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Apr 14, 2007 08:19 AM

Amazing Thailand Minneapolis

Just wanted to post about the new Thai restaurant Amazing Thailand on Hennepin in Uptown. It is just terrific. I'm an infrequent poster, but often lurk, although lately have not because new baby in the last year cut down on restaurant activities.

I checked this board, and didn't see anyone else commenting on this, so I think this is a first. If someone else did, and I missed it, my apologies.

I don't claim to be a thai expert, just been looking for a long time for Thai that I like. We moved here a couple years ago and have been hunting ever since. We were completely unimpressed with the Sawatdee offerings. (Tom yum soup literally tasted like dishwater - I almost asked if they made a mistake). Tried some of the other Thai recommended on this board, e.g. True Thai on Franklin, but it also had its short comings (bad service, and the food was only so so, in our opinion).

Didn't venture over to St. Paul for Thai, admittedly.

We were pretty happy about the opening of Tum Rup Thai on Lake, but it is a little too "hip" thai ish. And pricey.

Amazing Thailand is definately better than all of those others. We could only do take out (no babysitter) but my husband said the ambience looked wonderful. We did just standard take out as a test case - satay, pad thai with chicken, spring rolls, tom yum with shrimp. Everything was wonderful and flavorful. The spring rolls were big and plump with shrimp and the dipping sauce was a nice spicy flavor. Same with the generous sized satay and wonderful dipping sauce. The pad thai must be made in advance with just meat added upon request - it had tofu in it which we do not usually order. But the flavor made up for that mistake. The pad thai order was smaller than we often see, but it easily fed both of us, with a little left over, given everything else we had ordered.

Our only complaint comes from our own ignorance - the soups were huge! We had in mind appetizer sized soups, but apparently ordered 2 dinner sized soups (that comes from not having the menu in front of us and not asking). The soups were great - and soups don't often travel well to home via take out. Really spicy, and we asked only for medium (luckily we both had colds so it helped the sinuses). And since we had so much soup, we had it in the fridge for a couple of days and it held up well.

I think the place is pretty reasonably priced. The dinner sized soups cost about half of the total bill. If we had appetizer soups (don't know if they offer them, no menu in front of us and my husband forgot to ask if they have a take out menu), the price would likely have been quite reasonable, probably about $25-$30. The dinner soups were about $14 each, and so brought the bill closer to $60.

All in all we felt this was a terrific addition to Uptown, and certainly convenient for us. I don't plan to go to any other Thai place.

I'd love to hear what other people think.

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  1. Tofu in pad thai is standard, actually. I don't know if its a Minnesota thing, or a more generalized Americanization to not have the tofu in the pad thai, but all the recipes for pad thai I have ever seen call for tofu, as well a shrimp and perhaps a meat. I will be heading to LA in a couple of weeks, and will be making a beeline to Thai Town to see how they serve pad thai there.

    I have been anxious to hear something about this place. I was skeptical about it, actually. I will have to try it now.

    6 Replies
    1. re: pgokey

      I'll admit I was (am) skeptical too. I checked out the menu the other night and they have 3 different kinds of cream cheese wontons. I couldn't imagine an authentic experience after seeing that. Husband and I were also joking about quantity of "amazing" dishes on the menu - amazing soup, amazing curry, etc. We said when we go our entire meal should be comprised of only the foods titled amazing.

      1. re: katebauer

        That's really interesting about the menu - as I noted we didn't see the menu just ordered take out blindly because we wanted to try something new. I'll look forward to your "amazing" meal!

      2. re: pgokey

        Thanks for the info - as I said, I don't claim to be a thai expert, just looking for thai I like. I cannot fathom why people like Sawatdee. We had much better Thai in Boston, where we came from. But then, I don't claim that Boston is a haven for good Thai either.

        1. re: maatre

          The big criticism of Sawatdee is that they put way too much sugar in all of their dishes. Minnesotans like it then because it's sweet, not sour. Thai food is supposed to be about a harmony of sweet, sour, and spice. Sawatdee, when it first opened, had that balance but lost it over the years. They just dump in the sugar now. Tum Rup Thai is probably the best Thai right now - they grind their own curry ingredients, no pastes.

          Uptown seems a little crowded now with Thai places - Tum Rup Thai, Sawatdee, Amazing, and Chiang Mai Thai.

          1. re: pgokey

            Oh, right. I forgot. I tried Chiang Mai Thai, too. Wasn't interested in going back, although I did just go for lunch.

