Roat Osha offers Thai food the way Americans like it, and that’s just fine. The new Thai restaurant at 27th and Hennepin follows pretty much the same formula as the other three Uptown Thai eateries, including Chiang Mai Thai, Amazing Thailand, and Roat Osha’s sister restaurant, Tum Rup Thai: stylish contemporary décor, big bar with a hip cocktail menu, and lots of colorful dishes that tend to look alike, because they all have carrots and broccoli and green beans and big chunks of red bell pepper. Okay, not all of them, but you get the idea. And of course, cream cheese wontons.
Roat Osha, 2650 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-377-4418.
Never mind that cream cheese wontons aren’t authentically Thai – or authentically Chinese, for that matter: according to my files, they were invented in Minnesota by our own Leeann Chin, but you can take that with a dash of soy sauce. And never mind that authentic Thai dishes never use carrots, and seldom use western-style broccoli. What matters is how the food tastes, and, most of what I sampled on a recent visit actually tasted pretty good. I visited with a party of eight, including a couple of Thai friends, so we had a chance to sample a wide selection of dishes.
The abundance of carrots really bothered one of our Thai companions – she felt the carrots made the dishes look and taste similar, whereas in Thailand cooks take pride in making each dish look different. She did say that she would go back for the fish cakes, though.
But it’s a safe bet that Roat Osha doesn’t cater to a lot of Thais. (I am not sure where they go for authentic Thai cooking these days – maybe the Bangkok Thai Deli on University Ave. in Saint Paul?)
The consensus seemed to be that authentic or not, most of the dishes tasted pretty good. The Seabreeze seafood salad ($12), with shrimp, squid and scallops, got high marks, and I enjoyed my pad prig bai horapa (stir fried basil) with tofu, onions, mushrooms, green beans, bell peppers, jalapeño, garlic, and Thai spices ($11.50), and the rather similar white ginger stir-fry curry. The only dish that got a big thumbs down was the massamun curry with mock duck ($12.75), which was too sweet.