After an iffy report from Minneapolis (of dinner at Kado no Mise), I have a very positive report from St. Paul: of lunch at one of the most reliable restaurants in the Twin Cities, On’s Kitchen. This is my third review of the Twin Cities’s best Thai restaurant. We’ve eaten there several times since my previous review and somehow it’s been 2.5 years since I’ve got to writing them up again. We were there for lunch last weekend with a small subset of our usual dining out crew and we ordered a number of old favourite dishes plus some we haven’t eaten so often. It was all very good.
It was a bloody cold day last Saturday and because the city of St. Paul doesn’t plow its alleys, the little parking area behind On’s and the neighbouring businesses was squeezed tighter than usual and it was really difficult to get in and out. This ends the negative portion of the review.
In the “old favourites” section of our order were the mango salad, the crispy shrimp, the pad sathor and the whole steamed tilapia with lime and chillies—the latter three are from the On’s Specials section of the menu. The two things we got that we hadn’t tried there before were the clams with basil (also in the On’s Specials section) and the yum khana gaeow with shrimp (from the salads section). Both were very good but we particularly liked the latter which features sliced gailan (Chinese broccoli) stems in a savoury red curry sauce (not identical in flavour to their other red curry dishes). The one less than entirely positive note was struck by the massaman curry which we got with beef. The curry was very good but the thinly sliced beef was rather overcooked. Should have got it with chicken.
For pictures of the restaurant and the food, please launch the slideshow below. For price, service, value etc. scroll down.
Oh yes, we asked for everything that was meant to be hot to be “Thai hot” and it all came out well above the normal Minnesota spicy level: the mango salad, in particular, had a big kick, and the pad sathor was no slouch in that department either.
All of this came to about $165 with tax and tip. This might seem like a lot for four adults and two small kids but we over-ate and took a lot of leftovers home. Really eight adults could have eaten all this food and been stuffed. So really it was about $20/head. The food was, as I said, very good. And perhaps because they weren’t as full as they usually are at Saturday lunch—due to the cold, doubtless—service was also more efficient than usual. Speaking of which, I didn’t see most of the familiar front of house staff—I wonder if there’s been some turnover or if this was a one-off.
Anyway, not a whole lot that’s new in this report but it’s good to be able to confirm that On’s Kitchen is as good as it ever was. And as much as we liked our meals at Thai Garden, and especially Thai Cafe, they can’t quite compare. Hmmm maybe it’s time to go back to Bangkok Thai Deli again as well. If there are other Thai places in St. Paul you’d recommend, please write in below. I’m particularly curious about Ruam Mit Thai near the Children’s Museum. The Yelp reviews don’t seem promising (despite four stars) but Yelp is Yelp.
Up next on the food front: the last of my restaurant reports from Los Angeles in December and another University Ave. report.