            Your comment reminded me that I have a Thai cookbook languishing on my bookshelf from an attempt to try Thai at home. I realized I could not do it. It is Thai Home Cooking from Kamolmal's Kitchen By William Crawford and Kamolmal Pootaraksa. On Pad Thai, it says that the traditional home recipe "uses dried shrimp and tofu rather than fresh meat." On American restaurants, it says, "In deference to American tastes, Thai restaurants in the United States often use fresh shrimp and omit the tofu." Just like you said!

            Perhaps that's why I had not come up with tofu in the past, having only eaten in restaurants. So does that make Amazing Thai more potentially authentic, then?

            My test case is still Duangrat's in the D.C. area, where we lived a long time agoa, and a friend with SE Asian experience introduced us to Thai. Sadly, it's been so long that I don't recall whether they automatically did tofu in the pad thai or not.

            1. re: maatre

              Your desription makes Amazing sound more authentic than the other Thai places in town, yes. I am anxious to try it. I am going to wait until after eating in Thai Town in LA before eating there (partly because I am saving my money for the trip, and partly because I want a better reference point - the food in Thai Town is all really authentic (at least much more so than what we get here in MN).

              A comment on dried shrimp: when its used in pad thai, it's minced and used for seasoning, not used as a meat. It's used in addition to meat. The tofu is used as a meat substitute.

      3. I dont post on this board that often, but I always search for some comments or suggestions for restaurants in here. Since Im a Thai student here, I kinda want to share my thoughts about this Thai restaurant and other Thai restaurants for a bit.

        Ive actually been searching for 'authentic' Thai restaurants in town ever since I moved here. So far, Ive found none. Hmm .. I actually should say that only some dishes in some restaurants that are pretty close to authentic.

        Let's me start with Amazing Thailand. .. Ive been there quite a few times since they opened, and I have to say that their food are really good. There is one dish that Im quite sure you wont be able to find it in any other Thai restaurants in town. .. 'Stir Fry Chinese Broccoli with Crispy BBQ Pork'. It's really good, and this dish makes me think of my home very badly. Other dishes that Ive tried and are pretty good are
        - Laad Nah -- they also use chinese broccoli like we make it in Thailand,
        - Hot and Sour Seafood Soup -- really good and pretty authentic .. sour but very refreshing,
        - Fisherman Coconut -- I dont like this dish that much because the curry sauce is a bit too sweet for my taste, but might be just right for Americans,
        - Grilled Beef Salad and Fried Seafood Salad -- really good and also pretty authentic.
        - Hor Mok Gai (chicken cooked in chili jam) -- quite good

        I will definitely go back to Amazing Thailand (planning to go there again next Sunday), but I probably cant go there that often because it's a bit pricy for a limited budget student like me.

        Chai's -- Food in the menu there is more like 'fusion food' except for one dish that I and my Thai friends really like. .. 'Papaya Salad with small crab'. It tastes sooo good. Im 100% certain that their papaya salad is the best in town (best for Thai people though .. but maybe not for Americans). Usually Thai students ask the owner/chef (Mr.Chai) to cook other dishes off the menu, and they are all very good.

        Tum Rup Thai -- Ive been there only once, and only had appetizers (fried calamari, and crispy salmon), and grilled seafood salad. The grilled seafood salad was really good, but the other two appetizers were just okay. .. also a bit too pricy for me.

        Chiang Mai Thai -- I have no comment for this place. Been there only once, and will not go back there again as long as I live in Twin Cities.

        True Thai -- Been there only twice. The food there that Ive tried are Seafood Soup, Laab, and Chicken Satay. They are all really good, but Im not planning to go there again because the second time I and my friends went there, we were charged more than what we ordered. We just realized that we already got home, so .. I dont know even though the food there is good, we dont really want to support crooked people.

        Thai Bazil -- The Boat Noodle, and the Fried Whole Tilapia with Tomato and Basil sauce are really good. These two dishes make me think of my home so badly too. Another dish that I like is Ho Mok Pla (fish cooked in chili jam) and their bubble tea. Oh .. but their papaya salad is horrible thought. I and my friends dont like their papaya salad at all.

        Sawatdee -- Their beef jerky and fried calamari are really good, and some other dishes that I really like are Stir Fried Asparagus with Black Mushroom, Stir Fried Green Beans in Curry Sauce, Lemon Grass Noodle, and Summer Pad Thai.

        Royal Orchid -- Ive tried their Laab, Tom Yum, and Chicken in Garlic Pepper, and they are all tasty, but the service there is pretty slow though.

        These are all Thai restaurants that Ive tried in town. I know that there are more Thai restaurants out there, but Ive heard not so good comments from my Thai friends about other places, so Im not planning to go.

