HOME > Chowhound > Minneapolis-St. Paul >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice
TELL US

Mandarin Kitchen Dim Sum: LOUSY

m
MarkG Nov 27, 2010 10:32 AM

and trust me, I am not a picky eater. totally unimpressive. a lot of the stuff was mushy or just very mediocre. A waste of time and money.

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

  1. m
    MarkG Jan 14, 2011 11:54 AM

    I was back at MK for dim sum Jan 9th. It improved from lousy to run of the mill fair/average/edible compared to my original visit and post right after Thanksgiving. It remains a ?? as to whether they use frozen dim sum or have an actual dim sum chef

    1 Reply
    1. re: MarkG
      d
      discus May 22, 2011 10:53 AM

      So I've asked exactly what was wrong and nothing specific was ever mentioned. Some of what I've read here may be a matter of perspective. Perhaps that's why opinions differ.

      Mandarin Kitchen opens at 10 am on Saturdays, Sundays and Monday holidays. Large Asian families show up about 10 minutes before opening and wait patiently in their minivans for the open. These are mostly immigrant families, people who have very high expectations that the food is fresh and meticulously prepared. Between 10 and 10:10 am, you can sit down anywhere. By 10:15 am, there's a 45 minute wait. The food comes to you in waves of carts and they run out around 12:30 pm. As an immigrant myself, this means that there's never any leftover to be served another day.

      Compared to JunBo, Yangtze, Pagoda and others that have since shut down, the dim sum at MK is always fresh, hot and mostly tasty. If you try all the different dishes, it's clear that they have more than one dim sum chef in the kitchen. The person making turnip cake is different from the one making all the dumplings. Someone else is making all the baked good. It's also an exceptionally good deal given the crowd of people waiting for a table.

      I grew up in New York, met my wife when we both lived in San Francisco and have enjoyed dim sum in Hong Kong. It doesn't make my opinion more important than anyone else, but I have a measure of expertise about this. I've never tasted anything resembling factory made dim sum at Mandarin Kitchen. The fact that they run out after 2 hours also indicates its not frozen stuff.

      Going to have dim sum at 10 am vs 12:30 pm means that there are two distinct dining experiences. I recommend everyone try the 10 am experience. By the way, I have no family, friendly or fiduciary relationship with Mandarin Kitchen.

      Discus

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

      Hong Kong Restaurant
      7828 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

    2. q
      queue4ever Nov 30, 2010 05:08 PM

      Can you tell me where in the metro you've had dim sum?

      5 Replies
      1. re: queue4ever
        j
        JimGrinsfelder Dec 1, 2010 03:18 AM

        I have had dim sum at the now defunct Peking Garden at Washington and Univerity, at Mandarin Kitchen when it was good, at Mai Village on University, at Me Le Hoa (not sure on spelling) in Little Canada and at Jun Bo.

        Nowadays, if pressed, I'd go to Mai Village on University. It was decent last time I was there and it's close to home. If I'm looking for a new place, maybe I'd try the Tom Pham's or new Peking Garden operation near Snelling and University.

        -----
        Jun Bo
        7717 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55423

        Mandarin Kitchen
        8766 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

        Mai Village
        394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

        Peking Garden
        1488 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

        1. re: JimGrinsfelder
          s
          spahkee Dec 1, 2010 12:45 PM

          Can anyone confirm that the new Peking Garden does indeed serve dim sum? When they moved a couple of years back, I was told that they didn't offer dim sum at the new location.

          Give Pagoda Restaurant's dim sum in the University of Minnesota area a try - I've been there twice on Saturdays and have been pleasantly suprised - much better IMO than Mai Village.

          Also, while it's not the Hong Kong style dim sum with carts, I hear that Tea House on University Ave is offering a Shanghai style breakfast on weekends that I'm looking forward to.

