After years of searching, working cramped in a truck, planning, plotting, and writing menus, the Wadi brothers opened the doors to the new World Street Kitchen. The same concept from their wildly popular food truck has found a home in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood. While chef Sameh claims they are continuing to refine the menu and work out some kinks, initial reports have guests swooning in their seats.
The menu finally unites the lovers of both the Bangkok burrito and the Yum Yum Rice Bowl: diners won't have to choose one or the other as they did on the truck. "It was so crazy to see that first ticket come in. People would always get so pissed if we weren't serving their favorite," Wadi said laughing. The Yum Yum Rice Bowls are served just as before, tender poached egg nestled in a pile of yumminess. WSK now has an enormous circulator dedicated just to the poaching of eggs.
The concept is fast food that actually took a really long time to cook. A lot of prep work is poured into each component of a dish, like those gorgeous eggs, or the scratch-made sambal. All the pieces are set, ready for your order, so that the dishes are quickly turned around.
The menu is filled with vegetarian and gluten-free options, all clearly marked on the menu board. Crispy fried chickpeas ($3), tossed in mild spice with just a little salt, arrive almost the second an order is placed for easy munching.
The Moroccan fried chicken sandwich ($9.50) is a big ol' plate of awesome: an enormous piece of ultra cripsy chicken, topped with a crunchy carrot salad and tucked into a fat cheddar-herb biscuit. It's a four-napkin sandwich, crumbling and shattering with every satisfied bite.
The falafel sandwich ($9) is straight from their mother's recipe. She was one of the earliest diners and called her son the next day, "There's too much sauce!" Duly adjusted, ours arrived with a modest amount atop the cripsy exterior, with the tender, almost creamy ground chickpea interior, served atop an onion and sumac bun. The bun is tender bread seasoned with those sweet onions and just a small, tart hit from the sumac.
The lamb belly is just as we remembered from the truck, ultra-crispy exterior with melt-away interior. It's served as a gluten-free lettuce wrap ($8.25), Yum Yum Rice Bowl ($12), or taco ($3).
The single best vegetarian/gluten-free bite we sampled was the humble squash-and-roasted-shitake-mushroom taco. The fillings were roasted and savory, richly topped with little crumbles of queso fresco and a tart, lovely pumpkin-seed salsa. It was a million bucks worth of flavor for only $3.
Every dish is made even better with the addition of the pickle plate, also $3. Each crunchy, tart bite enhances the meal. The Peppadew peppers are especially delicious.
Along with all the food options, WSK offers an equally labored-over wine, beer, and sake menu, plus a list of effervescent coctails created from the inspired talents of Rob Jones. Jones is also the drink mastermind behind the bar at Saffron. The Gypsy Tickle ($8) was the favorite of the ones we sampled: sparkling white wine mixed with jasmine and kaffir lime simple syrup. It's a drink just sweet enough to compel another savory bite of food.
A sweet finale came from the soft-serve machine nicknamed Betty Lou. The mango lassi is mango frozen yogurt soft serve topped with a mango chutney and crispy, puffed wild rice. They also carry a salted caramel soft serve, topped with gooey drizzles of caramel, salted, chocolate-covered almonds, and a few lily-gilding mini-marshmallows ($5).
World Street Kitchen
2743 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-midnight
Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Weekend brunch coming soon