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Think locally, eat globally: World Street Kitchen arrives in Lyn-Lake
Good news for fans of Bangkok Burritos and YumYum Rice Bowls! You don't have to wait until next spring for the World Street Kitchen food truck to make its lunchtime appearance in downtown Minneapolis. Both of those signature dishes will be featured daily at WSK's new bricks and mortar restaurant at 2743 Lyndale Ave. S. The new venture from brothers Sameh and Saed Wadi, owners of the acclaimed Saffron restaurant in the Minneapolis warehouse district opens officially on Monday, but Carol and I got a sneak preview last Wednesday.
Chef Sameh's menu offers a lot more variety than the truck, with dishes ranging from Vietnamese noodle salads and fried oyster and shrimp po boy to an Indian aloo tikka chaat patty and a Moroccan fried chicken biscuit sandwich. Some ingredients get multiple exposure: if you have a yen for Korean beef short ribs, you can enjoy them in a burrito ($9), a Vietnamese noodle salad ($9), a YumYum rice bowl ($11.50), or served with kimchi in a do-it-yourself lettuce wrap, while the crispy marinated tofu makes an appearance in the burrito, lettuce wrap, banh mi sandwich and rice bowl.
Almost everything on the menu is $11.50 or less, except for a featured special of banana leaf fish with coconut rice, cilantro chutney and marinated watermelon radish. I enjoyed everything I sampled, but my favorites included the caramelized lamb belly taco ($3.50), and the YumYum rice bowl with crispy marinated tofu, squash, Chinese broccoli, soft-cooked egg and peanuts. I only wish I had saved room for one of the homemade soft-serve ice creams; the varieties currently on offer are salted caramel with chocolate covered smoked almonds; and vanilla, with spicy apricot chutney and puffed wild rice ($5). The wine and beer lists are very limited, but a couple of delightfully hoppy local craft beers are on tap, including Summit Saga and Lift Bridge Harvester.
One nice touch - the very stylish design, by Shea Inc., includes a lot of salvaged and recycled materials, and the paper plates and bowls are compostable. World Street Kitchen will be open till midnight weeknights, and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
P.S. Check back Monday for another mini-review. I have a whole backlog of deals and discoveries that I haven't had time to write up - so I'm planning to dish them up daily until I run out. (We'll see how long that lasts.)
banana leaf fish with coconut rice and marinated watermelon radish
caramelized lamb belly taco with pickled cucumber
YumYum bowl with crispy marinated tofu