(MSP) Bangkok Thai Deli - Recs?
Wife and I are headed there with another couple. Specifically, wondering what would be considered a signature dish, and what would be good for a vegetarian. I was a bit confused by the conversation about the pork neck dish on another thread. Is that on the menu, or do I have to dig deeper?
Everything looked promising. Any Thai place that has pictures of menu options on the wall earns a star in my book. Love the tablecloths and the tableau of sauces (Hoisin?) on the side. I was ready to love this place.
The place was sweltering. I know A/C is a bourgeois amenity, but I'm bourgeois, and I want my amenity.
I wish the menu listed the Thai names for dishes, as that is what I'm familiar with.
The couple joining us ordered vegetarian spring rolls, a pork stir fry with a side of pork belly, and pad thai. Wife ordered egg rolls and pad thai, and I went with the coconut milk soup and beef with basil.
The pork dish came first, followed by the egg rolls, and decidedly non-vegetarian spring rolls. Friends asked for veggie spring rolls. After a few minutes, the waitress came back and asked if we were sure we had ordered veggie spring rolls. We were sure.
They came, along with my soup and the pad thai orders. Twenty minutes later, it occurred to me that my beef with basil might not be coming. I asked the waitress what was up, and she asked again what I had ordered.
I got a beef dish, and I could detect basil, so I guess I got what I ordered. After a bit, I had to step out to the car, on account of the heat. Our bill came to about $29, and my wife asked to put $35 on our card.
We get home, and realize they put $39 on our card, plus $6 for tip. We call, and they woman tells my wife she doesn't trust the wait staff to get it right, so we can come in and get cash back. We live in North Minneapolis. Ugh.
Alright, the food.
The egg rolls were terrible. Overcooked and chewy. Oh, well. Serves us right for ordering egg rolls.
My soup had nice flavors, and I loved the sweet onions, but it lacked the acidic punch of a tom kha kai, which is what I thought I would be getting. Still, lot's of complexity, plenty of ginger and cilantro, and little to complain about.
The pad thai was excellent. Nice balance all the way around. Probably the best I have had in the cities.
The beef was spicy, as I ordered it. Crack? No. I'm really not sure I got the right dish, here. I can't imagine anyone getting too ginned up over this.
Friends were happy with their food, and the pork looked excellent. The rice was good as well.
All in all, it probably deserves another shot (in the winter). If I'm going to whine about the lack of hole in the wall Thai in Minnesota, I can't whine too much when I get the hole in the wall experience.
The fundamentals are there for a great Thai restaurant, and the price is right (when it's not, you know, wrong). I was just really looking forward to this one.
some perspective on the atmosphere...
The fine folk who own the building housing the restaurant and other tenants have been foreclosed on and the building is going up for auction very soon. Among other cretinous acts they've done, they collected two months of rent in advance from the tenants under the guise of fixing the air conditioning system. The money was never spent and the owner long gone...
The owners of the restaurant have purchased their own building nearby and hope to move in a couple months to their new place which will have room for over 200 guests. They are busy doing make-ready work on the place now. I'll leave it to them to spill the rest of the beans on this one. But to say the summer has been an unrelenting nightmare for the tenants of the current owner of 315 University is to understate matters dearly.
Sorry I missed the thread earlier in the day. I would have like to take some time to recommend a few things to you that I mentioned in earlier threads on this place. Most of the really great food there will come from off-menu items or with a little difficulty sorting out the badgered English translations on the menu. Still don't know how they expect people to know "dried red curry" is really what most of the rest of us call "Panang Curry."
Hua Gung, sounds like you're "in the know"...maybe you have a close enough connection to the rest. owners to suggest these improvements to the menu--it would be a favor to us customers and would certainly result in even more satisfied customers and increased business to the owners.
We offered to help them translate their new menu but to no avail. It's already in Bangkok being printed and will likely contain the same curiosities as the present one. Please do note however that a fairly high percentage of their customers don't use the menu, which is pretty common practice for Thai people. They just order what they want to eat. While this is certainly different for those of us born here, for them it is utterly normal and they see no problem with it. For them, the restaurant is an extension of their home kitchen. They're not trying to be fancy. They just hope you'll like the food.
All of that said, in the new place they'll have to adjust somewhat given its size. So maybe you'll get your wish.
I notice now your comment about the Khao Moo Dang Moo Grob. That's the dish my friend wound up with (by ordering pork stir fry?), and it came with the sweet soy sauce automatically. He was very pleased with it. Since I have to go back to get cashback on the first visit, maybe I'll grab some to go.
the stir-fried 'meat' with Basil is awesome, and yeah they can make it plenty hot.
the neck dish, not sure. I asked about it and the waiter pointed to a menu item so IDK if there's a super secret neck dish, but what I had was excellent. it was #25 I believe, the descriptions don't tell you a whole lot.
I'm not sure but I believe the pork neck dish is on the menu. If not, I'm sure you can ask them about it.
My favorite is the stir fried meat with peppers dish. You can get it with any meat but I like it with beef. You can get this dish pretty spicy and it comes with rice and a fried egg. Overall a great dish.
I have to warn you though that once you had this dish you will be craving it all the time - I remember somebody here mentioning that they sprinkle crack on this dish :) Any ways it's good enough to motivate my wife and I to drive from Chaska!!
They will definitely make it spicy for you - just ask it to be spicy.
I believe they only have about 4 apps on the menu. I like their spring rolls (we normally just get the pork spring rolls. The one time we got shrimp it had an odd taste to it) and stuffed chicken wings.
I have never had any of their deserts but curious to hear how they are - please do report back if you try any of them.