We’ve all been there: forced to bring out-of-town family to the American Girl Store. If it happens to you, please know that in the past year the Mall of America has opened not one, not two, but four new restaurants. Here’s the inside scoop on the best of the new eateries at the country’s largest indoor shopping destination. And remember, a good Minnesotan never asks an American Girl if she really needs that many dolls.
Food Court Healthy fast Asian brought to us by Canadians? Why not? You pick your ingredients, they combine them. When it works, it works well.
Best for? The chicken dishes are great: wikki, blackened, asado. Get the three-meat medley with rice or noodles for less than $7.
What to fear? Eggplant Tofu. I appreciated the vegetarian option, but the chewy tofu was a big disappointment.
R Burger Bar
408 East Broadway
So two guys walk into a burger place…. R Burger Bar is next to the mall’s new fourth-floor comedy club, and the menu is nothing to laugh at.
What to love? The poutine (French fries, gravy, melted Wisconsin cheese curds) is perfect, thanks to the authentic recipe from R Burger’s Canadian owners. I’m usually skeptical that Kobe beef burgers are ground chuck patties with a higher price tag, but R Burger’s Kobe flavor was so rich, it was well worth the $1.50 upgrade.
What to fear? The turkey burger was a flavorless patty of blah. Skip it.
331 North Food Court
The locals behind Wasabi Fusion (near the Metrodome) answered a question no one was asking. Namely: What do you fuse sushi with? Answer: Salad. Reaction: Huh?
What to love? The shrimp-mango salad. Dried mango added a sweet pop to this generous pile of fresh greens. Simple, authentically Southeast Asian, tasty.
For $7, it’s a steal.
What to fear? The spicy-tuna roll, wrapped in bland, not-sticky rice was a let-down; and the smoked salmon roll was plain ugly.
344 North Food Court
Love the chain restaurant Chick-Fil-A? ChikWich wants to be that.
What to love? The Original ChikWich is adorable: $2 for a moist chicken tender on a tiny little bun. The breading reminded me of my mom’s fried chicken. Good stuff.
What to fear? Green Apple Frozen Slush. Tell your kids to skip this shamrock-shake-colored applesauce disaster.
Jason DeRusha is a reporter for WCCO-TV.