Back about 20 years ago, I wrote an enthusiastic review of the traditional Cantonese cuisine served at the Keefer Court Bakery & Cafe. The little storefront at Cedar and Riverside started as an offshoot of a Toronto Chinese bakery, and the fare reminded me a lot of the food you can find in the restaurants in Toronto’s Spadina Avenue Chinatown: simple and inexpensive rice plates and noodle dishes, plus a good selection of Chinese pastries and buns. Keefer Court closed its 16-seat cafe about 15 years ago to concentrate on its bakery and fortune cookie business, but a big blow-up poster copy of my review stayed in the front window, year after year, until very recently.
The poster is finally gone, but maybe it’s time to bring it back: the bakery recently reopened its kitchen, and now offers a big selection of traditional Cantonese fare, including rice plates, noodle dishes, soups and stir-fries. Only a limited selection is featured on the lunch menu, so be sure to request the dinner menu if it isn’t offered. So far, I have only had a chance to sample a few dishes, including the curry beef brisket rice plate ($5.95) and the chicken lo mein ($4.25 at lunch), but there is a lot more that I would like to try, including the salty pork and duck egg congee ($3.85), the roast duck noodle soup ($4.95), and the salt and pepper beef short ribs ($12.95). Be sure to also check out the bakery counter for the steamed and baked buns filled with everything from barbecued pork and curried beef to ham and eggs and coconut custard.
Keefer Court, 326 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, 612-340-0937.