Some Great Pad Thai, Naviya's new Brasserie is Open
I had to get to Naviya's Thai Brasserie tonight for their opening day, got some vegetable pad thai to go, and it was SUPER GREAT. I ordered it 'high-maintenance style' (my term)- told her 'no tofu, no meat in it, just vegetables, not sweet, no ketchup, also not too salty' she went for it and delivered! great stuff. Not the most vegetarian oriented menu esp. for people who don't eat tofu....but it seems like they will tweak many dishes to leave out the meat.
This place is next to Dunn Bros., across the street from the former Linden Hills Coop, on 43d St. Prices are not super cheapy....but I am sure the stuff will be worth it...she is known for layering flavors in her dishes, this takes talent. Also doesn't use msg, a huge plus for me. I am curious to know what the other hounds think of the place, we have had some 'spirited' (dogfights?) discussions of Thai food on this board, so I know there will be no lack of opinions.
Went there tonight around 7:30 and the place was packed, which is really good news for Naviya and family. We were told by the young host that they had no tables available and that we could come back another time if we wanted. Odd. Usually people just ask for your name and tell you it will be a short wait.
We, after suggesting we would like to wait, were given a table after only about ten minutes. KInda wonder how many people didn't wait...
A very kind server explained to us that the menu is suited to American taste and really doesn't resemble traditional Thai cuisine at all. She was so right.
We ordered Tom Yum Goong, Massaman curry, and the crispy spring rolls. The spring rolls were nice, but quite oily. The sauce they were served with was bottled spring roll sauce. We have the same stuff in our house.
Tom Yum Goong is normally prepared with lemongrass, kaffir leaves, galangal, chili paste, etc. Ours came missing all of those things, and included carrots (nope), cauliflower (!), brocolli (!!), sweet onions, green onions, and japanese mushrooms. So much for authentic. Not a lick of sour, not a lick of spice, and SWEET, which it should NEVER be. Oh well.
The curry was bland and pasty with slices of pot roast in it, also served with carrots. I've eaten that dish in Thailand a LOT and have never seen it done this way.
I won't predict their demise. There is a large market for this kind of fake Thai food and they know their customers well enough to give them what they want. Good luck to the owners, it seems they are filling a market need in Linden Hills.
Cheers, sort of...
This place should definitely be called Naviya's Americanized Thai Brasserie. Although we are no expert in Thai food since we havent been to Thailand, but we have been to enough Thai restaurants in California, and around Twin Cities to somewhat know what we should expect when it comes to Thai food.
We went there on Sat evening, and it was also packed. We decided to wait for the table, and while we were waiting, we noticed the first red flag .. there were no Asian diners in the restaurant, and then there came the second red flag .. there was no Asian staffs out on the floor, and there it was .. the third red flag .. we heard the host informed one take-out customer that the food would take about an hour. We should have left right then, but it was cold out and we almost got the table so we decided to give it a try.
We ordered two small spicy lemongrass soups to start, and as Huagung already pointed out above, the soup was weirdly sweet with no lemongrass, galanga or lime leaves in sight as you would normally see those herbs in this kind of soup... there goes the fourth red flag. We ordered Rama Thai and Bangkok Hot Plate as our entrees. We waited, waited and waited, and after glasses of wine, our food never came. We were ok at first cos we enjoyed our wine and listened to the ppl around us talk. However, after about an hour later, we asked our server what happened to our food. The server explained that because we changed the table, our food orders got mixed up. Hmm .. we've never had this kind of experience anywhere if you change your seating, you would never get your food. .. so there goes the fifth red flag.
Finally, we asked for our entrees to be packed up. The Rama Thai with the peanut dressing was overly sweet, but the Bangkok Hot Plate tasted decent .. too bad we didnt get to see the sizzling hot plate at the restaurant.
Over all, the food didnt taste as good as other Thai places in the Cities that we have been to. We wish the owners well, but we will not be going back.
christine and salvage, let us know when you get there. Just read another rave from someone I know who went to the new place. I did have some interesting conversation with one of the owners who told me some Thai places pre-cook their veggies to speed things up. Naviya's does not do that, uses a very hot wok and caramelizes the veggies and meats which makes them extra tasty. You can taste the difference, and it doesn't need msg...
I went to Naviya's for the second time last night, had more great pad thai and also had crispy fried spring rolls with shitake mushrooms and other veggies...perfect, came with a sweet/spicy dipping sauce that had red chili flakes in it. Things are picking up there, they just got a liquor license and got reviewed for the new issue of SW Journal and will be in the MN monthly restaurant guide (may be featured on the cover photo ). The place is not very big, Naviya told me her old place in Richfield had 100 seats, this one is more like 40, she wanted it smaller so she could talk to the customers and keep an eye on things more easily. So , I predict it's going to be very busy very soon, not a lot of waiting area either, so I would recommend going sooner rather than later to check it out.