May 062012

Cuisine: Asian Variety, Chinese, Thai
Restaurant Features: Bar, Gluten-Free Menu
Locations: Edina, Minnetonka and Roseville
Addresses and Maps:
Roseville (Rosedale Center) – 1705 Highway 36 West  Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 636-7173
Edina – 3669 Galleria Edina, MN 55435 (952) 928-7888
Minnetonka (Ridgedale Center)-  12649 Wayzata Blvd Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 797-9888
Hours:Mon-Thurs 11am-9:30pm * Fri-Sat 11am-10pm * Sun 11:30am-9pm
Links: Big Bowl Website * Big Bowl Facebook PageGoogle Map

Atmosphere: There are several Big Bowl locations in the areas of Minneapolis and Chicago.  The Roseville location is found inside Rosedale Center on the same side of the mall as AMC Theaters, Granite City and Flame. The dining room is big and decorated with a contemporary Asian flair.  There are tables in various shapes and sizes, as well as booths along the outer walls.  There is also a bar area to the left of the entrance.

Menu: Appetizers include Chicken Potstickers, Veggie Potstickers, Chicken Dumplings, Veggie Dumplings, Spicy Sichuan Green Beans, Crispy Garlic Tofu, Grilled Chicken Satay, Chicken and Shrimp Eggroll,  Barbeque Spareribs, Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps, Thai Herb Calamari, Spicy Sichuan Eggplant, and Summer Rolls (Chicken, shrimp or Veggie).

Soups and Salads include Dumpling Noodle Soup, Vietnamese Noodle Soup (Pho), Chinese Hot & Sour Soup, Tom Yum Shrimp Soup, Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles, House Mixed Salad Greens, Asian Chicken Salad, Mandarin Chicken Salad, and Lucky 8 Vegetables & Tofu.

Chinese Chicken dishes include Kung Pao, Ginger Chicken, Spicy Cashew, Orange, and Sesame Chicken.  Beef Dishes include Kung Pao, Spicy Sichuan Beef, Beef & Broccoli, Mongolian Beef, and Seven Flavor Crispy Beef.  Seafood Dishes include Sweet Ginger Sea Scallops & Shrimp, Shanghai Shrimp & Scallops, Teriyaki Glazed Salmon, and Black Pepper Scallops.

Fried Rice options include Teriyaki Chicken, Teriyaki Shrimp, and Barbeque Pork.  There is also an Unfried Jasmine Rice dish.  Chinese Noodle Dishes include Kung Pao Tofu and Spinach, Kung Pao Chicken and Noodles, Steak & Noodles, and Sichuan Pork Belly with Noodles.

Thai Specialties include Red Hot Pepper Chicken Noodles, Thai Hot Pepper Chicken (or Shrimp) with Basil & Peanuts, Bangkok Shrimp & Scallops and Thai Shrimp Fried Rice.  Pad Thai is Big Bowl’s signature dish, try it with Vegetables/Tofu, Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon.  Big Bowl also has a make-it-yourself Stir-Fry bar option.  You choose your vegetables, meat, sauce, and noodles and they will cook it for you.

There are also a number of Curries including  Spicy Thai Green Vegetable Curry, Yellow Curry Vegetables, Yellow Curry Chicken with Sweet Green Beans, and Claypot Shrimp Panang, and Claypot Panang Curry Chicken.

Big Bowl also offers a Gluten-Free Menu, which includes many of the above items.

Desserts include Coconut Tapioca Pudding, Mango Cheesecake, Honey Apple Crisp, Homemade Double Chocolate Brownie, Lucky Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, and Mochi of the Moment (ice cream and sweet rice).
Price guide: Appetizers $5-7 Entrees $12-18

What we ordered: We started with a round of drinks, I had a Mai Tai, with a traditional mix of light and dark rum, pineapple and lime juices.  Delicious, albeit on the short side.

Later I tried a Margarita, a mix of Sauza white tequila, cointreau, and Yuzu sour.

One of my companions ordered the Ginger Jameson, made with fresh Ginger.

One of us had the Red Sangria

Another companion had the Passion Fruit White Sangria.

For the inconvenience of seating out party of twelve at two different tables, they sent out some complimentary appetizers, including these Steamed Veggie Dumplings ($5.95) served in the house soy-ginger sauce.  The order came with five plump dumplings.

We also tried the Pork Potstickers ($5.95), which also came with five in the order.  These were pan fried to give them a crispy, golden brown crust.  They were served with the soy-ginger sauce, hot mustard and sweet plum sauce for dipping.

For my entree I asked for a recommendation of something spicy and the server suggested the Claypot Chicken Panang Curry ($12.95), so that is what I ended up ordering.  The base of this dish was the delicious, thick peanut-coconut curry, stuffed with pieces of all natural white meat chicken, red bell pepper and snow pea pods.  It had a lot of flavor but only a slight kick to it as far as spice goes.

