No, On’s Kitchen hasn’t opened a second location: this is my second review of On’s Kitchen. It’s not the only time we’ve eaten there since the first review, it’s only the second review I’ve gotten around to writing; and, in fact, it’s a compendium of our two most recent meals there. In the time since the first review—way back in late 2013 when I’d first started to post restaurant write-ups on the blog—I’ve covered a number of the other Thai places that get attention from Twin Cities foodies and food media and have confirmed what everyone knows to be true: at the top are On’s Kitchen and Bangkok Thai Deli and everyone else is well below that. What not everyone wants to say, however, is that even the better places below them are not even really in the same weight division. But rather than dwell on the shortcomings of the rest of the scene, I’ll note once again how lucky we are, in a region without a large Thai population, to have two Thai restaurants that offer up very good renditions of more than your standard-issue Thai restaurant fare, and where it is possible to get even the standard-issue fare cooked at a high level and unsweetened or otherwise watered down. Continue reading
On’s Kitchen (at 1613 University Avenue W. in St. Paul) is one of our very favourite places to eat in the Twin Cities. It is a family-owned Thai restaurant started a few years ago when owner/chef On Khumchaya left the kitchen of the Bangkok Thai Deli (further down University Avenue). There was a marked dip in the quality at Bangkok Thai Deli after she left, and we haven’t gone back since we found her again a couple of miles up the road–they may well have recovered.
Anyway: On’s Kitchen’s menu contains a lot of the familiar Thai dishes that can be found on the menu of every Thai restaurant in the US, but there are also a number of more esoteric things on it that are well worth checking out. We’ve eaten up and down the menu and every meal has been at least very good–with one exception when On was away in Thailand. Everything is made to order and has the clarity and depth of flavour which tells you that they’re not using commercial pastes or taking any shortcuts. And unlike at almost every other Thai restaurant in Minnesota the food here is not cloyingly sweet. Service can be a little bit spotty when the restaurant is full–there are only two people serving and bussing the tables–but this is really a very minor complaint. Continue reading