        Pad Thai -- Most of my Thai friends told me that the food doest not taste that good .. too sweet.
        Ruam Mit Thai -- Horrible service, and the food is just okay
        King and I Thai -- Very pricy and the the food is just okay

        Well, it's just my two cents. :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: moomon

          Wow! Thanks for your post! You've given me some great ideas for things to try on a menu to branch out beyond the basics. And other restaurants I had not even tried to locate yet.

          It's always hard - I like the basic foods so much and don't get to have them that often that it sometimes hard to try something new. Now I might even have to hunt down Chai's just for that papaya salad, even if, as an American, I don't like it as much as you do. It'd be nice just to know what it tastes like. But I'll probably go back to Amazing Thailand first, and that BBQ pork dish will be on my list.

          1. re: moomon

            Awesome post! Thank you for your take on these places.

            I also think Chai's papaya salad is the best in town (just the right amount of fish sauce). We are also big fans of their thai jerky (better than sawatdee) and spring rolls.

            I think Ms. Chai does the best work on the specials. I pretty much only get the specials now as they are so spectacular.

            Thanks again for this post!

          2. I live a few blocks from this new restaurant and will probably try it soon.

            Having been to Thailand several times (mostly Bangkok and Phuket Island), I have been disappointed with the majority of Thai restaurnts in the Twin Cities. The most original places can be found on University Avenue not far from downtown St. Paul. You'll also find some very realistic Vietnamese places as well. I found these by observing that they where filled with both Thai and Vietnamese Americans and recent immigrants. Makes sense they'd only eat what they find to be real. This has also worked well here when looking for both Chinese and Mexican cuisine. Basically if I want to find a restaurant representing a specific cuisine, I'll ask someone who either grew up in the country or immigrated from the country. Hard to miss that way.

            1. Obviously I misspoke - I meant to say I don't plan to go to any other Thai place I've already tried - but moomon's post gives good ideas about other good dishes/places that it just shows I've stopped too soon.

              1. We went to Amazing Thailand tonight and were very impressed. I was worried about feeling like I was eating in Panera but their redesign was fantastic. We ordered the fresh spring rolls as we do in every Thai and Vietnamese restaurant. They were just made (the shrimp was warm) and the rice paper was fresh and soft. I wasn't crazy about the sauce they came with - it was sort of a mix of the thick peanut satay sauce and the thinner fish sauce one. I would have preferred one or the other. As an entree I ordered the Tom Yum soup with chicken and husband got the Amazing Basil stirfry with tofu. We both ordered them as spiciness level 5 out of 5. The soup was fantastic - had enough coconut milk in it to be creamy and rich without overwhelming. At first I got nervous 5 was too spicy but we got used to it over the course of the meal and it was perfect. Husband loved the basil stirfry. I thought the veggies were great but would have preferred more substantial pieces of fresh tofu, they were very small fried pieces. They don't have a liquor license yet but the meal would have been great with a cold beer. The service was extremely friendly and attentive, without being annoying. We're definitely going back again.

                3 Replies
                1. re: katebauer

                  Have to correct something on katebauer's comment. They actually do have a liqour license. I know this for a fact because I have talked to the owner and the assistant manager, who likes to refer himself as a 'bus boy' when they first opened. What I was told was that they have been waiting for the hand-made decor stuff for the bar to done because they dont want to just open their bar if things are not perfectly finished. .. or should I say .. amazingly finished :D.

                  I was also told that during their first week, some ppl even walked out after finding out that they did not yet sell liquor. What a shame! I guess ppl have different aspect when it comes to dining in the restaurant. Drinks are just part of my meal, but not the whole point of eating my meal.

                  Why would you want anything to mask your taste bud, when you can totally enjoy the taste of your food by just drinking water :D.

                  1. re: moomon

                    Interesting. Well, the waitress specifically told us that they didn't have their liquor license when I asked for a beer because I could see the taps at the bar. It seems strange that they would cut into their revenue so much by not selling alcohol when they're legally able to.

                    As far as not going somewhere that doesn't have liquor, I totally understand that. Obviously we were very satisfied last night, but the total experience would have been much better with a wider variety of drinks. Especially on a weekend evening, my husband and I greatly enjoy going somewhere and relaxing with a glass of wine or martini over the course of our meal. Considering many people make their profession out of pairing wine with food, I think many would disagree that alcohol masks the taste of food.

                    1. re: katebauer

                      I guess it's easier for the server to just say that they dont have the license rather than explaining the whole truth.

                      In term of eating with alcoholic drinks, that's just me because most of my friends, my parents, and myself dont really drink liquor with main and heavy meal. Leisurely drinking with some light snacks is another story for us, because we enjoy doing that.

                      Anyway, as I stated, ppl have different aspect, and Im also not here to pry that everyone has to 'agree' or 'disagree' with me.