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MSP Weekend Dim Sum?

You all gave great suggestions on my first post, I just had to come back for more advice!

I am in search of good dim sum in or near the MSP area. Carts are preferrable, but not a deal breaker. And please. Do not say Jun Bo...

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  1. Best dim sum in town is always Mandarin Kitchen on Lyndale and 85th. It opens around 10 am on weekends. Enormous place, but you'll wait unless you arrive by 11:30 am. Carts, trays and special orders.

    2 Replies
    1. re: discus

      Thanks! I'll have to check that place out soon. Would you recommend any dishes over others?

      1. re: discus

        I haven't been as thrilled as I once was with Mandarin Kitchen. They changed owners a year or two ago and changed the menu and I haven't been for Dim Sum since the change.

        Has the dim sum improved, suffered or remained the same since the change in ownership?

        It's a 30 minute drive (in good traffic) for me to get to Mandarin Kitchen so I've been eating Chinese elsewhere most of the last two years.

      2. I haven't been to Pagoda (Dinkytown) for dim sum, but they added it a few months ago and I heard it was good (there is a thread on here, I think?). If the quality is anything like their standard offerings, it's probably outstanding.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MSPD

          i felt pagoda was definitely executed better than Jun Bo but not busy enough - they were nice about making us fresh stuff but there was a lot of plated food not sitting in carts and not staying warm - im not sure if it was an off day, but maybe going as soon as they open would make a big difference.

        2. Teahouse in St. Paul (1676 Suburban Avenue) also offers dim sum on the weekends but I've not tried it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scoopG

            I think the quality of food at Jun Bo is reflected in the effort they put into upkeep on their building.

          2. I think I may be alone here, but I enjoy Mai Village.
            Margi

            2 Replies
            1. re: Haricotsv2

              Margi,

              You're not alone. I liked the Dim Sum service at Mai Village a year ago--the last time I had it.

              1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                So...a trip to Yangstze and Pagoda seem to be in order!
                I luvluv dim sum, and as a newbie to the area, immediately went on the prowl. I've only hit up Mai Village, though...and it was good (look for fresh on the cart, as there are a few sitters)
                Unfortunately, I felt it was a bit expensive.

            2. We love Mandarin Kitchen, and also Yangtze in St Louis Park

              2 Replies
              1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                Thanks for the tip on Yangtze! Do you know how prices compare between the 2 restaurants?

                1. re: frogger8

                  MK and Yangtze seemed comparable- I want to say 4 of us got out of there for between 25-30$ per couple. It was several months ago, though.

              2. i really liked pagoda when i went (better than mandarin or jun bo). i never had dim sum at tea house, although i was a regular there when i lived closer. it probably is very good there, if it's like the rest of their food.

                3 Replies
                1. re: soupkitten

                  I recently discovered Teahouse and have been trying to eat my way through the menu. Most of what I've tried has been delicious! Now, I'll have to add the dim sum menu to the list!

                  1. re: frogger8

                    Note: dim sum at Teahouse is not cart style. Basically, you order off their starters menu (or whatever they call it) - not to say it isn't good because it is. I just don't want anyone to get the impression that it is something it's not. On the plus side, everything is freshly cooked-- not sitting around!

                    I've just realized that this was true as of a year ago, it's possible things have changed but I kinda doubt it.

                    1. re: turtlebella

                      Over the last 6 months I have been to Jun Bo and Mandarin Kitchen twice and pagoda once. I will definitely be going back to Pagoda. I heard that Mandarin Kitchen used to be the standard but for my taste pagoda wins hands down. A huge factor with Dim Sum is getting many choices that are served hot. This has been a big problem at Jun Bo...less so at Mandarin Kitchen. I had a great experience with this aspect at Pagoda so maybe I was just lucky.

                2. Had dim sum at both Pagoda and Yangtze over the weekend and hands-down Yangtze is the better of the two IMO. Stopped in at Pagoda on game day before Air Force. Is it really college football without dim sum? Service was great and the food was not bad. It would prove to be far better and healthier than anything found in the TCF Bank Stadium - boy the U really missed a chance to upgrade stadium food!

                  On Sunday tried Yangtze and felt overall their dim sum was fresher and tastier. I felt the offerings at Yangtze were more extensive, even though Pagoda says they have 90 dim sum items.

                  One minor quibble: at both Pagoda and Yangtze they automatically add a 15% tip to the bill - I think they do this because you have many different servers bringing out the dishes and/or pushing the carts and they want to make sure folks tip. While at Pagoda they told us about this 15% added tip and one could see it on the bill, this was not the case at Yangzte. They tallied the bill from the dim sum sheet they place at your table, add 15% and then present you with a credit card bill which also has a blank line to add the tip. I asked if they had already added the 15% and they said yes. I could see some folks though who might not be aware adding another 15% on top of what they have already "tipped."

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: scoopG

                    Thanks for the reviews scoopG! I recently was able to make it out to Yangtze and although they seem to have a decent selection, I was disappointed in the inconsistent temperature of the food. Some dishes would be hot and some lukewarm. I even had the same piece of food be of perfect temperature one bite but cold the next. I really can't compare Yangtze to anything other than Jun Bo (never again!), but I'll keep updating as I eat my way through the dim sum of MSP.