          -----
          Mai Village
          394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

          Peking Garden
          1488 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          1. re: spahkee
            scoopG Dec 1, 2010 04:01 PM

            Peking Garden stopped serving dim sum about four years ago, when they moved to their current location on University. Have tried Pagoda and it paled in comparison to Yangtse. Probably ideal though if you are on campus. I've not been to Mai Village and stopped going to Jun Bo a long time ago. Recent trend in dim sum in Hongkong is for freshly made dim sum - a la NO carts! I suspect much of the dim sum in the Twin Cities is frozen, of the pre-packaged kind.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/702957?tag=search_results;results_list
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1252...

            1. re: scoopG
              m
              MarkG Dec 1, 2010 04:46 PM

              the frozen dim sum theory is fascinating and may explain the poor quality and mushiness. dim sum requires specialist chefs and the real stuff isnt cheap for a restaurant owner to provide

        2. re: queue4ever
          m
          MarkG Dec 1, 2010 04:43 PM

          i have had dim sum at yangtze and man kit but not recently. i have had good quality dim sum in NYC .

        3. j
          JimGrinsfelder Nov 29, 2010 03:25 AM

          Sometime in the last 5 years (my memory is bad on the exact date), Mandarin Kitchen seems to have undergone a change of ownership. It hasn't been the same (read nearly as good) since.

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

          3 Replies
          1. re: JimGrinsfelder
            c
            chic11gal Nov 29, 2010 10:47 AM

            Completely agree; Mandarin Kitchen seemed to have much better food a few years ago. Went there twice in a the past couple of months and both times have been disappointed (especially after the 45 minute wait). I'll admit that I tried Thom Pham's new(ish) restaurant downtown a month ago for its dim sum menu and was pleasantly surprised. Probably the best pork bun I've had in MPLS area.

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

            1. re: chic11gal
              d
              discus Nov 30, 2010 02:48 AM

              Which dim sum dish didn't you like? I had dim sum there just three weekends ago and everything tasted pretty good - like they always did. Can't tell from the post which dish is the problem?

              1. re: discus
                m
                MarkG Nov 30, 2010 04:10 PM

                it was all a problem. well below average

          2. s
            steve_in_stpaul Nov 28, 2010 06:58 AM

            So do we have more than one data point here? Every kitchen can have an off day.

            I'll consider writing off MK if a bunch of people over several weeks point out bad visits.

            2 Replies
            1. re: steve_in_stpaul
              m
              MarkG Nov 28, 2010 10:21 AM

              dim sum places dont have off days. it really sucked. i would never go back. it was totally Unenjoyable.

              1. re: MarkG
                m
                MarkG Nov 28, 2010 02:08 PM

                I was just looking for average dim sum. this wasnt even average. I guess when you have a near monopoly on the local dim sum business, the quality plummets

            2. scoopG Nov 27, 2010 06:27 PM

              Great dim sum in the Twin Cities is a problem. The area is too vast (and car dependent) and the Chinese population too thin to support it. Best dim sum today is not cart driven but freshly made. Yangtze in St. Louis Park is your best bet (and it is carts!)

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6465...

              1 Reply
              1. re: scoopG
                i
                isfahani Nov 29, 2010 08:30 PM

                Great Chinese food in the Twin Cities is a problem, now, it seems. I miss the old Mandarin Kitchen. I was going to check out the Yangtze but after looking at their menu online, well... Vegetarian Mock Duck at 12.95? Are they kidding? They're not even NEAR Uptown, what's up with those prices? Oh well.

              2. drew13000 Nov 27, 2010 03:08 PM

                I was there this morning -- 10 a.m. on the dot. Thought it was as amazing as ever. They were running the carts and trays out frequently, so there was a constant supply of fresh dim sum. Nothing mushy or mediocre in what we ordered

                1. q
                  queue4ever Nov 27, 2010 12:50 PM

                  What?! That's not good to hear. Where the heck are we supposed to get dim sum if MK is bad now? Crossing my fingers that you're experience is a fluke...... cause I'm not going to start searching for a new dim sum place.

                  Show Hidden Posts