Friday, December 17, 2010

Tea House - Dinkytown

Teahouse is best known for their authentic Chinese/Szechuan cuisine. Adding onto their already popular locations in Plymouth and Downtown Minneapolis, they've established themselves in Dinkytown. Kitty corner to the Days Inn, in the old Bakers Square building, my long burning curiosity found itself there on a chilly Monday afternoon.

The exterior is still very Bakers Square-ish. But the interior is slightly redone with oriental touches. A silky, floral accented material lines the booths, with a few cozy tables placed throughout. There is a small bar area, and a nice touch of color on a large wall with a glow of purple hued lights, and some botanical designs.

I sat in a booth, and started to examine the menu. I was surprised that I only recieved one menu. Isn't there supposed to be something about them having two menu's? One with more American-ized Chinese, and one with authentic Chinese? I was a little suprised at how standard some of the menu items were. On the contrary, they do offer some nice szechuan snacks (szechuan jelly noodles, spicy pork stomach) along with the more standard things we are used to seeing.

I was lunching it and wanted spicy, so I opted for the Chengdu Dan Dan Noodles on lunch special ($6.95) and cream cheese wontons ($4.25). I was feeling a bit unenthusiastic that day, which I'm sure came through in my overall demeanor. My waitress however, was great. Instead of scurrying away, she interjected little bits of casual sunshine here and there, without being overjoyed and annoying. She complimented my food choices, then brought me a pot of hot jasmine tea.

Cream Cheese Wontons

They come 6 to the plate, and with 2 sauces; your standard sweet and sour, and an INCREDIBLY hot mustard sauce. I'm serious - a little dot of this on my wonton made my nose burn and my eyes water significantly. The wontons themselves were nice - the wrapping itself was a bit more thick and chewy than I personally prefer. I like a thinner, more crispy skin. However, I was grateful for the abundance of cream cheese inside. Rich and globby, in the best way possible.

Chengdu Dan Dan Noodles

I was a little put off by the looks of this at first. I'm not sure exaclty what was crumbled on top. And secondly, it sat in a pool of oil and sauce. I gave it all a good stir and started in. The noodles were great. Chewy and thick...not quite an udon, but close. The spice level was very solid. I can take some moderate heat, and this dish delivered that and then some. There were pleasant traces of peanut oil, and I began to appreciate the sauciness of the dish. There wasn't a lot of complexity here, only a simple pleasure. I couldn't finish it all, and when I reheated it later, the spice level was more intense. Overall, a good spicy noodle dish for a cold day.

I'm not going to do a greats/not so greats anymore. I've outgrown it. But I will add the Urban Spoon link from time to time so you can see how things rate overall.

Tea House on Urbanspoon


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