                    You also make an excellent point about the tipping system. I was unaware that tip was already included and our group would have double tipped had it not been for a nice lady next to us in the check out line. I had never seen this before at dim sum restaurant for a small group of 4. I wonder if this is something standard here?

                    1. re: frogger8

                      While I would agree frogger8 about the food temp, that is not really an issue with me (hot or cold) as I'd rather not have anything over-steamed. And compared to Jun Bo, Yangtze is simply heavenly.

                  2. So I'll probably be up early in the morning and craving dim sum. I guess that means I'm off to Pagoda in the morning. I'll let you all know how it goes. I just looked at the menu and am pretty excited. I was hoping Teahouse 2 opened earlier than 11:30 on Sunday. Boo.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: stepawayfromthetable

                      Oh, now I'm craving dim sum, too! I, too, wish Tea House opened earlier! Jun Bo used to stay open super late and open pretty early, but their dim sum is only okay (although, the good news is, late at night, they make stuff to order, so it's always hot and fresh at that time) and I think they've tweaked their hours so that they are no longer as "extended" as they were when they first opened. Pagoda's pretty good. Have fun!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        As an FYI about Jun Bo, they've changed their dim sum service somewhat. While they still have carts going around, there are a lot of dishes that you now order from a sheet of paper - not really a menu, since you mark how many you want of each dish. I assume that they were having a hard time with making sure they had fresh food.

                        I was there on New Years Day. Perfectly fine, but not knock-your-socks-off. For the most part, the food seemed fresh, not as if it had sat around. We go there on 1/1 because it suits the group I'm with. Interestingly, the place seemed busier than it has on prior New Years Days.

                        As for the restaurant itself, it seems to this eye at least, that the place is showing a bit more wear and tear than it has in the past.

                    2. Pagoda: 10:40AM Sunday
                      Walked into Pagoda for the first time and was one of two tables. It's Winter Break, but it was surprising. Now I understand order-off-the-menu-in-Minnesota-dim-sum. But despite no one there, we definately got some fresh and tasty tasty dim sum. It was about 3.25 for small plates, $4 for large. We got tea...Jasmine is only 50cent/person...the darker and green teas are $1.00. I asked for sirichai sauce and mustard...the mustard is not good.

                      Off the first cart Shu Mai, not the best but very good, Huo Ga? shrimp delight, big shrimp, slippery skin, Tofu Skin Wrap, succulent and bursting with flavor, chicken sticky rice (big plate). I asked for ribs since I was in the mood...they were meaty, not so many black beans and not spicy, but definitely delicious. The meat came on a different cart that also had tripes and beautiful pork on it. A fried cart came buy with spring rolls and dessert, custard cups and mango pudding. I didn't see any cha sa bao buns so I asked and he said the steamed ones were still cooking, so for the last bite of wonderful, we ordered the beautiful ones baked showcased in the glass. They are $5 for two--sweet bread with bbq pork inside. delightful. Tea steeped perfectly.
                      Great experience, will go again. Chinese New Year falls on Valentines Day...!

                      Oh and when we were trying to do math, the person ringing us up told us tip was already included. I had forgotten that chow clue so it was nice they pointed it out.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: stepawayfromthetable

                        I'm glad you enjoyed your experience. And, yes, it was nice of them to point out the thing with the tip.

                        I'm guessing the shrimp dumpling you liked was har gow, which is one of my favorites. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Har_gow

                        ~TDQ

                      2. I was able to make it to Pagoda before the Vikings/Cowboys game on Sunday for dim sum. Even though there were empty seats, it was much busier than I thought it would be considering there was football starting soon. Service was excellent. Carts kept continuously coming by our table, and waiters seemed to be able to judge whether or not to stop and ask if we wanted more. The atmosphere was relaxed. At Yangtze I felt slightly rushed to get in and out of the restaurant and had to flag down some ladies with carts once in a while.

                        I would agree with ScoopG that I saw more variety at Yangtze than Pagoda on the carts, but it could be that they only keep the most commonly asked things rotating on them. Everything I asked for that I didn't see being pushed around was brought out to the table fresh from the kitchen. I saw a few siu mai, har gao, and other dumplings that had dry wrappings, but the waiter was very good about digging down lower into the stack for the fresh ones. I really appreciated that. The steamed char siu baos could of had more filling in them and I thought the steamed ribs with black bean sauce weren't that good. Too oily, not enough black beans, and the ribs came kind of all congealed together. The chicken feet, turnip cake, tripe, shrimp, and most everything else I had was pretty good. Plus, everything was piping hot. All in all a good experience. I think the service played a large role in that. Usually service at Chinese restaurants is terrible :)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: frogger8

                          Yangtze or Mandarin Kitchen? Where should i go on Sunday?

                          -----
                          Mandarin Kitchen
                          8766 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                          1. re: kriminalrat

                            I ended up going to Yangtze. Overall I was impressed. It seems to be on the level of Pagoda and Mandarin Kitchen. I too was dissapointed at some offerings being cold and even came across oversteamed/split dumplings. I wouldn't claim them a hands down winner over Pagoda but very good and worth a visit.

                            -----
                            Mandarin Kitchen
                            8766 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                            1. re: kriminalrat

                              I would say Yangzte is a hands down winner over Pagoda - with many more offerings than Pagoda as well.