Blending traditional recipes with cosmopolitan decor, Sawatdee St. Paul introduces diners to familiar dishes of pad thai and pad see ew, as well as authentic meals of whole roast duck and yellow curry pattaya crab. Guests enjoy Sawatdee's smorgasbord of southeast Asian delicacies spiced to preference; chefs promise to prepare nearly any dish at spice levels ranging from the intense heat of an erupting island volcano to the comparably tolerable mildness of a baby's tantrum.
A ring of blue neon light blazes behind the full bar, which dispenses tropical caipirinhas and thai chili bloody marys.
Using natural meats from local farms and culinary inspiration from all across Asia, skilled chefs craft dishes such as tom yum noodle soup and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches filled with Korean BBQ pork. Patrons can customize their orders of Japanese shoyu ramen with an assortment of meats and veggies, including pork belly, calamari, bok choy, and wild mushrooms. Kinsen Noodles & Bar also offers an array of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, which diners can devour while seated inside a cozy booth or standing atop a table. The restaurant's wall of mirrors reflects the cool blue glow of the bar, where mixologists concoct fruity drinks ranging from classic sangria to rum punch with coconut milk.
At Lemon Grass Thai and Sushi, Chef Ann Sengmavong draws from her travels across Asia, Europe and the United States to cultivate a menu of colorful, fragrant curries, entrees of delicate fish and savory roast duck, and fresh sushi. Thai dishes seamlessly blend complementary flavors, such as the Nuea-Sawan's savory dried beef mixed with spicy ginger and garlic, or the Black Out's earthy mix of shiitake mushrooms accented by a zesty black bean sauce. Diners at the sushi bar witness the craftsmanship and knife juggling skills that goes into each spicy salmon maki or seabass nigiri. Autumnal orange walls and blonde wood furnishing creates an earthy, inviting atmosphere in the dining area. When not whipping up curries or pan-frying noodles in the kitchen, Chef Ann teaches curious patrons in the art of Thai cooking with group lessons at Crocus Hill or private classes in clients' homes.
Stone tiles surround a serene Buddha as he presumably listens to the light chatter ricocheting off the carved wooden walls and ceiling. The cuisine at Chiang Mai Thai is just as nuanced. Chef Thi Mai Evans nods to Bangkok street food with appetizers such as chicken satay and sweet dried beef, but then turns toward southern Thailand with comforting curries spiced to the preferences of her diners. She also draws from the Thai royal family's cookbook to balance hot and sour flavors in tom yum soup. Along with piquant dishes, the candlelit Buddha Lounge encourages social dining with creative cocktails infused with thai basil and lemongrass. It also hosts events such as Back Alley Karaoke every Thursday, which is sometimes known as Friday's slightly more responsible sibling.
For a quick curry, Minneapolis' King and I Thai is a great lunch or dinner spot. Dieters beware — King and I Thai does not offer low-fat cuisine. Drinks are also on the menu here, so diners can start the night off right. For your next big bash, consider hosting at King and I Thai, a great space for big groups with a private room to boot. Open air seating is ready for diners at King and I Thai when the weather is warm. Need to catch up on some work or the latest news? Get online at King and I Thai with their complimentary wifi.
For the tastes of King and I Thai from the comfort of your next party, the restaurant also offers catering services.
You can easily find street parking near King and I Thai or pull up curbside and make use of the valet service.
Prices at King and I Thai are moderate — most diners plunk down about $30 per meal.
Chef Nong's culinary journey began in Bangkok at age 12, when she would procure supplies from the corner market and cook for her family. She spent her adolescence perfecting her mother and grandmother's recipes, and then gained extra practice when she started a family of her own.
At age 35, Nong decided it was time to share her culinary flair with members of other families. She progressed through restaurant jobs in Thailand and Malaysia before landing a gig in Minneapolis, where she earned her sriracha-soaked stripes by cooking at a number of area restaurants before opening her own eatery, Nong's Thai Cuisine.
In her own kitchen, Nong relies on her stockpile of inherited recipes to create a menu of authentic, homestyle Thai fare, which earned the eatery the distinction of Best Thai Restaurant 2010 from City Pages. Featured in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, the "perfectly timed noodles" of the pad thai carry al dente firmness, and the "high quality" curries stimulate taste buds in a more refined manner than chili pepper stimulates the eye. Flavors of tamarind and papaya infuse salads and stir-fries, and crisp veggies top noodle dishes, all calibrated to customer-chosen levels of heat.