot disagree with those who sing the praises of Little Szechuan. I will drive through rush hour traffic to go there for dinner. Their Couples Beef "had me at hello," to quote the movie Jerry Maguire.
I think 20.21 has consistently good service, which I know is important to you MNLawGirl, plus really good food and fetching ambiance.