One of my companions ordered the Pad Thai with Pork ($12.95).  This was a big pile of rice noodles, stir fried with big pieces of barbeque pork, basil, eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts and fresh lemon and herbs.  It looked and smelled great!

One of my companions had the Mongolian Beef ($14.95), a traditional Chinese dish with big tender chunks of beef, shitake and button mushrooms, shredded carrot and green onions in a sauce made with hoisin and soy.

Another companion had the Veggie Stir Fry with tofu, broccoli, green beans, carrots, peppers and onions with Chinese rice noodles.

For dessert we shared a Double Chocolate Lava Brownie

Service: Our visit to Big Bowl was on a busy Saturday night, with a reservation for 12 people made a month in advance.  We had to wait 30 minutes past the reservation time before they could arrange space for us.  When we were seated, they put four of us in a booth and the other eight were seated at two nearby tables that had been put together.  It was very awkward and completely separated our party into two.  For this “inconvenience” they brought us complimentary appetizers.  While we were sitting, the hostess had sat a table fo two at the booth next to ours and three minutes later another employee came rushing over to their table where we overheard her telling that could sitting there that they had to be moved, that that particular table was reserved for someone else and they didn’t seem very apologetic about it. My companions and I were appalled by it. As for the rest of our service, drinks took some time coming from the bar but once we put in our dinner orders, they didn’t seem to take any longer for our party of twelve than it would’ve for a much smaller group.
Overall Impression: This was my second time ever visiting Big Bowl, the first was about five years ago.  Big Bowl is a chain restaurant that prides themselves on using fresh ingredients sourced locally and naturally raised meats.  I liked the fresh ingredients and overall our food was pretty good but the service was less than stellar.  I personally won’t be rushing back anytime soon.
Big Bowl on Urbanspoon

Nov 072011

Cuisine: Thai, Chinese, Asian Variety,
Restaurant Features:Lunch Buffet, On-Site Parking

Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4440 Highway 61 North  White Bear Lake, MN 55110  651-653-9781

Hours: Dine-In /Take out  Mon-Sat 11am-8pm Lunch Buffet M-F 11-2pm

Links: Sam Thai Cuisine Website  * Sam Thai on Facebook *   Google Map
Atmosphere: Located within a strip mall, Wild Ginger has just 10-12 tables available in the dining room (seats 24).  It is decorated with a variety of Thai art and sculptures.
Menu: Appetizers include Butterfly Shrimp, Thai Style Beef Jerky, Chicken Wings, Thai Spicy Wings, Cream Cheese Wontons, Steamed or Fried Dumplings, Egg Rolls, Fresh Spring Rolls, Fried Tofu, Thai Style Fried Wontons, Pork Toast, Chicken Satay, Tawd Mun (fish cakes), and Ka Nom Bueang (shrimp and coconut wrapped in an omelet).

Soups offered Egg Drop, Chicken Rice, Hot and Sour, Silver Thread Noodle, Spinach and Thai pork, Won Ton, Tom Kha (with choice of meat),  Tom Yum (choice of meat), Baa Mee Hmo Dang (noodles with BBQ Pork), and Rice Noodle Soup.

Salads offered at Sam Thai Cuisine include Laab, Steak Laab, Som Tum (shredded papaya with peanuts and dried shrimp), Yum Nua, and Yum Woon Sen.

Thai Curry Entrees include Gang Dang (red curry, coconut milk, basil, veggies), Gang Keow Wan (green curry), Gang Pah, and Pa Nang.

Thai Noodle Dishes include Pad Thai, Rad Na, Pad See Yew, and Pad Khee Mao.

Thai Entrees at Sam Thai Cuisine include Rama Long Srong, Pad Him Ma Parn, Pad Hoo Raa Pha, Pad Khing, Pad Priew Wan, Pad Prig, Pad Prig Khing, Pla Rad Prig.  Thai style rices include Thai Fried Rice, Pineapple Fried Rice, and Thai Curried Fried Rice.

Chinese Entrees include Fried Rice, Chow Mein, Subgum Chowmein, Egg Foo Young, Lomein, Chop Suey, Chicken Almond Ding, Chicken Cashew, Chicken Hung Shiu, Lemon Chicken, Chicken with Pea Pods, Sweet & Sour, Kung Pao, Mongolian, Sesame Chicken, Moo Goo Gai Pan, and Szechuan Beef, Chicken or Pork.

Price guide: Appetizers $4-8  Thai Entrees $9-15  Chinese Entrees $5-10
What we ordered: We started with an order of Chicken Wings which were excellent; lightly breaded and crispy but juicy inside.

