BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT Minneapolis 2008 - Evergreen
At first, Evergreen might be mistaken for a Lutheran church basement, albeit one with Chinese zodiac placemats, plastic chopsticks, and handle-less teacups on the tables. But the humble, windowless digs don't detract from the experience—they just keep diners focused on the food. Taiwanese native Connie Fan serves up Chinese dishes you might expect alongside those you might not—under soups, you'll find the ubiquitous hot-and-sour along with one made from pork blood. Her husband, Frank, runs the front of the house, and if it's not too busy (which it hardly ever is), he'll generously offer a sample of stewed pig's ear to a curious, uninitiated diner. While Connie Fan's tender steamed pork buns are sure tasty, her faux-meat dishes—a long list of imitation squid, shrimp, pork, and chicken—are what set her food apart. The wheat-gluten chunks cooked with sharp pickled cabbage are positively addictive. And as much as we like the Mandarin beef, a lemongrass mock version is perhaps even better.