So I am not usually one to travel all over for food. If I’m eating out I want it to be near my house so I can get home quickly and recover from all of the stuff I just ate. However, Tanpopo brought me to St. Paul. That’s right folks- a 45 minute ride on the Green Line all the way to Union Depot! This traditional Japanese restaurant was found on accident- my friend Liz and I were out a winter market last year, hungry and chilled, when we found it out in the cold, blustery, and a bit snowy mist that is Minnesota in mid-December. Two tonkatsu and many sips of green tea later we were hooked.
I hadn’t been back to Tanpopo until this week. I had the tonkatsu (again, ok, it’s good), and the azuki ice cream mochi for dessert.
The meals are *a bit* pricey, but that’s what I have found with every Japanese place in Minneapolis. For about $15 you get rice, tonkatsu, a salad, miso soup, and whatever pickled delicacy they have that day. For an extra $3 I got a yummy azuki (red bean) mochi. Anyone who knows me and my Japanese food knows I have an affinity for red bean paste anything.
One of my favorite things about Tanpopo is the atmosphere. They are in an older building, possibly a warehouse, that has high ceilings and exposed beams. On this visit they had some hanging paper cut outs drifting softly with the breeze as it rained outside. This restaurant is also located right by the St. Paul farmers market and Kellog Blvd. I love their simple fare, just pure good Japanese food. While they do offer sushi and more fancy dishes, most of their meals are either a staple with rice or udon/soba bowls.
For all of those people who want to try something new but are a bit afraid, maybe Tanpopo is a good place for you. You can’t really go wrong with their menu- they have meat and vegetarian dishes, and lots of fun beverages and desserts to try, too.