We also tried the Pineapple Fried Rice, which might be one of my new favorite dishes.  The rice was seasoned perfectly and was much more savory than I expected.  The pineapple and raisins added a little bit of sweetness but perfectly complimented the savory.  An extra bonus in both texture and flavor were the cashews that topped the dish.

We also ordered the Pad Woon Sen with Beef, which is another of pur favorite Thai dishes.  The base of this dish is the translucent, skinny fat-free rice noodles that is piled with steamed broccoli, tomato, onion, egg, and thin slices of beef.  This dish is so simple yet packs so much flavor.  It is tossed with spicy red chili and Thai seasonings.

Green Curry (Gang Keow Wan ) A combination of coconut milk, Thai green curry paste, herbs, bamboo shoots, vegetables, and chicken. This is one of my favorite Thai dishes! It has a ton of kick and the vegetables soak up the flavor of the coconut milk just perfectly.

The rice that accompanied our entrees was served in the form of a heart which I thought was a nice touch.

One dish I tried that I have never had before was the Pad Khing.  This dish was very flavorful, with a blend of sliced peppers, onions, to different varieties of mushroom and tangy ginger in a ginger-based sauce.  The Pad Khing comes with choice of meat and I ordered shrimp.  There were 6-8 large shrimp in the order and they were perfectly cooked.  We both liked this dish very much and would definitely order it again.

Service: You can expect to be greeted by Sam, restaurant owner and sole server, who is friendly and personable with his customers.  All dishes are made-to-order but prepared in a reasonable amount of time.
Overall Impression: Sam Thai Cuisine is some of the best Thai food that you will find in the northeast suburbs, it is always a treat to eat there (dine-in or take out!).  Great lunch buffet

This is an original review of Sam Thai Cuisine on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Sam Thai Cuisine (formerly Wild Ginger) on Urbanspoon

Aug 262010

Cuisine: Street Foods from around the Equator:  Asian, Caribbean, Mexican, South American, and Polynesian
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar
Location: Minneapolis (Uptown)
Address: 2916 Hennepin Ave  Minneapolis, MN  55408  ( 612) 824-7878

Hours: Sun-Thurs  4:30pm-1am   Fri-Sat  4:30p-2am

Links: Chino Latino Website * Chino Latino on FacebookGoogle Map

Outside Chino Latino

Outside Chino Latino

Atmosphere:  Chino Latino is located in Uptown on Hennepin Ave at Lake St (across from Calhoun Square).  It is a cool and chic restaurant that runs two stories, with most tables set closely together.  Most of the tables are big enough for larger parties, but there is also a extra-long community table on the lower level that allows for much bigger parties.  One side of the restaurant hosts a sushi bar, the other side has a giant bar that illuminates the entire restaurant with its orange glow.  The kitchen is on the lower level, as are the bathrooms.
Inside Chino Latino

Inside Chino Latino

Inside View of Chino Latino

Inside View of Chino Latino

Menu: The Menu at Chino Latino is printed on a daily basis, so items may vary depending on season and availability.

Tacos include Barbacoa (shredded beef), Tinga (stewed chicken), Crunchy Carne, and Mijangos (stewed chicken).

Sushi Options include Chipotle Salmon Roll, Salmon Roll, White Tiger Roll, Tuna Tataki, Weed Eater, Kalifornia Krab Roll, Spicy Mango Shrimp Caterpillar Roll, Ring of Fire Roll, and Sushi Sampler.

Little Dishes on my visit included Habanero Poppers, Queso Fundido, Chinese BBQ ribs, Black Laab (Thai lettuce wraps),  Jerk Chicken Skewers, Shrimp Feast, Tostada de Tinga, Firecracker Wings, Popocatepe (nacho-style fries), Potstickers, Shrimp Wraps, Shrimp Lollopops, Plum Blossom Salad, Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Cup, Empanada de Janeiro, Pescado Ahumado, Satay, Nachos del Sol, Chicken Enchiladas, Calamari, Mushi-Buro Beef, Crispy Saigon Rolls, Spicy Edamame, and Polynesian Pupu Platter.

Bigger Dishes to Share include Carne Asada Ala Moreliana (taco platter), Coconut Shrimp Curry, Mahi Mahi, Lo Mein, Philippine Paella, Fish Taco Platter, Banana Boat Chicken, Cuban Pork Roast, Mandarin Beef Stir Fry, Jerked Chicken, Big Chipotle Burrito, Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice, Miso Noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, Argentine Rodizio Roast, Cuban Pig Roast, and Cuy (roasted Guinea Pig).

Dessert Options include Deep Fried Snickers, Molten Chocolate Cake, Fried Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream, S’Mores Platter, Chocolate Flandango (flan layered with chocolate cake), Brownie Tres Leches, Fried Ice Cream, Mango Spiced Cake, Ice Cream, and Banana Split.

