The Verdant Tea house has developed a reputation for unique flavor. Their product approach seems ever-refreshing and their new food menu looks to continue the tradition.
Obviously, their success began with the direct importation of Chinese tea from small family estates. Then, Sweet Science Ice Cream took up residence. After that began a program of homemade kombucha. And just recently, they’ve branched out with artisan root beer and sodas.
Their transition into food service has been, as well, measured and steady. It started with a handful of (spectacular) noodle bowls and snacks, then got creative with the Birchwood Cafe breakfast pop-up. Now, its come to a fully realized menu with enticing snacks like gravlax rice balls and whiskey fried rice (with hoisin-glazed bacon!)
Among the large plates, we were drawn to the Torch Seared Miso Marinated Cod ($9, above) because how often do you see cod in a restaurant for under $10? Verdant’s dish delivers about 5 ounces of fish, portioned into small cubes around an elegant salad of carrot and celery ribbons, plus radish and microgreens all dressed in a light vinaigrette. (You might want a fork and knife – some ribbons are too long for one bite with chopsticks).
The fish doesn’t taste overtly flame-affected. Instead, it’s as if the cod swam for its entire life in an ocean of butter, got caught by a Japanese fishing boat, and was kept alive for the voyage in a cauldron of miso soup. It’s rich and luscious, nutty from the miso, and aching to fall apart to the feeblest bite. Consider it a spot-on portion for lunch, and head back for roasted chicken and potstickers for dinner.
Verdant Tea, 2111 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. 612.223.8907.