Restaurants & Bars

Mpls: Mandarin Kitchen

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Mpls: Mandarin Kitchen

David A. | Jan 20, 2002 06:34 PM

Having posted a dozen sharply negative messages on the state of Italian cuisine in Minneapolis over the last few months, let me say something positive for a change.

I've been several times to Mandarin Kitchen and (along with my Chinese wife) recommend it very highly. Dinner is tasty, plentiful, diverse, and reasonably priced; dim sum is superb, but a tad pricey. From the dinner menu I can recommend the minced duck with lettuce and the salt and pepper spareribs. I have yet to try the specialty of the house, which seems to be deep-fried crab parts served on giant platters. I've probably eaten six or eight dishes there, and I've only had one (called something like "Three Treasure Seafood") that was not distinctly good.

There are, however, a few stipulations. There seem to be two menus in circulation; assuming you are not Chinese, you must ask for the Chinese menu, which is all the same written in English. If you are going for dim sum on the weekend, I recommend showing up around opening time at 10 a.m. Based on my own limited sampling, the fare is fresher and significantly better the earlier you arrive.

I would rank the local Chinese restaurants -- those I'm familiar with -- this way:

Mandarin Kitchen: 9
Golden Pond: 8
Hong Kong Noodle: 7
Phoenix Seafood: 7
Seafood Palace: 7
New Hong Kong Kitchen: 7
My Le Hoa: 6
Yangzte: 4
Peking Garden: 2
Village Wok: 2
Shuang Cheng: 2
Dragon Court: 1

My wife and I recently had a meal at Dragon Court just off Washington Avenue and found it positively revolting. We took two bites and walked out. Yet this recently opened joint has received unanimous applause in both the Star Trib and the City Pages. Did we catch the head chef on his day off? While he was enjoying a long sojourn in the john? I don't know. Has anyone else had the same experience?

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