There are countless “Hot Zone Cocktails” at Chino Latino including a variety of Mojitos, Martinis, Margaritas, and many other fruity drinks.  Several Beers and Wines also available.

Price guide: Tacos $3-4  Sushi $12-25  Little Plates $7-17  Big Plates  $19-35  Desserts $6-14

What we ordered: **Must warn you that these photos are not very good, I was forced to use flash because of the eerie orange glow**

I started with the House Margarita, made with Sauza, fresh lime juice and Triple Sec.  Maybe I have gotten spoiled with all the sweet margaritas I have had lately, but I thought this margarita was terrible! It was bitter and strong, no matter how many limes I squeezed into it, it did not get much better.  A few of my friends had the same one and enjoyed it.  Must be a matter of preference, but I would not get it again.

Margarita ~ Chino Latino

Margarita ~ Chino Latino

I ordered the Pescado Ahumado, a delicious dish of bite-size pieces of smoked swordfish tossed in a light, creamy citrusy dressing, served with fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, and thick corn tortilla chips.  I loved it!  The smokiness of the fish was subtle but gave it such a nice flavor, there was no hint of fishiness at all.  The texture of the swordfish was very dense, almost more like poultry than fish.  Excellent choice!

Pescado Ahumado ~ Chino Latino

Pescado Ahumado ~ Chino Latino

One of my companions ordered the Chicken Enchiladas.  There were 3-4 corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken and black beans, then covered with a spicy chile salsa and topped with shredded lettuce, sour cream and tomatoes.  I tried some of these enchiladas and thought they were good, but not a highlight on the Chino Latino menu.  So many other fun and yummy things to try!

Chicken Enchiladas ~ Chino Latino

Chicken Enchiladas ~ Chino Latino

Another companion ordered Fried Rice with Chicken.  This was a giant order of fried rice, with tons of peppers, green onion, egg and chicken.  Absolutely delicious!

Chicken Fried Rice ~ Chino Latino

Chicken Fried Rice ~ Chino Latino

Another companion ordered the Potstickers, an order of six large pan-fried dumplings stuffed with chicken and vegetables.  Served with a ginger-soy dipping sauce.  Very yummy!

Postickers ~ Chin Latino

Postickers ~ Chin Latino

Another companion ordered the Ochos Rios Jerk Chicken Skewers, one of the best things that I tried! The chicken was very spicy and served with a delicious, refreshing mango pico de gallo.  The sweetness of the mango was the perfect compliment to the spicy chicken.

Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa ~ Chino Latino

Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa ~ Chino Latino

Another companion ordered the Nachos del Sol.  These nachos were unlike most you might be familiar with, because they were served with fried plantain chips instead of tortilla chips.  The bowl contained black beans, chorizo, pico de gallo, queso fresco, sour cream and jalapenos for dipping the chips.

Nachos ~ Chino Latino

Nachos ~ Chino Latino

And last but not least, is the Sushi Sampler that two of my companions shared.  Just one look at this tray and I was envious of their choice! For $25, this is the best sushi deal you can get at Chino Latino because you get to try the Tiger Shrimp Roll, Mango Shrimp Caterpillar Roll, Wasabi Tuna Balls, and Chipotle Salmon Roll.  Outstanding sushi!

Sushi Platter ~ Chino Latino

Sushi Platter ~ Chino Latino

Service: We had very good service while at Chino Latino.  We had a party of eight without a reservation but they were able to seat us without too long of a wait.  The drinks took some time and the food was brought out as it was made, so we were all eating at different times.  One thing that is very nice is that Chino Latino has some round tables and booths made for up to 10 people so we were all able to conversate more intimately and there is a lazy-susan in the middle of the table to easily share dishes.
Overall Impression: I love the food at Chino Latino and think the concept of  “street foods from the hot zones” is absolutely genius.  I wish the prices were a little more affordable so I could eat there often and try everything on the menu!

Chino Latino on Urbanspoon

May 282009

Cuisine: Thai
Restaurant Features: Bar (Beer & Wine)
Location: White Bear lake, MN
Address: 2186 3rd Street, Suite 111  White Bear Lake, MN 55110 (651) 407-8424
Hours: M-Th 11:30a-9p      Fri 11:30-9:30         Sat 12p-9:30p      Sun 4-8pm
Links: Ban Thai Website Google Map


Atmosphere: Located in the heart of Downtown White Bear lake, Ban Thai restaurant is just across the street from Washington Square.  The dining area of Ban Thai is one big open space, with several simple square tables placed throughout.  The lighting was dim, with lamps softly glowing here and there around the room.

