Review: Dumplings of the Southwest Metro

Find dumplings from around the world in your neighborhood.
Simultaneously sweet and savory are the steamed dumplings from Honey Garden, especially when paired with a sweet-sour sauce.

You might think of dumplings as a comfort food or something from Grandma’s repertoire. Think again. Dumplings are cooked savory balls of dough that are boiled, fried or baked and appear on local menus in some interesting forms. We’ve even found dumplings filled with surprise ingredients—a virtual world tour of dumplings awaits you. Rainbow Trout PrimaveraLola’s LakehouseA touch of Germany is brought to light in an egg-based dumpling (spaetzel) dish that accompanies Rainbow Trout ($17.95). Chef Brian Crouch has created this dish for his seasonal menu (available through September, so don’t hesitate to visit). It is a combination of spaetzel, peas, tomatoes, summer squash, prosciutto, and mascarpone. A pea shoot salad, with pea purée, is served on the side. Outside dining is available, weather permitting. 318 E. Lake St., Waconia; 952.442.4954; lolaslakehouse.com Steamed or Fried DumplingsHoney GardenThis tiny gem of a restaurant is a popular place to sample both a Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine.  Known as Mr. Q’s for several decades, signed photos of local TV celebrities adorn one wall. The Vietnamese owner serves as chef and has extensive training in a number of Chinese restaurants. The steamed or fried dumplings hide a delectable pork and vegetable mix in the middle ($4.95 for 6). Ingredients are fresh, and the accompanying sauce is homemade. Also try the wontons which are light, flaky and filled with cream cheese ($3.95 for 8). Take-out is most popular here. 13997 Anderson Lakes Parkway, Eden Prairie; 952.934.3023; thehoneygarden.com Gnocchi with Italian sausage, tomato and rapiniCampiellosThis gnocchi is made in-house from a potato base and mixed with durham flour, egg, salt, and nutmeg ($19.50). This gnocchi and sausage combo is a traditional dish from central Italy and will be on the menu at least through September. The sausages are homemade as well. 6411 City W. Parkway, Eden Prairie; 952.941.6868; campiello.damico.com Won Ton SoupTian JinThis popular soup consists of a typical Chinese broth with pork-filled won tons, which are homemade using pork, scallions and seasonings ($3.20 or $4.20 with egg). The soup is sometimes a main course in China and also served at breakfast. Traditional, yet popular, are the steamed pork dumplings ($6.45 for 8), which are also filled with a pork mixture and are a tasty appetizer before any meal. This restaurant’s menu is extensive as the native Chinese chef attended a top cooking school in China and is very creative, according to the owner, Hong Chen. The restaurant won the Best Food at Taste of Chanhassen 2012 for its contest entry, Chrysanthemum Flower Sole Fillet in Tomato Sauce ($14.20). Check out the online ordering at the website. 463 W. 79th  St., Chanhassen; 952.934.4111; eorderingsystem.com/stores/tianjin Vegetable SamosaIndia Spice HouseNestled in a strip mall across from Eden Prairie Center, this restaurant offers crispy patties stuffed with potatoes and sweet peas and seasoned with masala—a Southeast Asian spice that may include ginger, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves and onions. The result is a flavorful vegetable samosa, rectangular in shape and accompanied by chutney—a delight of many Americans, according to Chef Ganesa Sundersan ($4.95 for 3).  Other dumpling-like offerings are paneer pakora, a homemade fresh Indian cheese dipped in mild spices, chickpea flour and masala, then deep-fried ($4.95 for 6). Another dish to try is the malai kofta, a main course, made of mashed potatoes and paneer rolled into balls and cooked in a yellow curry sauce. ($9.95)  Although Sundersan says the malai kofta are more like meatballs. 8445 Joiner Way, Eden Prairie; 952.942.8010; indiaspicehouseep.com Chicken Dumpling SoupAxel’s ChanhassenOn a crisp fall day, a cup or bowl of Chicken Dumpling Soup can be a welcome treat. Chef Scott Rief is proud of the house made dumplings, which are made of egg, flour, nutmeg and salt and pepper and fluff up when put into the boiling soup broth. The soup is a customer favorite and could be paired with salad or sandwich ($6.95 for a bowl; $4.95 for a cup). 560 W. 78th, Chanhassen; 952.934.9340; axelsrestaurants.com Chicken PakoraIndia PalaceThis family-run business offers a crispy Chicken Pakora ($4.95) combining chicken with  2 percent milk and before frying in a chickpea batter. The restaurant says the dish resembles chicken fingers, which is likely to be a hit with young children. 936 Prairie Center Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.946.1923; indiapalace.org Cheese Fried WontonsGolden DragonA popular appetizer at this restaurant is cheese-fried wontons ($1.95 for 4). The restaurant also offers the wontons on its buffet, which is available for carryout as well. Made of flour with a hearty cheese filling, the wontons are a popular choice with customers.  The restaurant sees a brisk business on weekends. 785 Marketplace Drive, Waconia; 952.442.2657 Szechuan Dumpling Red Hot OilAsian ExpressThis dumpling dish combines pork, red hot oil, sesame seeds, and peanut butter to create a unique flavor packet that is put in a wonton skin and steamed ($4.75 for 12). It can be served with Kung Pao sauce. The restaurant caters to the carryout crowd and also features a popular Crab Rangoon, made of imitation crab, sweetened milk, sugar, and onion in a wonton, then fried ($4.85 for 8). The restaurant offers online ordering and will deliver in a 10-mile radius for $2. 8755 Columbine Rd., Eden Prairie; 952.828.0888; asianexpressenenprairie.com