19 October 2012

Minneapolis: Quang Restaurant

Remember that time I had Vietnamese in Mankato?

... I'm sorry, let me start over.  Remember that time I had inauthentic mediocre vaguely Asian cuisine that was for some reason labelled Vietnamese in Mankato?  Kay.  Well this place is so much better.  I mean it's not even in the same ballpark.  Quang is authentic, full of local awards, popular, and not in Mankato.  Yay!

Sorry, 'Kato.

Quang Restaurant
2719 Nicollet Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55408
(612) 870-4739

The dinner menu says vegan next to only 2 items - Goi Cuan Chay spring rolls and Hu Tieu Chay noodle soup.  We asked our server about other menu items that appeared vegan, but were merely labeled veggie.  She confirmed that the two veggie Platters are indeed vegan.  As long as the menu item you're eyeing is vegetarian and doesn't look like there's egg in it, you'll be home free.  You can always ask if you're not sure.

I started with 209. Nuoc Dua Tuoi - coconut water with coconut flesh.  3 bucks.  Every time I drink coconut water the first words that pop into my head are acquired taste.  That happened here, except... the more I drank, the better I liked the cool, savory, refreshing flavor.  Apparently I have a very discriminating palate when it comes to coconut water.  So true coconut* water enthusiasts: try this stuff.  I, um, think it's good.  Or something.

Matt also thoroughly enjoyed his 208. Soda Chanh - freshly-squeezed strawberry limeade for $3.  He'd like you to know there are real strawberry slices in the drink, and the server gives you a bubble tea ginormo-straw to suck 'em up.  (You can order bubble tea here, if you're into that kind of thing.  Oh, but... wait.  I'm going to need to return to Quang so I can ascertain whether their bubble tea is vegan.  OH DARN.)  Matt wanted me to taste his limeade so badly.  I declined because there was sugar in it.  In retrospect...  I don't even really like strawberries, so no big loss.

I don't even really like SUGAR, so.

YES OKAY I know I'm a little weird.  I want to pretend I don't want to get off topic, but I don't crave sweet things like, ever anymore.  I'm telling you.  You too can free yourself from the sugar addiction! [/slightly uncomfortable tangent]

So these 103. Goi Cuon Chay vegetarian spring rolls were only $3.50 and so extraordinary!  Usually spring rolls are a relatively ho-hum combo of unflavorful fresh veggies you have to dip in a sauce that's too sweet.  These bad boys were full of exciting textures and contrasts!  The thick, peanutty brown sauce made each bite super delicious.  Did I mention there's fried tofu involved?  It got to the point where suddenly the spring rolls had disappeared, but our table was inexplicably like 20% dirtier.  In our haste to cram every last morsel into our mouths, we'd unwittingly dropped a few bits of tofu onto the tabletop.  I shamelessly chopstick'd them up, dunked them in sauce, and slid them down my gullet.

My 406. Com Chay platter - $8 of mock duck, tofu, rice, and salad - was perfectly done.  There was a very layered smoky, deep, grilled flavor that penetrated each bite all the way to the center.  Tones of garlic threaded through the dish.  It came with a little bowl of soy sauce mixed with sugar and lime, which I used on the rice.  That was okay.  But the mock duck is where it's at.

Not sure whose meal I liked better, mine or Matt's.  He ordered the 417. Dau Hu Xao Ot Chuon for 8 bucks - bell peppers, tofu, and "broken rice."  I don't know who broke that rice, but nobody broke the tofu, that's for sure.  It took me forever to get the picture of my mock duck to take correctly, so Matt fed a piece of his tofu to me while I struggled.  And I was blown away!  I'm sure I looked awesome, half standing on my toes, half kneeling on the seat of the booth during the height of the dinner hour, batting my hair out of the way of the lens with a piece of food in my mouth as I lowered the camera, looked at Matt, and said, "Holy swears.  That is incredible."

It's got all this tangy spicy chili flavor jiving with the super well-cooked tofu, crispy bell peppers, and tasty onions.  The tofu was so well-cooked, in fact, that it took one full minute of both Matt and I pulling in opposite directions on a piece of it with our chopsticks before it broke apart.

We're good at sharing.  And don't tell anyone we broke the tofu.

Before you take up your table for another hot second - because I promise, somebody else wants it - know that once your server hands you the check, that's your cue to trot yourself up to the front counter to pay.  Take a moment while the guy is running your card to admire the very green-tinted photographs of their lunch sandwich menu on the wall.

Now you're full!  You can go home and watch Star Trek for two hours!  ... That is what everyone else does after going out, right?

* In the referenced paragraph, I mistyped coconut in several ways, many of which I feel that I cannot share in public.

1 comment:

  1. Minneopolis Quang restaurant has been descried in the post here. Know all about it