Bánh Mì Bonhomie

The Sandwich Even a Critic Never Tires Of, and Other Happy Surprises

Everything at Jasmine is directed at that holiday right now. Le and Vinh Truong's mom used to be one of the leading suppliers of the traditional boiled cakes that you need to properly usher in the Vietnamese New Year, Le Truong told me, and now the restaurant has taken over her business. In addition to these elaborate New Year's treats, which take eight hours to cook, Jasmine also makes an enormous, ever-changing selection of the super-sweet tapioca desserts and dessert-drinks that are so popular in Southeast Asia. Look through the glass counter for the day's selection, made with some combination of tapioca, tea, seaweed, taro, vegetables, various sweet beans, and fruit. As a beverage, these tea-based drinks--called boba, pearl tea, or bubble tea because of the tapioca pearls that bob in them--are super hot on the coasts, where boba tea-houses are exponentially expanding, and Jasmine is the first place I know of in town offering anything comparable.

So there--yet another reason to go: Good, cheap, and cutting edge!

I know, I know, I'm up to my ears in exclamation points here. And yes, I know I get wildly enthusiastic about something new every four weeks, but I am telling you I have been wildly enthusiastic about Jasmine for a good four solid months--which is like 67 years in restaurant-critic years, so fickle is my tribe. It really is the place I go most often personally right now. Yeah, it's a tiny, five-table restaurant in a spic-and-span fluorescent box and the TV is always on. But the bùn noodle salads (around $5) are also really great, prettily put together with different patches of cucumber, rice noodle, carrot, cilantro, and whatever meat, fish, or tofu product you care for. The fish sauce and rice-vinegar dressing that goes on them is made with good-quality ingredients and tastes perfectly sharp and harmonious, and the plastic bowls they're served in look ceramic, look classy, and really make you feel like you're spending more than you are.

High-quality ingredients, a stylish room, and an allegiance to the core of the cuisine
Kathy Easthagen
High-quality ingredients, a stylish room, and an allegiance to the core of the cuisine

Location Info

Map

Jasmine Deli

2532 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

To be perfectly honest, they also kind of make you feel like you're at Big Bowl. Which seems great, because one of the great, underreported facts of life is that if you can learn from other people's successes, you're already winning the game.

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