Menu: Appetizers at Ban Thai include Fried Wontons, Sri Racha Shrimp in a Blanket, Phuket Fishcakes, Chicken Wings, Chicken or Pork Satay, Thai Fried Tofu, Vegetarian Eggrolls, Rayong’s Famous Eggrolls, Veggie Springrolls, and Fresh Bangkok Springrolls.

Soups and Salads include Thai Style Salad, Spicy Squid Salad, Tom Kha Gai, Tom Yum Goon, Tom Yum Gai, Gang Poh Tak, Chiang Rai Tofu Soup, and Thai Chicken Rice Soup.

Rice & Noodle Dishes include Thai Jasmine Rice,  Thai Sticky Rice, Mee Siam, Thai Curry Noodle, Seafood Noodle Soup, Pad See Ew, Sen Yai Lard Na, Pad Woon Sen, Pad Thai, Thai Curry Fried Rice, Thai Fried Rice, and Thai Pineapple Rice.

Ban Thai Entrees include Yellow Curry, Gang Masman Curry, Green Curry, Red Curry, Gang Panang,  Laab Khai, Laab Moo, Som Tom (papaya salad), Nua Pad Prik, Tod Kratiam Prik, Pad Med, Pad Khing, Pad Bai Horapa, Pad Kow Pode, Pad Prio Wan, Pad Pak, Pad Prik Khing, Pad Asparagus, Pad Broccoli, and Pra Ram Rong Song.

Specialty menu items include Pla Tord, Pla Tord Rad Prik, Khai Leaw Moo Sab, Ban Thai Khai Yad Sai, Pad Ped Pla, and Pad Ped Talay.

Price guide: Appetizers $4-7   Soups/Salad $4-14      Noodles/Entrees $11-14
What We ordered: My companions and I started with the chicken satay appetizer, which turned out to be a disappointment.  The chicken was seasoned with curry and then grilled.  I thought the chicken tasted alright but it was slightly dry because the size of each of the four skewered pieces was quite small- together they would not have added up to a full chicken breast.  The peanut sauce that was served on the side was different than any peanut sauce my companions and I had tried before, this was curry-based.  It had a thin consistency and there was a strong flavor (maybe vinegar?) that overpowered any hint of sweetness from the peanut and coconut. I liked the cucumber salad enough but I wouldn’t order this again.


We also shared the Fresh Spring Rolls, which came in four pieces.  The rice paper wraps were filled with thin noodles, fresh lettuce, carrots, beansprouts, mint, and shrimp.  Standard spring rolls but they were really good and came with a side of peanut sauce for dipping.


My companions and I each ordered something different so that we could share our dishes.  We had the Gang Khiao Wan which is the Green Curry.  There were sweet peas, potatoes, zucchini, bamboo shoots, sweet basil, and the meat we chose for this dish was chicken. All of these ingredients were simmered in a sweet delicious broth of coconut milk, green curry and red pepper flakes to make it spicy.  I really liked the flavor of the curry broth, but I think I prefer a different combination of vegetables and it could have been a bit spicier for my taste, we ordered a 2-3 on a scale of 1 to 5.


We also had the Pad Thai with Shrimp, which was very good.  The skinny rice noodles were stir-fried to a golden brown with homemade Pad Thai sauce, bamboo shoots, onions, egg and approx. six shrimp.  It was topped with green onions and peanuts.  I thought this dish was very good and had a lot of flavor but the portion was smaller than I expected for $14.


One of my companions ordered the Pra Ram Rong Song which is the usual favorite at Thai restaurants, but the version served at Ban Thai was not a big hit.  The presentation of this dish was very nice, with the curry peanut chicken sitting atop a bed of baby spinach.  However, the curry peanut sauce was the same used with the satay; it was almost too runny and not very sweet.  This was unanimously the least favorite of the three entrees.


Service: Our service was very good, but then again it was late on a Tuesday evening and we were just about the only guests eating that late.  Our server was the owner of the restaurant and she was very nice and answered questions we had about the menu.
Overall Impression: Most of the Thai food at Ban Thai was good, but not nearly as good and more expensive than as the other Thai restaurant in the area, Wild Ginger (aka Sam Thai Cuisine which I LOVE!).   I had been wanting to try Ban Thai since they opened but now that I have tried it, it may be a long time before I visit again.
Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

May 132008

Cuisine: Thai
Restaurant Features: Bar, Valet Parking

Location: Downtown Minneapolis
Address: 1346 LaSalle Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612)332-6928  Fax: (612)338-4293
Hours d
ining Room: Mon-Thur 4:30pm-10pm,  Fri-Sat 4:30pm-11pm
Lounge: Mon – Sat 4:30 – 2am

Links: King & I Thai Website * King & I on FacebookGoogle Map


Atmosphere: The restaurant was nice, but not as glamorous as I was expecting (not sure why I was expecting more?). King & I Thai is located in the lower level of a multi-level building, and has a Garden-Level entrance on the left side in the front of the building.  The inside of the restaurant was divided into a couple of main spaces, the Restaurant and the Lounge (which has a separate entrance).  We sat in the dining room, where there were wooden tables and a few large u-shaped booths. The restaurant was not overly decorated, but there were several statues of the Theravada Buddha, the symbol of Thailand’s predominant religion.

