A small, nondescript storefront in Cedar-Riverside, Keefer Court is easy to miss. Further, since it’s billed primarily as a bakery, there’s little reason to wander in unless you’re in the market for a moon cake, cream roll, egg tart, or redbean cookie. So we were surprised to learn that Keefer Court offers a full menu of Chinese fare, with everything from pot stickers, fried rice, and lo mein to sweet and sour grouper, salt and pepper short ribs, and stuffed tofu fritters. But it’s the meal-sized soups that make this a place worth seeking out.
The menu lists twenty soups, but the actual number of choices seems substantially lower. During our last visit, we were turned back with a decisive shake of the head when ordering a soup with fish balls and another with shredded pork. No matter: the House Special Noodle in Soup ($8, pictured at top) is always available. And it’s awesome, a true destination dish that’s worth a special trip.
When entering Keefer Court, it’s tough not to stop and gawk at the beautiful roasted duck and glazed BBQ pork displayed in their own case. To our great delight, the House Soup features these two delicacies. The thick slices of pork are sweet and tender, and the cuts of duck are rich and moist. Both go perfectly with the deep shellfish and pork broth.
In case the duck and pork aren’t enticing enough, the soup also includes a couple of deliciously dense shrimp wantons that pop with flavor, as well as a heaping portion of thin but sturdy noodles. For an extra $.50, the kitchen will add “vegetables” — i.e., bok choy — to any of the noodle soups, and we suggest taking them up on it. The cabbage adds freshness to a stout dish.
Of course, it would be a shame (if not a sacrilege) to leave Keefer Court without a pastry or two. We’re particularly fond of two coconut options: the tart and the cream roll. After dessert, take a savory BBQ pork bun for the road — it’ll tide you over until you can get back to the West Bank for the awkwardly named, but oh-so-tasty, House Special Noodle in Soup.
Bakery and Cafe
326 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55454
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Limited
ENTREE RANGE: $6-17