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New Dim Sum Place

Well, it's new to me anyway. I saw their ad in a Chinese journal and tried out the dim sum this weekend. They're in one of the strip malls in the Ridgedale complex.

The dim sum was mostly good. The chef does a very good job with the dumpling wrapper. It's nice and thin, so you can see the food through it. All the usual shrimp dumpling, pork dumpling, etc. were very tasty. The chicken feet was scrumptious, although the tripe was a little dried out. They also have freshly made soy milk, vs a lot of the packaged soy milk I've tasted recently.

I'm a fan of Mandarin Kitchen dim sum and this as comparable. Frankly, it's a lot better than many of the other dim sum places out there. The Wanderer's food is less spicy, so you taste more of the meat flavor. For those who don't like the crowds at MK, at 10 am on Saturday we were one of three tables. The husband and wife team came from LA and opened this place up in September.

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Wanderer's Garden
13059 Ridgedale Dr, Minnetonka, MN 55305

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  1. Thanks discus! How's the price compared to MK (I haven't been to MK either...) Do the dim sum come out in carts, or do you order off the menu?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ummm

      Tried the dim sum there a few weeks ago, and found the quality to be mixed. (For example, the soup dumplings had obviously been sitting for a while and had dried exteriors, and no soup inside)

      There are carts, but they also put printed menus on the table. We found we needed them as availabilty of a lot of items was spotty. When we asked for things, they were made to order (or someone went to get them for us)

      I certainly wouldn't put it in the top tier of dim sum experiences I've had, but it will work in a pinch!

    2. Thanks for the review. I dined at Wanderer's Garden three years ago and had a mediocre lunch with standard blah, pseudo Chinese dishes.

      I wasn't aware they had new owners - and dim sum! As the above poster asked, is it cart service or place to order? Either way, I'm there.

      6 Replies
      1. re: justalex

        this restaurant used to be owned by the family who owned the nankin, when the nankin closed most of the kitchen staff moved to wg.

        1. re: soupkitten

          Interesting. I used to really like the Nankin, but I guess my tastes have evolved a bit since 1985. Wait a second, now I feel really old. :)

          1. re: justalex

            i worked there. they had some american-chinese dreck but also some very good stuff. some of the cooks were amazingly talented. i don't think the family was good at evolving the menu along with the local tastes. i never ate at wg, i suspect it was the more americanized menu :(

            the nankin did a very good dim sum, way back in the day.

            1. re: soupkitten

              I don't think the dim sum has any relationship to the luncheon buffet. One's made by a chef, the other one ... who knows. The dim sum came to us in a cart and everything was steaming hot.

              Totally agree on the soup dumplings. Note that the soup dumplings are a Shanghainese dish, while dim sum is Cantonese. I like to think that with steady business, the food would turn over more frequently, resulting in higher quality.

              While MK is classic Hong Kong style, noisy, frantic, long lines, etc., WG is a refreshing change of pace. I was able to enjoy a quiet brunch with my wife and could hold a pleasant conversation without having to raise my voice.

              1. re: discus

                While I haven't tried the Dim Sum at Wanderer's outside of having them kindly make me some Bao on a Saturday night, I'd rather eat here than any other Chinese restaurant in the state. Quality of ingredients and friendly service, also, they have kindly worked with me over the years on getting the right level of spicy in my food.

        2. re: justalex

          Ugh! Went there today just to check out the place and the buffet was mediocre, about 2/3 picked over at any given time (the place had maybe 20 customers) and the staff, aside from one waitress were either indifferent or just rude. Even the hot-sour soup was so gelatinous as to be inedible. I have felt ill ever since.
          The manager was so unhelpful and unpleasant that it would be hard for me to imagine ever wanting to set foot in the place again, unless I heard from a reliable Chowhound that the staff, including chef, was different on weekends and the dim sum fresh and superlative. Avoid!

        3. Have they added more veg dishes? We went soon after they started offering dim sum and they had only one veg selection (gai-lan)...

          5 Replies
          1. re: Enso

            Cocunut pudding? Was just there over the weekend, but don't recall there was much vegetarian, but wasn't looking for it either. There was a seaweed salad but it came on a plate with jellyfish salad next to it. The beancurd skin roll might have been all veg, but i'm not certain. I think everything else we tried had pork or seafood or chicken. They did have a list that you could look at as the carts came around (just a xerox copy of the dim sum menu) so you could at least stop and grab that and see what they list. I don't see the dim sum menu on their website.

            But in general it was a pleasant surprise. I would still rank it behind Yangtze's dim sum but it's close enough and good enough that we'll be back.

            1. re: WonderDog

              WonderDog, is it better than Mandarin Kitchen? I haven't tried MK or Yangtze. Just trying to decide which one to try first :)

              1. re: Ummm

                Hopefully others can help, because I still haven't been to Mandarin Kitchen.

                My only advice on Yangtze is don't try to go after 1 (service runs until 2). My only disappointing experience there was when we showed up at 1:15 or so and the carts only came by once and they were pretty empty already.

              2. re: WonderDog

                When we went, there was jellyfish salad on the plate with the seaweed, and we asked if we could get just the seaweed, without the jellyfish. they prepared that for us gladly.

                1. re: WonderDog

                  Isn't that (coconut pudding) really more of a dessert?

                  I meant savory vegetable dishes to round out the meat-and-wrapper-heavy main meal. So seaweed salad (not my favorite) makes 2...

              3. Hubby and I went there for dim sum. Overall I liked it better than the (now closed) Jun Bo which we went to 6 or 7 years ago (so this is my 2nd time going yum cha here in MN!) For reference, I grew up in Hong Kong and Melbourne, so have been to really authentic dim sum places.

                The food is decent, but is kinda pricey as for the two of us it was about $45 including tips (which they included in the bill already).

                The dish I was most disappointed in was the chicken wrapped in tofu skin. The other ingredients in the dish were not what I would have expected (fake crab stick and taro?) The spare ribs with black bean sauce lacked some spice (usually comes with some thinly sliced red chili but they were no where in sight... maybe not to scare the typical Minnesotan off... and I don't even like my food that spicy but found this dish lacked some kicks). The deep fried seafood roll was meh (should have tried the spring roll instead, but I guess they pushed this dish to my non-Chinese husband when I went to the bathroom... not something I'd have ordered), and the coconut pudding tasted more like jello, rather than the spongy kind I like with rich coconut flavors.

                The shrimp dumpling skin was slightly too thick (plus when I picked them up, both times, the skin got stuck at the bottom and could only grab on to the fillings... yes I know how to use chopsticks :)) and the bbq pork "noodles" (cheong fun) was slightly too thick too, and the bbq pork is more red-dyed and a bit too sweet...

                We had other dishes too but I don't remember much - which is prob a good thing which means I don't have any complaints :)

                Overall it's a decent experience. I know I can't expect too much, but that doesn't mean I can't be critical, and I can't help but compare them to my past experiences :) At least we didn't wait to be seated when we went (about 11:30am). I have never heard so many people speaking Cantonese at the same time in MN, so if the native speakers are going there, it can't be that bad right? :) I am just picky lol.