When we first heard the news that one of our fave hangouts, Azia, was closing, we shed a bloody tear. Not a True Blood vampire-style tear, but one consisting of tomato juice, wasabi and vodka. Our booze-lovin' hearts shriveled at the thought of no more Bloody Sundays on Eat Street. But our despair was short-lived: Azia's charming owner has brought his spicy Bloody Mary recipe along with him to his new incarnation, Thom Pham's Wondrous Azian Kitchen. And that's not all. The brand spankin' new downtown locale offers up much more than just hair of the dog on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but fresh Dim Sum - a rarity in these here parts.
Armed with a camera, an appetite and one Janey Winterbauer, we popped into the Wondrous Kitchen on Saturday morning to sample Pham's new delectables -- and we certainly weren't disappointed. For those of you who aren't familiar with Dim Sum, let us explain: Dim Sum is a staple of Chinese dining culture, an Asian "brunch," if you will. A server comes around with a cart. Said server pulls up to your table, explains each mini-platter and prompts you to select what appeals to you. Think of it as an appetizer cart on wheels; each dish (served up in cute little steamer containers) holds typically 2-4 small samplings. Order a smattering and share - viola!
The Wondrous Kitchen's all-fresh Dim Sum selection will please both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. We sampled pillow-soft steamed buns and shark fin-style dumplings stuffed with chicken and pork; fluffy squares of steamed bean curd and saucy fried tofu; delicate, translucent dumplings filled with shrimp and veggies; spare ribs, squid, and a heavenly, sweet custard-filled bun. We topped it all off, of course, with a wasabi-infused Bloody Mary (and--we're not gonna lie--a Grand Mimosa, made with Grand Marnier).
Pham himself accompanied his cart of Dim Sum delights, explaining all the dishes in detail, and warmly welcoming us, as per usual. Yet another reason we love frequenting this gracious chef and restaurateur's establishments: Pham always remembers you, and treats all his customers as if they were his last -- a lost gesture in this day and age.
Want to try some Dim Sum? We don't blame you. The Dim Sum "brunch" is served both Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2:30pm. Wondrous also has lunch, dinner, happy hour and a fantastic night life schedule that we're looking forward to enjoying. Azia might be gone but it's definitely not forgotten, as the legacy lives on with Pham and the Wondrous Azian Kitchen.
For more info visit www.wondrousmpls.com or follow on Facebook here.