18 November 2012

Minneapolis: Peninsula


I wasn't that excited to eat here.  I thought Matt and I were gonna be dining on boring noodles with bland veggies, an assumption I based on my previous experiences with Malaysian.  The aforementioned experiences are also the reason I hadn't had Malaysian often enough to discover the truly exceptional facets of it (the ones at Peninsula).  Oddly, one such disappointing meal was in Wellington, New Zealand.  You'd think their proximity to Malaysia itself would make the country's best Malaysian restaurant better than mediocre.  But no.  Apparently it's Minneapolis that's the perfect distance from the motherland.  (Or, it's time for me to admit that the location has no bearing on this situation whatsoever.)

Peninsula is practically perfect in every way.

2608 Nicollet Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55408
(612) 871-8282

Our love affair started with 001. Roti Canai for $4.  (My marriage always has room for bombshell food.  Also kittens.)  Our extremely helpful and personable server recommended it when I asked if they could make anything vegan.  While the menu denotes dishes that are vegetarian or available vegetarian on request, it has no marking for vegan stuff.  Your server totally knows, though.

Roti Canai is a super duper authentic Malaysian dish that includes a big injera-like crispy, thin pancake of heavenly-smelling bliss.  The sauce - which you need to order vegan to avoid chicken - has a deep, creamy, curry flavor with just the right amount of kick.  According to our server, you can eat it however you like: dip small pieces in, spoon the sauce over the roti, stuff the roti in your pie-hole and pour the sauce in... the possibilities are endless.  (Anyone else read pie-hole in Jane Lynch's voice?)  You MUST order this.  You haven't lived.

The 105. Curry Tofu Hot Pot for $12 is a soupy palette of tofu, eggplant, basil, snow peas, green beans, mushrooms, and cabbage in a deeply penetrating red curry.  Each morsel was cooked just right and suffused with this spicy creamy BAM taste, although it was light enough on the whole that we didn't feel bogged down by having eaten (or, overeaten) it.  Even the tofu was perfect!  First of all, they make the tofu itself from scratch at the restaurant.  Not sure how (it's a secret, our server confided), but it definitely involves magic of some kind.  Then the tofu is lightly breaded and cooked in the curry until the flavor becomes omnipresent, and it finds the balance between too chewy and too soft.  And that wasn't even the best dish!

Meet the 104. Spicy Golden Tofu at $12.  Like with the Hot Pot, make sure your server knows you'd like it vegan.  There's egg in the breading, otherwise.  This puppy gives you a tasteful stir fry with onions, bell peppers, chilis, and some kind of better-than-real crispy breaded and fried tofu.  Once this tofu reaches the inside of your mouth for the first time, your life will be OVER.  All you'll ever want to do again is eat more of it.  The outside is perfectly crispy and salty, then the inside melts onto your tongue with the excellent spicy flavor of the stir fry.  This is the best Malaysian I've ever had, hands down.

Bet you don't think it could get better.  Well guess what.  They played Gangnam Style while we crammed our dinner in.  Op.


[EDIT 3/17/2013]  Ugh.  Dudes and dudettes!  The tofu here is made with EGGS!  Sorry.  I am way disappointed.

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