Would we go back:
371 University Avenue West
• Green Curry $9.99
This is one of the small hole in the wall restaurants that University Avenue is so famous for and it is excellent. It is clearly family run and the service is very welcoming and sweet.
It may not be the best for kids, our kids are getting a bit older (8 and 5) and can handle a few more challenging tastes. So they did ok, but even the basic pad thai is a bit more complex than normal. It is almost one that I would order. Oh, who am I kidding, I would still go for a curry any day and the green curry here was top notch.
They also have bubble tea which is a weakness of mine and I have actually not had it for a long time. So I was very happy with their version of it.
I can't say it is worth the drive across town, but if you enjoy Asian food, it is worth the drive across town to this area of University that has many, many, options.
• Pad Thai with Shrimp $10.99
Thai Cafe is simply outstanding. Just a storefront on University Avenue near Western, the place is much better than it looks on the outside. If you haven't been to University Avenue in Saint Paul recently (and you're reading this), you really, really, really, need to go. Thai restaurants seem to keep popping out of nowhere. A half-mile mile section of University is a business district now known as Little Mekong, after the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. It's a fascinating corner of the Twin Cities that seems to have blossomed in spite of the disruption the light rail line has caused. The Green Line light rail runs down the middle of University adds its own vibe of metropolitan transportation and fistfight against car traffic.
As you might imagine, Thai Cafe is a hole in the wall with seating for only about 20. Service can be a little slow because it's like stepping into your mom's or grandma's house, and she's cooking for a dozen people and takeout orders. Oh, and your mom/grandma cooks delicious Thai food that all your friends want to stop in for. As you wait, you order some fantastic Thai Iced Tea or Bubble Tea, and you take as many deep breaths of the sweet aromas as you can. When the freshly prepared food arrives at the table, you know that you're in for a treat. The pad thai is very good, and the shrimp was equally fantastic. Even though they don't make it spicy, when you're eating in, you have several spice options to add heat - Sriracha, pepper flakes, and pepper oils.
When you go, if you have something else planned, allow a little extra time in case it's busy. Getting from one side of University to the other side can be a challenge when you're driving. Thai Cafe does not have a parking lot, but there is parking on Western Avenue just around the corner. You can also leave the car behind and take the Green Line light rail that stops right in front.
April 15, 2016