— Josh Page (@ILikeFoodJP) February 7, 2013
In a perfect world, all Burger Kings would suddenly become no-nonsense, cheap Thai joints. At least, that’s my conclusion after an enjoyable meal at St. Paul’s newly relocated Bangkok Thai Deli (now at 333 W. University Ave., St. Paul).
This place is all about food. Period. The décor is austere and the service purely functional. If you insist on ambience or thorough explanations of dishes, Bangkok Thai Deli isn’t for you. But if you’re a flavor chaser who’s not afraid of a little grease, you just might dig it.
Two noodle dishes and the stuffed chicken wing appetizer were flavorful, but crossed the line from a tad too oily to “wipe your face.” While they missed the mark, the red curry with roast duck was delicious. The amalgam of sweet (coconut milk, basil, pineapple), savory (duck), earthy (eggplant), and spicy (chili oil and peppers) provided a well-balanced meal with punch. Although the curry broth was pleasantly thin (I loathe heavy coconut-based curries), the veneer of chili oil floating on top may turn some people off. A simple sauté of pea tips and garlic—another entrée—was the perfect, clean sidekick for me, though, brightening up the rich curry.
Bangkok likely won’t become my go-to Thai restaurant, but I’ll definitely return for curry and pea tips. And I’ll keep dreaming about pulling off the freeway during a long road trip and finding that Burger King is now Bangkok or some other independently owned restaurant that kicks out cheap, no frills, flavorful food.
From the Eater Crew:
Letta, vegetarian dissenter: Sure, I’d be happy to see Burger Kings turn into independent restaurants, just not this one. For me, the vegetarian curry was sadly devoid of vegetables, a big bowl of sauce without anything but canned bamboo and rice to cling to. It was nowhere near the joyful version my personal high-water mark, King and I Thai, used to serve up. And while I’m not generally a snob about ambience—let’s just say I took Josh to the Wienery for our first date—the totally dismal bathroom at Bangkok (it was missing a light and low on heat; I dreaded having to make another visit before we headed out) was enough to close the book on the place for me. (I’m happy to report that King and I now indicates that it’s looking for a new location! #38 with fried tofu and no mushrooms: you complete me.)
The Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t it be Nice”