Wok in the Park: the Thanh Do crew, minus Thom Pham
While Thom Pham has been busy running his new Wondrous Azian Kitchen and thinking about reopening Azia, his original restaurant, Thanh Do, has been quietly humming along in its new St. Louis Park digs--and experiencing some friendly family competition.
After Thanh Do moved across the street to a larger space, several of Pham's adoptive siblings (and former Thanh Do employees) decided to stay in the original spot and open their own Pan-Asian eatery, Wok in the Park. The Hot Dish was curious to check it out:
Wok's dining room feels airy and open, despite its small size, with a dream-like tree mural and paper lanterns giving it a festive feel. In terms of the menu, there's a lot of overlap with Thanh Do's, between the egg rolls, green papaya salads, hot and sour soups, curries, stir fries, and noodles dishes. Wok's menu is more pared down than Thanh Do's, and, in many cases, items are priced a buck or two cheaper (most entrees run between $8 and $12). Notably, all of Wok's food is MSG-free.
The dishes I tried gave me the impression that Woks' fare is more serviceable than boundary pushing. Teriyaki chicken stir fried with veggies was a tasty comfort, but pad Thai noodles were sadly bland, lacking their characteristic sweet-tart-spicy-salty punch. The cranberry cream cheese wontons--called Puffs in the Park--are as good as they are at all of Pham's eateries and have the cheapest price, at $5 an order (they're $5.99 at Thanh Do and $8.50 at Wondrous).
In any case, the western suburbs likely have a big enough appetite for casual, pan-Asian fare to sustain both eateries.
Wok in the Park 3005 Utah Avenue, St. Louis Park 952.657.5754 www.wokintheparkrestaurant.com
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