Dec. 31 is my grandson’s birthday. He turned 1. We babysat while our daughter ran some errands, buying preparations for his birthday party, which will be on New Year’s Day. After she returned to our house to pick him up, we suggested going out for lunch. We picked Rice Paper in Edina.
The restaurant is highly rated. They call themselves ‘contemporary Asian’ and the server said ‘Asian fusion.’ I think of it as basically Vietnamese. They used to be located in Linden Hills. My wife went there for lunch in those days. I’d never eaten at the Linden Hills location. They relocated to Edina, 50th & France, this fall. So this was a great opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.
I was very impressed. Our server offered tea when she came to our table. She told us about a couple of specials. My daughter and I ordered the special spring roll which featured pomegranate seeds, rice, and cilantro. My wife is very sensitive to cilantro, and the server said that this was the one dish that could not be prepared without it. So my wife didn’t have any. She did however, snatch a few of the pomegranate seeds that fell out while we were eating the spring rolls. They were very light and refreshing. They came with a vinegary dipping sauce and julienned carrots as a garnish. The spring rolls are pictured on the right.
For lunch, we ordered two entrées and another appetizer. The second appetizer was called tofu puffs. They were described as ‘crispy tofu rolled in a sweet, tangy Thai sauce with scallion oil, sprinkled with fresh roasted peanuts and crispy shallots.’ They were great.
One entrée was Chinese pancake wraps. We expected that they’d come disassembled, and each person would fill them with the variety of ingredients noted on the menu - cucumber, bean sprouts, mint, and lemongrass. The menu said it also included cilantro, but in deference to my wife, they didn’t put it on our order. Contrary to our expectation, the pancakes were served already stuffed with a sampling of each of the fillings. They also were covered with a salad of shredded red and green cabbage. They came with a trio of dipping sauces, including the same Vietnamese sauce that came with the spring rolls, a peanut sauce, and a Thai sauce like on the tofu puffs.
The second entrée was coconut shrimp. These were small, two-bite shrimp, grilled and sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes and sesame seed. There was a mound of jasmine rice on the plate, also sprinkled with coconut and sesame seeds.
We had just two quibbles about Rice Paper. Despite having a kid’s menu, we didn’t find them to be very accommodating to our grandson. They didn’t have a high chair for him. So we asked to be seated in a booth by the window, so that he could crawl around on the bench next to his mother. They fulfilled our request but asked us to make sure that he didn’t crawl out onto the window ledge that abutted the booth. So nothing overtly nasty. Just a negative vibe that maybe infants aren’t particularly welcome.
The second quibble is value. The food was excellent. The servings were somewhat small (fine with us, since we’re all light eaters). But the prices were a little high for what you got. We didn’t mind. We were celebrating the end of 2010 and our grandson’s birthday. And it won’t keep us from coming back. In fact, our daughter said that her husband would like it and she’d like to take him sometime. Just be forewarned.
This is my final post for 2010. Happy new year to my readers. Hope you all enjoy good restaurants in 2011, and keep on reading Krik’s Picks.