Sunday, June 26, 2011

Supatra’s Thai Cuisine – St. Paul, MN

D.Rough and I have tried to go to this Thai restaurant at least three times. Every time we try, they’re closed. And not because of anything they’re doing – they have pretty standard hours, in fact. Either D.Rough and I are driving past or show up late and after they’re closed, or we show up on Sunday and forget they’re closed all day. Again, totally our fault, but because of that reason, we sort of made it our mission to eat there.

We checked the hours on line and made sure we were within the window of eating allotment – and even then, we pushed it almost till closing. That’s just who we are – we’re very European and like to eat at 9 or 10 each night. Not at 5pm like old people (cough…Pul-Chevy...cough). We pulled into the 3-car parking lot (well, 2 cars with one additional handicapped spot) – yes, we are totally serious (and that’s pushing it because if all spots are filled then the car in the end spot is unable to back out at ALL) – and touched the door handle. And it OPENED!!! The people working thought we were crazy when we cheered out loud for the door opening. They clearly didn’t know the hassle we went through to eat here.

We got seated next this couple on a first date. It was painful the entire meal listening to them talk, neither of them realizing they had NOTHING in common. At all. Anyway, the menu is really comprehensive and had a lot of things on it you won’t find at most Thai restaurants in the area. Lots of specialty dishes, and pretty much all of the standard Pad dishes and appetizers you are used to. Additionally, this place is much nicer inside than we expected it to be. It’s borderline fancy and not dive-y at all.

We decided on an order of spring rolls – I’m glad D.Rough likes them as much as I do. And after much deliberation, we decided on Peanut Curry Stir Fry for D.Rough and I got Goy See Mee. When asked how spicy we liked it, D.Rough asked how serious they were. The waitress assured us they were serious about their spice, but we were still skeptical – this is Minnesota, after all. We both got 3 out of 4 on the spice level. That sounded fair, right?

IF I could explain how annoying the couple was next to us, I would. But I can’t. The woman constantly referred to television shows and how she’s a vegetarian who can’t stand the smell of meat. And the guy was some sort of travelling tradesman who claims he loves spicy food, likes to talk about his ex-girlfriends, and try to sound like a road scholar…who just happens to have missed the education part and the part about fact you DON’T make up.

The spring rolls arrived and were really large. They were presented really nicely on their sides and with sprigs of cilantro sticking out the top. Fortunately, they were delicious, also. Very fresh tasting and very cilantro filled – so if you’ don’t like cilantro, be warned. I really enjoyed these. They were served with the sweet rice wine dipping sauce instead of hoisin, and we still loved it.

The food came out really quickly. D.Rough’s was a thick peanut sauce with pieces of chicken and lots of spinach, served with a bowl of rice. Just from looking at hers, I thought – wow, that’s gonna be hot. Maybe there were more peanuts on top than pepper flakes. Maybe. She dug in and mentioned it was pretty darn hot. Then we though, hey wait, Thai food usually grows in heat. A lot. And it did. Fortunately, the rice helped cool things down for her, and even more fortunately, it was really good Thai food. I had a couple bites and really enjoyed it. From what I could tell, anyways – my mouth was on fire.

My Goy See Mee was stir fried egg noodles served on crispy egg noodles – the best of both worlds. It is presented rather beautifully on a fancy blue and white plate and then the stir fried part is served on top of the crispy noodles. I dug my fork into the first bite and when I lifted it up, I noticed the peppers underneath the vegetables. Lots of peppers. Even more peppers than D.Rough had. Uh oh.

(Note at this very time, the ass-clown next to us was talking about how he loved things spicy and he challenged the little Asian girl server to eat one of the peppers whole – which she did. She said she had been eating them with her dinner back in the kitchen and warned him they were hot. The guy tried to do it and started coughing. Then he asked his date if he could drink her water, after he had finished his. Smooth….)

The first thing I noticed was the food was really delicious. The second thing I noticed was it was just a tad greasy – I had to dab my mouth and chin after almost every bite. The third thing I noticed was that it was molten lava – also leading to the wiping of the face after each bite (to get rid of the fire-y oil and to stop the sweating and to wipe the snot rolling out of my sinuses). Seriously, this was hot after bite one. And it got hotter. In fact, I ordered a bowl of white rice to help with the cooling. And then I got waterlogged from sipping water before and after each bite. When they said 3 out of 4, they mean 13. The worst part about it was that the dish was really good and I loved eating it. The vegetables were fresh – celery, bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, baby corn, and onions (which I picked out) and the sauce was very mostly light, minus the oily part. I had to use my fork to crunch up the crispy noodles, which was funny, because they kept exploding when I’d crush them and end up all over the table and the floor and my lap. This is a difficult dish to eat with a fork. I couldn’t imagine how impossible it would be to eat with chopsticks.

Thankfully, the couple next to us left and allowed us to smack-talk them for the remainder of our dinner. They were exhausting. But thankfully, the food made up for it all. Next time, we will for sure steer clear of the level-3 spice. But we think we can handle the level-2. In fact, we’re looking forward to it. There are a bunch of things on the menu we want to try. We will remember to check the hours before we go, however.

And for the record, there are a lot of Gluten-Free dishes on the menu, if that’s your thing.

Top 5 things about Supatra Thai
1. Chicken Peanut Curry Stir Fry
2. Goy See Mee
3. Spring Rolls
4. Really comprehensive menu
5. Great Monday and Tuesday happy hour/half-priced wine

Bottom 5 things
1. The awful first date next to us
2. Parking lot is insanely small – there is street parking though
3. We really wanted dessert, but were too full (and waterlogged) and they were closing
4. REALLY spicy – probably our own fault for ordering level-3, but it was still delicious
5. They have Pepsi products, but no Dew.


Bill Roehl said...

Chopsticks are not used in Thailand and thus you were actually more correct by using a fork :-)

shogunmoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shogunmoon said...

In Thailand, they use a spoon as the main utensil, and a fork in the left hand to cut and push food onto the spoon.

They use chopsticks when eating soupy noodle dishes, frequently purchased from Chinese street vendors.

People who order food from a restaurant that is about to close may be good people, but they are in fact doing a very evil thing.

Neighborhood line cook.

Chao said...

Good to know, Bill and ShowgunMoon! Thanks for the tip. And no worries on the time, we ordered the food 25-30 minutes before closing time and skipped dessert. I think we were still alright:)

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