MSP - Dim Sum at Pagoda
Heads' up for all the dim sum lovers -- Pagoda in Dinkytown started it today. According to their info, they offer 90 items and it's the cart service kind. We were in for dinner last night and they were "perfecting" some of the items -- we had a couple samples that were very good. If the dim sum is anything like the rest of their food, it should be outstanding.
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A friend and I ate there yesterday. I'm a UofM student and we were just planning on ordering off the menu but they more or less convinced us to try the DimSum. We showed up sort of late, around 1:30-1:45. There were only about 3 tables not ordering off the menu. They price things into 3 or 4 categories, starting at about 3 and going up to about 7 per plate. Ended up spending quite a bit more than we anticipated and certainly more than we would have spent otherwise.
Maybe it was because we came late, but I wasn't really impressed. They had 3 or 4 carts going around, and a lot of food on each cart, so much of what we got seemed not fresh. There was a lot of seafood options that were reasonable though.We also had no idea what were going to be charged until the check came, no prices on any of the table settings.
I'm a huge fan of Pagoda's food, and I probably will not go with the Dim Sum again, unless I am in a large group that really wants to try it out. For a few people, it would be ok, since most of the portions were appropriate for 3 people.
We went there this morning after deciding that Dim Sum was a good idea and seeing this post. Glad we did. First time at Pagoda and really liked the look and service was very friendly. We tried the shrimp, pork and the shark fin dumplings, all tasty and fresh. Tried the short ribs (tasty, but mostly bone), chicken and sticky rice (meh, ok), beef stomach (tasty and spicy) and had the bbq pork bun. It was pretty much all good. Will check it out again for sure. Nice to have a dim sum option close to home.
went on saturday 25th around 11 am. the place was packed for dim sum. i thought it was excellent, considering it was their first day. much better than mandarin kitchen. tea was good and $1/person. our table sampled:
chicken feet (steamed)
chicken feet (fried)
chive, pork, and shrimp dumplings (steamed)
tofu skins (fried, stuffed with cabbage, pork and greens)
some small bivalves (cockles? black bean sauce)
watercress greens (plain, lightly steamed)
pumpkin cakes (panfried)
bbq duck (cold)
i think i may be forgetting something
desserts: gelled mango pudding, gelled coconut pudding
my top faves were the tofu skins and the fried chicken feet. the cockles were also excellent & i liked the mango pudding dessert v much as well. was too full to sample the coconut pudding, however!
the dim sum at pagoda is different in that there is an open kitchen area with a la carte ordering, as well as the carts (ny style).
everything off of the carts was very fresh and good for us. the steamed dumplings were tasty and artistically put together.
service was good, friendly, and swift. pricing seemed to run at around $3.50-$5 per item, several categories/price levels. staff was a little slow on the clearing end of things--we soon had quite the tower of steamer baskets teetering in the center of the table--but it was their first day of dim sum, they were busy, and this is small potatoes.
at last, good dim sum without having to schlep out to the burbs. i'll be a repeat customer.
re: The Dairy Queen
Maybe I ate at the wrong Tea House! Investigating three Twin City Sichuan places recently, I gobbled down at the Plymouth Tea House. They told me their St. Paul branch on Suburban Avenue serves dim sum daily from 11:00 am. A call to the St. Paul branch confirmed as much. I am not sure though when they started doing this....I can only hope it is not frozen wares and that they have both the turnover and demand for the good stuff.
My wife and I just tried Pagoda for Sunday dim sum. As a Mandarin Kitchen regular, here's my take on the traditional dim sum dishes. Note that my MK opinions are formed from going there 8 - 10 times a year vs this first time at Pagoda.
TRIPE - This dish that could make or break dim sum for me. Toss up between MK and Pagoda. The Pagoda version was more tender, not tough, but lacked MK's flavor - lots of white pepper. Toss up.
SMALL RIBS - Different flavor, but also good. Toss up.
SQUID - The Pagoda version was mushy and in some sort of a starchy source. It's also bland. Score for MK.
SHRIMP DUMPLING - The quintessential dim sum dish. The Pagoda version was definitely better. The rice flour peel was thin and slippery. The shrimp stuffing had more flavor.
SPRING ROLL - This dish was cold, so obviously not freshly prepared. The MK spring roll has exceptionally crispy skin and not overstuffed like some egg roll. Score for MK.
TURNIP CAKE - Mushy, more flour than turnip. This may be the only time I didn't finish turnip cakes. Score for MK.
TARO - My wife loves taro. But when the wait staff offered to warm it, we declined. Obviously not freshly prepared. Big score for MK.
CHICKEN FEET - Different, but good. Toss up.
EGG TART - These were about quarter size with orange color filling - something I expect from a chop suey joint.
Dinkytown eateries usually offer good deals for passable food. Pagoda is passable. The bill for two (including tip) came to $41 for the two of us. Same amount of food at MK would run around $35. I'd put MK and Yangtze before Pagoda.