Although I did not sit in the Lounge area, I did sneak a peak on my way to the Restrooms.


Menu: Appetizers include Egg Rolls, Chicken Satay, Chicken or Mock Duck Curry Puffs, Cream Cheese Rolls, Steamed Mussels, Fried Calamari, Grilled Shrimp, and Fried Tofu.

Salads include Shrimp and Lemon grass, Spicy Steak, Laab, and Silver Thread Noodles.  Soups include Tom Kha, Tom Yum, Sriracha and Rice Noodle Soup.

Rice and Noodle Dishes offered: House Pad Thai, Bangkok Pad Thai, Pad Seyu, King & I Fried Rice, Pineapple Fried Rice, Sriracha Fried Rice, Indian Curry Fried Rice, Spicy Holy Basil Fried Rice, and Pattaya Fried Rice.

Hot and Spicy dishes served with your choice of chicken, beef or shrimp include: Holy Basil Sauce, Roasted Hot Pepper Sauce, Red Curry, Palatial Coconut Cream Sauce, Garlic and Thai Chili Sauce, and Gaeng Puk with chicken.

Savory and Mild Dishes include Egg Blanket Wrap, Beef with Fresh Ginger, Rich Peanut Sauce with spinach, Thai-Style Sweet and Sour, and Black Pepper Pork.

The Specialty Dishes at King & I are: Chef’s Special Curry (changes daily), Walleye Filet (Thai Chili and Coconut Cream), and Jumbo Prawns.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-10  Soups and Salads $8-15  Rice and Noodles $11-19  Hot & Spicy $16-25  Mild & Savory $17-23  Specialties $20-25
What we ordered: **Please note that the portions at King & I Thai are quite large and are meant to be served “Family-Style”.

To start with we tried the Cream Cheese Rolls.  A nice change from the standard wonton shape, these rolls were filled with a mild-garlic flavored cream cheese and were nice and crispy.  I love the Thai spicy sweet and sour dipping sauce.


Steamed Mussels.  These were really good but SPICY hot.  I enjoyed the spice but my companions thought it was almost too hot to eat.  The mussels were cooked perfectly.

Pad Thai with vegetables.  I thought the noodles were very flavorful and not at all sticky.  There was a  ton of broccoli and pea pods mixed in.  Huge portion!


Chef’s Special Curry:  Sweet Green Curry with potatoes, carrots, pea pods, onions and chicken.  This was delicious!


Lemon-grass Salad: FRESH really good cold shrimp, cabbage, red onions and tomatoes and a light
lemon dressing.


Pattaya Fried Rice with shrimp, scallops, pineapple and cashews.


Service: Reservations were easy to come by in advance. My party and I purposely visited on the night of the Dining Out for Life charity event.  The restaurant was not busy for our 7:30 reservation time, but the restaurant was packed by 9pm.  The service was decent, but because it was so busy, food and drinks took a longer time than expected.  In fact, we had ordered mussels and they forgot to bring them to us until we reminded them, and then the mussels showed up at the same time as the rest of the dinner (about 45 minutes after we initially ordered).  The server was nice and helpful with ordering, but was definitely trying to up-sell us on everything and was somewhat pushy about ordering drinks and desserts.  We were not in a hurry, but it took our server a good 20 minutes to come back to our table to collect our $ and CC after she left us the bill.

Also, there is not a parking lot for King & I Thai, but they do offer Valet Parking for $5.  Other option is on-street parking.

Overall Impression: I thought the food was very good, but expensive ( dishes are meant to be served family-style).  Nice atmosphere, a good place for sharing a delicious Thai meal with friends.
King & I Thai on Urbanspoon

Apr 192008

Cuisine: Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, On-Site Parking

Location: Maplewood
Address: 1715-A Beam Avenue  Maplewood, MN 55109   651-747-1000  ***Located at the end of a large strip mall (next to Marshall’s)
Links: Bambu Website * Bambu Facebook PageGoogle Map


Atmosphere: Very romantic with dim lighting, candles atop white table-cloths, and richly colored walls.  There are both circular and square tables, which can easily be combined for larger parties.


Bambu also has a lovely bar area and boasts wonderful drink specials.


