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Aug 9, 2007 01:05 PM

[MSP] Mandarin Kitchen

I've always been a huge fan of Mandarin Kitchen, and I finally had my first
post-remodeling visit yesterday. While the new interior is very nice, I wasn't
as impressed with the food as I usually am.

We actually went to have the buffet (something we pretty much never do),
but the buffet is gone. The lunchtime crowds have vanished as well- there
were only two other customers when we walked in at 11:45am.

The salt-and-pepper squid was just OK, not as tender and flavorful as usual.
We were hoping for either drunken clams, clams in XO sauce, or those monster
oysters with ginger and scallions. But they didn't have any clams or oysters available.

I'll have to try again in a couple of weeks. It was probably just an off moment
for them. Has anyone else noticed a decrease in deliciousness at MK?

To cheer ourselves up, we went to the Tea House for lunch today.
Everything was awesome- whole tilapia in spicy pork sauce; boiled lamb
in spicy sauce with cabbage and sprouts; cold conch and cucumber app;
and Chung King shrimp. Mmmm.

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  1. Curiosity question: how long have they been open since the remodeling? Days? Weeks?

    1 Reply
    1. re: KTFoley

      I'm not certain how long they've been open. A friend of mine thinks it's
      been about three weeks.

      That raises an interesting question- do restaurants that remodel and reopen
      need the standard "new restaurant grace period" to get back on their feet?

      I don't know if the kitchen staff is the same, but the front of house folks
      were definitely the same.

    2. My wife and I eat at MK pretty frequently, both for latenight dinners and for dim sum on weekends. We are both discouraged by the 'new' place. I despise eating on plastic tablecloths, and the price increases are more than a little wild. We nearly always order a small lobster with salt and hot pepper, which has usually run about $15, now it's $22.

      The late night crowds are gone, but the dim sum crowds are still going strong.

      Personally, the old place had more charm because it was all about the food there. Now, it feels uncomfortable because the atmosphere is stiff and quiet. I wish them no ill will and hope they'll get rid of the plastic table cloths and loosen up a bit. Their new private rooms require a $600 minimum order to use.

      And to the point of the original post, YES, I think the food quality is suffering.

      1. I think its been about 3 weeks.They now have a koi pond in one corner and a visible "oven" with various meat hanging in it (along with a lobster tank) when you go in now.The tables for two are WAY too big,you'll be lucky to grasp your partners hand across the middle!

        And the prices went up considerably-the only thing under 10 bucks at night is the Vietnamese soups,and they are only served after 9 PM.

        I miss the lunch buffet too-it was a Bloomington bargain!

        1. We went to the new format a week ago for Dim Sum. Rather disappointed as well. Eating on a stack of plastic sheets was odd -- especially consider the considerable price hike and new brocade wallpaper. We were seated at the small room and the cart-pushing ladies seemed to ignore us all the time. The owner told us she would fetch some dishes for us but never did. Alas, gone a favorite of us of long time.
          What is the better choices in town now?

          1. We went to MK for the first time about a month ago, didn't realize at the time it was probably only a few days after reopening but we were suspicious considering the bar was about 1/2 complete.

            We had some not very adventurous people in our group so I was forced to order for the masses. Dishes I would expect to be somewhat consistent style from city to city like Kung Pow, Garlic Chicken, etc. were somewhat odd flavors at MK. Is MK only good at the more adventurous dishes?