Monday, August 15, 2011

Wok in the Park – St. Louis Park, MN

It had been a while since FireRetarded and I had gone out for lunch. I set up the necessary arrangements and suggested we go to Wok in the Park in St. Louis Park. As some background, Wok in the Park is located in the same space previously occupied by Thanh Do – one of my favorites which has now moved into a larger loction directly across the street. I was unsure what to expect, but I had high hopes going in.
We sat down and two very nice servers asked us if we wanted something to drink two different times. I think they got it straightened out after a bit. This place has a pretty good lunch deal going on. Pick a soup, pick an appetizer, and pick an entrée for $8.99. That sounded good, especially after I realized that all three of the choices I’d have to make were things I wanted to get anyway. I was really tempted by about ten things on the menu, including the Sassy Basil, the Sunrise Stirfry, Spring Zhing, Wok’s Cherry Own Curry, and Pho in the Park. When I buckled down, I got a bowl of Egg Drop Soup, a Summer Roll (like a fresh spring roll at other places), and (because I’m known as a metal guy in some circles) the Slayer Stir Fry.

The menus here are quite fun with their design and also have appetizing food descriptions.


The soup came out pretty quickly and even though I thought it was a smaller bowl than I expected, it was decent egg drop soup. It isn’t the snotty mega-eggy kind at a lot of cheap places. It was the kind with chicken broth, mostly-scrambled eggs, and a couple of scallions. The flavor was good and I liked that the egg was more cooked than a lot of places. Not a ground breaking soup, but it IS the style of egg drop soup I like, so hooooray for me! FireRetarded said his Hot and Sour Soup was really good, so he’ll be vouching for that.
The entrees and appetizers came out as we were finishing up our soups. The plates are trapezoidal, which is fun, especially when they set them down at a jaunty angle on your table. D.Rough actually has me looking at how things are presented now and I think she’d be impressed by this. The appetizer was separated by the bowl of dipping sauce and a thick line of white rice from the main entrée.

The Summer Roll was very generous sized and had three pieces of shrimp in it. There was also a bowl of hoisin sauce with peanuts on top to dip it in. The roll was very fresh and bright tasting, but was missing something. It took me a few bites to realize it was almost entirely filled with lettuce. I like lettuce just fine, but I’m used to cilantro, basil, some rice noodles, maybe cucumber and sprouts, maybe some carrots inside, and maybe some slices of pork (along with the shrimp inside). It was missing pretty much everything. It wasn’t bad or anything, just missing some things I’ve become accustomed to being in there.

I also got to try half of FireRetarded’s Egg Roll, which is more of the traditional fried version of an Asian roll. The outside wasn’t the usual wrap that I have seen – it was more flaky and bubbly, and ended up being really quite tasty and had a good texture. The insides were fairly standard and tasted pretty good (a little too much cinnamon for my taste, but then again, I’m not used to any cinnamon in my egg rolls). I’d say the Egg Rolls beat out the Summer Rolls in this case.

The Slayer Stir Fry wasn’t as spicy as I had expected, but then again, it only had one little flame icon next to it, as opposed to a couple of other that had two and three next to them. That being said, I was really happy with the flavor of this dish. It stood up very well and was one of the better sauces I’ve had. The Slayer has a choice of meat (I got chicken), “exotic” mushrooms, fresh garlic, peapods, carrots, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and onions in a home-made garlic sauce. It was delicious.

From the looks and sounds of FireRetarded’s Pad Thai, it was really delicious. It had a TON of peanuts on the top of it and looked really awesome. I’d be hard pressed to get something aside from that next time I come here. And yes, I will come back here. They have a fun staff and a really fun menu. I don’t think they’re a high-falutin’ kind of place, but they are very professional. I think Wok in the Park is worth the drive to check out.

For those who care, Wok in the Park is “guided by principles of sustainability”, are 100% MSG-free, and are able to accommodate, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, and other dietary restrictions.

Top 5 things about Wok in the Park
1. Slayer Sir Fry
2. Pad Thai
3. Fried Egg Roll
4. Really fun and appetizing menu
5. Very nice and helpful staff

Bottom 5 things
1. Lack of ingredients in the Summer Roll
2. I wanted farrrr to many things on the menu
3. No Dew (only Coke products)
4. The parking lot is pretty small and serves the whole strip mall, so you may have to walk
5. The individually wrapped toothpicks have some SERIOUSLY overpowering and bitter mint flavor in them

www.wokintheparkrestaurant.com

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