Menu: Appetizers include Chicken Wings, Egg Rolls, Pot Stickers, Fried Tofu, Calamari, Spring Rolls, Wontons, Shrimp, Fresh Mussels, and Pan-Seared Scallops.  Salad/soups include Bambu Asian Salad, Thai pineapple Chicken Salad, Spicy Thai Beef Salad, Vietnamese Noodle Salad, Egg Drop Soup, Hot & Sour Soup, Wonton Soup, Vietnamese Chicken Noodle.

Chinese Entrees include General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Sesame Chicken, Beef or Shrimp, Kung Pao Chicken, Orange Chicken, Mandarin Chicken, Lemon Chicken, Cashew Chicken.  The following entrees can be served with either chicken, pork, tofu, mock duck, beef, shrimp or scallops: Broccoli Stir-Fry, Hunan Chicken, Sizzling Duck, Tiger Pork, Sizling Black Bean Sauce, Coconut Curry, Ginger or Oyster Stir-fry, Garlic Baby Bok Choy, Egg Fu Young, Chinese Chow Mein, Vietnamese Chow Mein, Singapore Noodles, Pineapple Stir fry, Hong Kong Wontons, Lomein, Fried Rice, Mu Shu Wrap and Chicken Almond Ding.

Thai Entrees include Thai Hot Curry Fried Rice, Pineapple Fried Rice, Yellow Chicken Curry, Pad Thai, Penang Red, Thair Stir-Fried Rice Noodles, Red Salmon Pineapple Curry, Green Mahi-Mahi Curry, Spicy & Sweet Blast Curry, Massaman Chicken Stir-Fry, Spicy Chicken, Basil Stir-Fry and Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice.

Vietnamese Entrees include Salted Shrimp, Fried Rice, Garlic Catfish, Vietnamese Rice Platter, Fried Potato with Beef, Lemon Frog legs, Tamarind Shrimp, Grilled Beef and Shrimp & Beef.

Bambu also serves a large variety of Pho, an authentic Vietnamese beef broth served over rice noodles and Asian vegetables.

Seafood Entrees include Waleye, Seafood in Black Bean Sauce, Sea Bass, Triple Delight, Thai Seafood Linguine Curry.

Price guide: Appetizers $4.50-8  Salads/soups $3-11  Seafood $12-17  Chinese Entrees $9-13  Thai Entrees $9-17  Vietnamese Entrees $ 8-17  Pho $7-9
What we ordered: To start, we tried the calamari.  It was lightly breaded and served with stir-fried green and white onions.  I had never had calamari prepared this way, but I really enjoyed the blend of flavors.  I thought the serving was quite generous.


We ordered the Masaman Chicken Stir-Fry, a sweet green curry with chicken, onions, avocado and cashews.  I have never had a curry like this before, but I loved the flavor and texture of the dish.  This was also a very large portion of food.


We also ordered the Fried Potatoes with Beef.  The potatoes were crispy and the beef was tender and plentiful.


Fried Rice.  I cannot remember which fried rice we ordered, but it was pretty good.


My companion also ordered  lemonade and it was not only homemade, but hand-squeezed to order; both sugary and tart at the same time!

Service: Our service was exceptional! The server was very friendly and offered several suggestions from the menu.  Food was prepared in a timely manner and after compliments to the chef, the chef came out to talk with us.  By chance the owner was visiting the restaurant and also stopped to talk with me and my companion.  Everyone was really nice and talkative.
Overall Impression: Bambu is the total package and is my new favorite restaurant in the Northeast suburbs! The food, atmosphere and service were all superior.  A must-try!
Bambu on Urbanspoon

Feb 292008

***Formerly known as Wild Ginger under the same ownership***

Cuisine: Thai, Chinese, Asian Variety,
Restaurant Features:Lunch Buffet, On-Site Parking

Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4440 Highway 61 North  White Bear Lake, MN 55110  651-653-9781

Hours: Dine-In /Take out  Mon-Sat 11am-8pm Lunch Buffet M-F 11-2pm

Links: Sam Thai Cuisine Website Google Map
Atmosphere: Located within a strip mall, Wild Ginger has just 10-12 tables available in the dining room (seats 24).  It is decorated with a variety of Thai art and sculptures.


Thai appetizers include  Beef Jerky, Chicken wings, cream cheese wonton, dumplings, egg rolls, spring rolls, chicken satay.  Thai salads include Laab, Som Tum, Yum Nua, and Yum Woon Sen.  Thai curries are Gang Dang (red),  Gang Keow Wan (sweet green), Gang Pah (country curry),and Panang.  Thai noodles offered are Pad Thai, Rad Na, and Pad See Yew.  Thai entrees include Rama Long Srong, Pad Him Ma Pam, Pad Hoo Raa Pha, Pad Khing, Pad Priew Wan, Pad Prig, Pla Rad Prig.

