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BonXai St. Paul report

well, I think maybe some crow-eating needs to happen. We went to Bonxai tonight after a note in the Pioneer Press:

now, I will preface by saying that if you don't live nearby, I would not necessarily recommend driving all the way over here just for this place. But for those of use who live in midway, it is a great addition. The coconut soup was amazing, and chowbaby loved it more than anything she has ever had. The calamari was very nice and had a lovely little salad underneath. Paz had the yellowfin tuna salad which was great, and my pad thai, while not the best ever, was quite nice. The service was fine, the dinner was $30 plus tip and they had a bitchen dessert menu, including my 2 faves, creme brulee and tiramisu.

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  1. I was just remembering the coconut soup and salivating. Seriously, that stuff on a cold winter day is just the thing.

    1. I saw that blurb in the Pioneer Press, too. Very intriguing. Thanks for reporting back! This is a soup time of year.


      1. I'm really happy to have this place in our neighborhood. It's a great addition. I foresee the tuna salad and coconut bisque becoming a staple of my diet.

        1. Do you guys in the Midway neighborhood get that little monthly newspaper? The restaurant reviewers, quite a tongue-in-cheek crew, raved and raved about it. I was set to check it out this weekend. Wanted to be the first to post on it. Crud. But even more excited to go now. Sounds like such a disgusting mix of specialties: Italian and Thai...and yet...

          1. I was there last night as well. We had the calamari, the cocnut soup and I had the pork chops which came with risotto and some really nice grilled vegetables.

            Midway is just getting better and better...

            1. I was at BonXai around 1pm today. Coconut soup, amazing as reported. Prices, stunningly low. Decor, it was like walking into another world after the noise and movement of University Ave. I appreciated the attention to detail that the kitchen gave to the dishes. However, I think that the attention that BonXai is receiving is out pacing the staff. While lunch dishes came up quickly, they sat under the warmers longer than I would prefer. There were three servers and it was a packed house. They were rushing around fast enough to make anyone's head spin and that didn't make for a comfortable meal. I watched several tables become irritated while waiting for orders to be taken. I didn't have utensils when the food came and my drink was never refilled. I did think that the tuna salad wasn't as good as it could be. (Maybe it was an off day for the fish?) Bitching aside, I think this place has tremendous potential. The chefs are creative and despite being overworked, the staff was still pleasant. I like the fact that I can walk in there and order something different and possibly challenging while my daughter can have a burger. I will be back and I hope that BonXai continues to improve. And I LOVE that soup.

              One other note. Why must there be green peppers in so many of the dishes???

              (Did I bitch too much? Is that inappropriate for the chowhound boards?)

              3 Replies
              1. re: s.again

                yeah, the thing about Bonxai that I feel is important is that they are one of the best options in the neighborhood for comfort, price and variety. I have a sense that there are some problems. The first is that they do need more staff, esp since the review. The second is that I think it is very ambitious and probably they fall short on some dishes. But I am just so happy that they are there, and the coconut soup is really special.

                1. re: AliceS

                  I'm already wishing I would have had the bowl and not the cup!

                2. re: s.again

                  >> However, I think that the attention that BonXai is receiving is out pacing the staff.

                  It's always risky visiting a small restaurant right after a favorable review in a major paper. I'm going to wait a few weeks until the initial flurry dies down. And then I'm so there! That coconut soup sounds wonderful.


                  P.S. I agree with you about green peppers - thanks for the warning.

                3. Oh man, my office used to be two blocks from what is now BonXai. The unfairness of it all!

                  But I'm still going to try it out...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Dasha

                    I play softball in St. Paul every Wed nite, and have been varying my carry out dinners amongst the Asian Joints of University Ave week by week. I stopped into Bon Xai for carry out dinner tonight. The menu is best described as completely schizophrenic. I ordered Pad Thai and Green Eggplant Curry with Risotto...both with Tofu as the protein. I'm in no hurry to go back...PT was bland & lacked peanuts, Curry had no eggplant, but plenty of green peppers. Neither dish had much flavor / spice.

                    1. re: g rote

                      Are you sure that the Green Eggplant curry didn't actually have some eggplants, too? Some Thai eggplants, when cut up, look surprisingly like green pepper chunks. But they don't taste like peppers - so you probably know whereof you speak.

                      This is just an excuse to share the reason why I know this - my green-pepper-hating husband is extremely suspicious of anything that resembles a pepper, so he makes me taste everything for him before he tries it. I have to nibble every single piece of eggplant to guarantee that it's not an evil green pepper. So I'm used to encountering them in Thai and Laotian/Cambodian/Hmong dishes.