Tea House, Minneapolis
We took advantage of my niece's visit to take in the new Tea House in Minneapolis. The interior is very luxurious - screened off booths in pale blue/neutral silks, carved doors to shield off a medium-sized private room, marble inlaid tables, etc. From the decor, it wasn't certain whether the food will have shifted from the good, well-prepared but essentially non-fussy food we've enjoyed at Tea House in both Woodbury and Plymouth.
The surprise was a pleasant one: most of the old favorites were there: soup dumplings - we opted for the pork over the crab, dan-dan noodles, Scallion pancake (the chef is from Shanghai, so many things are called "Shanghai" regardless of whether or not the dish comes from "Shen" or not), etc. The spicy eggplant is now sliced in longer, thinner slices which retains more of the taste of the vegetable, and is less of a sauce vehicle. My DH dug the kung pao tofu which I found a bit dry for my taste. The honey shrimp were very fat and luscious, with a mixture of two kinds of sweet sauces. The breading was a bit thick and the stacked presentation, while lovely, made it difficult to take them easily without a tumbling tower moment. They were unfortunately out of the pea tops - but the lightly charred green beans were excellent - crisp and spicy. Some of the specialty items that we've enjoyed like sea cucumber are not (yet) available at the Mpls location. It should be said that the restaurant is a work in progress and the menu is still evolving. No more separate Chinese and English menus - there is just one.
Tea is one area where the Tea House would like to evolve: currently just jasmine and green tea are on offer (three pots come with each order - after that, there is a separate charge). The manager said he hopes to expand those offerings as well, in keeping with the name of the restaurant.
2425 SE University Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414