Cuisine: Szechuan Chinese
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 1676 Suburban Ave St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 771-1790
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-9:30pm Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
Links: Tea House Website * Google Map
Atmosphere: Located within a strip mall on Suburban Ave, Tea House is not just an ordinary Chinese restaurant. The walls are lined with an intricate paneling of carved wood stained a rich, dark color that is lit from behind so that art within the panels is highlighted creating a beautiful effect. The Red lanterns that hang from the ceiling and giant arrangements of bamboo stalks complete the Asian Decor.
Menu: Appetizers at Tea House include Egg Rolls, Cream Cheese Wonton, Chicken Wings, BBQ Pork, BBQ Spare Ribs, Vegetarian Dumplings, Fried Crabmeat Ball, Shrimp Shao Mai, Scallion Pancake, Scechuan Wonton, Szechuan Dan-Dan Noodle, Szechuan Cold Noodle, Szechuan Dumplings in Hot sauce, Shanghai Juicy Buns, Crabmeat Juicy Buns, and Chicken Lettuce Cups.
Cold Szechuan Dishes at Tea House are the Sauteed Cucumber, Bamboo Tips in Spicy Sauce, Stewed Sliced Beef & Stomach, Shredded Pork tomach in Spicy Sauce, Steamed Chicken in Special Taste Sauce, Five Spice Beef, Boiled Sliced Pork with Garlic Sauce, Ma La Beef Tendon and Bon Bon Chicken.
Soups served include Hot and Sour, Egg Drop, Wonton, To Fu Vegetable, Shanghai Wonton, Pickled Mustard and Shredded Pork, Mixed Meat & ToFu, Crabmeat Asparagus, Seafood & Tofu, Pickled Vegetable & Fish, and Sea Cucumber Hot and Sour Soup.
Chef Recommended Dishes include Whole Fish Stewed in Bean Sauce, Sauteed Fillets of Flounder, Prawn and Scallops in Garlic Sauce, Triple Kung Pao, Tea Smoked Duck, Stewed Pork with Chestnuts, Stewed Pork with Crispy Rice and Spicy Brown Sauce, Sauteed Pea Shoots, Chicken with Double Chili Pepper, Gui Chow Chicken and Eggplant in Garlic Sauce.
Poulty Dishes include Chicken with Broccoli, Chicken in Garlic Sauce, Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, Chicken with Peapods, Cashew Chicken, Hunan Chicken, Chicken and Mixed Vegetables, Swet & Sour, Mu Shu, Sizzling Chicken, General Tao, Sesame, Orange, Lemon, Chicken with Bamboo Tips, Chicken with Dry Bean Curd, Sliced Chicken with fresh Asparagus, Kung Pao, Chung King Spicy Chicken and Shredded duck with Ginger.
Pork Dishes include Peking Shredded Pork, Mu Shu, Mongolian, Double Cooked Pork, Hunan Pork, Bean Noodle with Ground Pork, Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce, Pan Fried Sliced Pork, Shredded Pork with either Dry Bean Curd or Bamboo Tips or Chili Pepper, Boiled Pork in Szechuan Sauce, Szechuan Spicy Pork Intestine, Hot Pot Chitterlings with Pickled Vegetables and Tofu.
Beef and Lamb entrees at Tea House include Beef with Broccoli, Kung Pao, Hunan Beef, Pepper Steak, Mu Shu, Mongolian, Beef in Garlic Sauce, Beef with Peapods, Sesame, Orange, Gui Chopw, Shredded Beef with Chili Pepper, Boiled Beef in Szechuan Hot Sauce, Mogolian Lamb, Szechuan Lamb, Black Pepper Beef Tenderloin, and Chung King Beef Tenderloin.
