Well, it has been 6 months since I moved back to the Twin Cities from NYC, where I was born and raised, and since returning I have been on a quest for Chinese food to make me happy. Here is a list of my experiences so far:
1. Mandarin Kitchen: I went to Mandarin Kitchen initally because I had heard they made my favorite dish well, squid with salted pepper (the name varies from place to place, but if you order that, they will know). Indeed, they make it very well, and I also enjoyed their XO sauce dishes. But the high point at Mandarin Kitchen for me is their dim sum. It is truly as good as or better than any dim sum I had in NYC. I even got soup dumplings there. As far as specific recommendations for dim sum, since I don't know what most things are called, I would just recommend anything dumpling like.
2. Shuang Cheng: I really like the spicy baked squid at Shuang Cheng; it is quite different from the salted pepper squid I have had elsewhere, more of a 5-spice taste, but still excellent. I have yet to find another dish to draw me there, but I haven't tried the whole fish yet. And I go for the squid frequently.
3. Yummy: Yummy food, pretty lousy service. The hot and sour soup is the best I have ever had. The salt and pepper squid, while good, is not spicy, more sweet, and also not really the dish I am familiar with. But their seafood is so fresh, you just can't go wrong. One odd thing: we had the shrimp with walnuts yesterday and the sauce was downright creamy, which is very unusual in Chinese food. I can't decide yet whether I liked it or not. The dumplings were great, the little fish balls were great. Really excellent, but the service is really almost intolerable.
4. Yang-Tze: adequate dim sum, that is all I know or can say.
Any additions? Any place with truly great noodles?