I am a fan of Chinese/Asian food but am also selective in where I choose to dine. Too many inline retail establishments one around every corner, with poor quality food, buffets that generally are not very good, and lots of salt and grease. OK I know that’s not a pretty picture, so, my solution was, the Tea House recommended by Elissa L. (Thank You!). There are four Tea House restaurants in the Twin Cities; Plymouth, St. Paul and two in Minneapolis, the newest being near the U of M on University Ave SE. I chose the St. Paul location on a rainy Saturday joined by one of my best friends, Frank (father-in-law).
I took charge of the ordering and we agreed to share a variety of items from the Authentic Szechuan and Traditional sections of the menu. Appetizers included Egg Roll, Pan Fried Pork Dumplings, Mini Crabmeat Juicy Buns and Shanghai Pancakes. The egg roll was average but the balance or our appetizers were very good and the Pancakes were exceptional! We surprised our server, who assumed we were finished, and moved to our Second Course from the Cold Dish menu section. The Three Cold Dish Sampler is a good way to experiment with some interesting options; we were tame and selected the Bon Bon Chicken, Bamboo Tips in Spicy Sauce and Five Spice Beef. Several items from the Cold Dish section look like they would appeal to Mr. Andrew Zimmern. Our Third Course included the Shredded Duck with Ginger and the Szechuan Seafood Hot Pot. When ordering this round our server finally understood our intent to experience as much as possible, he smiled and said that the Duck with Ginger is beautiful and it certainly was. The Tea House menu can be overwhelming with so many fine options, visit their website and make a list of preferred selections, take your time, sample as much as your budget and time will allow, you won’t be disappointed.
Where: 1676 Suburban Avenue, St. Paul
When: Sun – Thurs: 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Fri – Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
What to Have: Shanghai Pancakes, Duck with Ginger and Three Cold Dish Sampler
Cost: Appetizers – $1.95 to $6.95, Main course – $6.95 to $18.95
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
My beverage of the Month is a very fine Dry Red Wine from Italy, Cantina Zaccagnini 2007 which carries a 90-95 point rating and costs less than $13.00 per bottle at Haskell’s during their 5 cent sale.