Seafood dishes include Szechuan Kung Pao Baby Shrimp, Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, Prawn with Broccoli, Prawn in Garlic Sauce, Prawn with Vegetables, Prawn in Black Bean Sauce, Prawn with Peapods, Orange Flavor Prawns, Five Spice Prawns, Crispy Prawns in Fruit Juice, Chengdu Jumbo Shrimp, Chung King Spicy Shrimp, Kung Pao Shrimp, Black Pepper Scallops, Scallops with Vegetables, Five Spice Scallops, Szechuan Seafood Hot Pot, Sweet & Sour Fish Fillets, Family Fish Fillet, Crispy Rice Crust with Shrimp, Chicken and Beef, Boiled Fish in Szechuan Hot Sauce, Three Musketeers and Beautie, Seafood Delight, Sea Ccumber with Green Onion, Steamed Flounder, Family Sea Cucumber, Stewed Whole Fish, Whole Fish with Pickled Vegetables, Whole Fish with Pine Nuts, Crispy Whole Fish and Tea House Boiled Fish.
Vegetarian specialties include Shredded Potato with Green Pepper, Buddha Vegetable Delight, Tofu with Mixed Vegetable, General Tao Tofu, Kung Pao Tofu, Broccoli in Garlic Sauce, Mu Shu Vegetable, Stir-Fried A Choy with Garlic, Szechuan Green Beans, Tofu with Chinese Vegetables, Szechuan Asparagus, and Stir-Fried Asparagus.
Chow Mein, Lo Mein, Fried Rice, Egg Foo Young, Chao Fun and Pan Fried Noodles are also available with choice of Chicken, Pork, Beef, Shrimp, Combo or Vegetable.
The Tea House also has a large selection of lunch specials served M-F from 11am-2pm. Lunch entrees come with white rice, egg roll and soup.
Price guide: Appetizers $2-9 Soup $ 2-14 Poulty, Pork & Vegetarian $10-13 Beef $11-18 Seafood $14-18 Rice, Noodles, Lomein $7-10 Lunch Specials $4-8.50
What We ordered: My companions and I started with the Scallion Pancakes. I had no idea what to expect from the name of these appetizers, but they were a wonderful treat and very different from the pancakes one might eat at breakfast. Made with layers of flaky pastry that was fried until it was lightly browned and crispy, these pancakes had scallions cooked within the savory dough. It was served with a sweet soy-based sauce for dipping. Excellent choice!
It was also highly recommended that we try the Sticky Buns. Another huge hit! I was expecting bread of some sort from the name of these delicious little treats, but was pleasantly surprised to discover they were similar to steamed dumplings. Inside each little Bun was a delicious seasoned pork sausage ball and savory juices. Big, deep spoons were given to each of us to hold the Sticky Buns while we ate them which was a good thing because one bite into the bun and steaming juices started spilling out!The buns were also served with a side of some kind of soy-based sauce.
I had the General Tao’s Chicken lunch special, which came with my entree, eggroll, rice and soup. I started with the Hot and Sour soup, which had wonderful taste and texture. It had a nice spicy flavor with plenty of ingredients in the hot broth. The General Tao’s Chicken was also very good and was a bigger portion than I expected for lunch. The large pieces of white-meat chicken were fried so that the breading was still crunchy after it was tossed in sauce. The sauce had a little zing to it yet a hint of sweetness. The chicken was dressed with semi-cooked broccoli and fried rice (which I upgraded from the white rice it came with). The fried rice was decent, but seemed a little boring to me.
One of my companions had the Wonton Soup, which looked very good. Basic chicken broth with wontons and scallions.
Another companion had the Hunan Chicken lunch special. This was another big lunch portion, with pieces of chicken mixed with broccoli, mini corn-cobs, green and red peppers, whole Asian mushrooms and other Asian vegetables, and then tossed in a spicy Hunan sauce. Served with white rice, egg roll and soup.
Service: Lunch on a Friday was extremely busy and my party of three had to wait a few minutes for an open table. Our waiter was helpful with ordering from the menu and also demonstrated for us how to serve the sticky buns. Our appetizers and food were staggered so the process took longer than you might expect at lunch, but overall the food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time considering how busy it was.
Overall Impression: I wish I had discovered Tea House sooner! I worked nearby for three years and never knew it existed until my companions suggested it the day of our visit. The food was excellent and the lunch special prices were extremely good for the amount of food we got. I will definitely be back!