Chinese dishes include fried rice, chow mein, egg fo young, lomein, chop suey.  Entrees include (chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp)  Sweet & sour, Almond ding, Cashew, Lemon grass, Broccoli, Kung pao, Szechuan, Mongolian

Price guide:
Lunch Buffet $7.50  Thai entrees $8-10
What we ordered:

Chicken satay I especially loved the peanut sauce and the cucumber garnish that came with the satay.

Thai Beef Jerky

Green Curry (Gang Keow Wan ) A combination of coconut milk, Thai green curry paste, herbs, bamboo shoots, vegetables, and chicken.  This is one of my favorite  Thai dishes! It has a ton of kick and the vegetables soak up the flavor of the coconut milk just perfectly.  Wildgingergreencurry1000

Rama Long Srong- Mixed of gold peanut curry sauce with coconut milk on the bed of steamed young spinach. I love the sweetness of this dish, the peanut sauce is wonderful.

Chicken Panang-  Chicken in a zesty blend of herbs, kaffir lime leave and coconut milk.

Sweet and Sour Chicken (Thai style)- Mix of pineapple, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, scallions and onions stir fried in Thai sweet and sour sauce.

The owner of Wild Ginger, Sam, is a very nice man and provides 100% of the service at Wild Ginger.  Refills are do-it-yourself.
Overall Impression: Awesome Thai cuisine, decent Chinese. Excellent lunch buffet with a variety of both Thai and Chinese dishes, at a very reasonable price. The small space of the restaurant often is completely filled during lunch buffet hours (11-2pm).
Wild Ginger on Urbanspoon

Aug 062007

*****A NEWER Review of Big Bowl Chinese & Thai dated 5/6/12 can be found here*****

Cuisine: Chinese and Thai

Restaurant Features: Bar

Locations: Roseville (site of this review), Edina, Wayzata


Roseville (Rosedale Center)  1705 Highway 36 West  Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 636-7173

Edina 3669 Galleria Edina, MN 55435 (952) 928-7888

Minnetonka (Ridgedale Center)  12649 Wayzata Blvd Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 797-9888

Links: Big Bowl Website * Big Bowl Facebook PageGoogle Map


Atmosphere: Located inside Rosedale Mall, Big Bowl is a large restaurant with a trendy Asian flair.  There are several booths around the edges of the dining area and in the bar area, with many smaller tables within the middle.  At the back of the restaurant near the kitchen is an area for make-your-own stir-fry.


Menu: Appetizers include steamed Chinese dumplings, veggie or chicken pot stickers, hot buns filled with pork, chicken satay, egg rolls, Thai-beef lettuce wraps, shrimp summer roll, teriyaki spare ribs, calamari, and a few soups and salads.  Thai curry dishes include yellow curry with chicken or veggies, panang curry chicken, scallop and shrimp citrus curry, thai green vegetable curry.  Chicken dishes include kung pao, orange peel, lemon chicken, chicken with vegetables, and Thai hot pepper chicken.  Beef dishes include Mongolian, Kung pao, and beef with broccoli.  Seafood dishes include crunchy sichuan cashew shrimp, Thai hot pepper shrimp with basil and peanutscrunchy sichuan scallops, sweet ginger sea scallops and shrimp, and teriyaki glazed fresh salmon.  Pad Thai is Big Bowl’s signature dish, try it with vegetables/tofu, chicken, shrimp or salmon.  Big Bowl also has a make-it-yourself stirfry bar option.  You choose your vegetables, meat, sauce, and noodles and they will cook it for you.

Price guide: Appetizers $6-9  Entrees $8-15

What I ordered: My companion and I started with an order of the veggie pot stickers (Classic pan fried northern Chinese dumplings stuffed with cilantro, green onions, crushed peanuts)  It was also served with three dipping sauces, sweet and sour, plum and sesame mustard.  Excellent choice! These pot stickers had a ton of flavor and excellent texture.


I wanted to try a curry dish and decided to go with the Panang Curry Chicken
(chicken, light peanut-coconut curry, peas, snow peas served over jasmine rice).  This dish was packed with flavor! The sauce was indeed “light” if they mean “thin”.  It was delicious, but I think would prefer it with a little more peanut flavor and if it were a tad bit thicker.  The vegetables were very good, but the texture of the chicken was kind of slimy.  I enjoyed the first ten bites or so and then got kind of bored with it.


My companion ordered pad Thai with vegetables.  This seemed to be a hit! I tried a little bit of it and thought the noodles had good flavor.  As you can see, there were a lot of veggies in the dish.


Service: The host staff was very friendly, as was our server.  I think the server may have been new though, as he was not as knowledgeable about the menu as he could’ve been.

Overall Impression: Great ambiance and decent food.

Big Bowl Asian Kitchen on Urbanspoon