Since the Green Line lies right on the campus of the University of Minnesota, I tried to find an easily accessible restaurant for dinner. I ended up sitting in Tea House, a crowded Chinese restaurant filled with customers far beyond the ages of college students, even during Happy Hour. Before I talk about the main dishes, I want to talk about the Happy Hour specials. I had no idea that there was a happy hour, and I am relieved I went then. The Happy Hour dishes included a number of small appetizers. My friends and I ordered an array of small dishes, such as pork buns, dumplings, scallion pancakes and more, each priced at $3. Even though the restaurant offered dishes from around China, there was an emphasis on Szechuan cuisine. I really liked the spicy dumplings as an appetizer, which were served with a homemade sauce containing an assortment of sweet soy sauce, chili oil and other ingredients.
For the main courses, I tried to get what the waiter recommended. Most of their specialities are dishes with meats such as beef, pork, poultry and fish. I found it a little comical that the restaurant even offered walleye (a local fish) with a Szechuan sauce. However, we decided to order the house spicy pork ($13), sizzling beef ($15) and crispy tofu ($11). Besides the house spicy pork and dumplings (vegetarian and pork), I wish I could have tried more of the specialties the restaurant had to offer. It was nice trying the beef and tofu, two dishes that the waiter said were incredibly popular. The sizzling beef was good, but nothing amazing. I got more of a thrill seeing the sizzling plate pop with hot oils than I got eating it. The peppers (and other various vegetables) inside the beef dish were a little too sweet to combat the chili-infused beef. This dish wasn’t bad, but in the future I would try different dishes. I’m also not the biggest tofu fan, but the crispy tofu wasn’t bad either.
Going with vegetarians and friends with eating constraints made it clear that people with a variety of diets can eat at Tea House. The restaurant’s service is exceptional, both in terms of delivering fast service and being able to take out certain ingredients to which my friends are allergic. The restaurant is right off the Green Line in the middle of the University of Minnesota, so if you’re looking for an excuse to get off campus with some friends, I definitely recommend going.
Tea House is located at 2425 University Ave SE, Minneapolis.