I always wanted to try the deli just North of the freeway on Western right around the corner from the overpriced and wholly mediocre Mai Village. I recently drove by, happened to be starving and just drove in to see what it was about.
First impressions: neat, small, tidy and CLEAN. I mean really clean - like it smelled clean - place. About a dozen tables and a counter to order from. Badly printed menu with the usual thai regulars and what looked like some Lao thrown in. Prices: decent to really good.
I ordered what I always do in a new place: fresh spring rolls and chicken pad thai. These arent' my favorites, but a really good yardstick to go from. Two women, so clean they wore hairnets, struggled happily to take my order and had me sit for 10 or so minutes.
The food: three fresh spring rolls for $3 were great. Fresh, lots of veggies, chicken, shrimp and ground pork. The sauces: fish and peanut. The cheapest best I have had in st paul, Beat Bangkok Deli - my prior fav, but for the fish dipping sauce. The pad thai. A HUGE portion for $6.95. I mean, three days in a row I ate so much Pad Thai I was sick. And it was GOOD. Really good. And slightly different. The noodles are the wide rice noodles and the chicken was beautifully brown. It had a lovely citrus overtone and generally was just plain delicious. So delicious, I repeated the experience again and my serving was even bigger the 2nd time! That time I went in closer to lunch hour where they live up to their "deli" designation. They had a huge beautiful egg roll salad ready to go, along with fresh spring rolls, which I had to order again, and what looked like a lovely red curry. The same hair-netted woman waited on me and encouraged me in that direction. If I can get over my addiction for their pad thai, I will. Honestly, I rarely eat pad thai but as an intro and I can't stop thinking about it. My eight year old went bonkers over my left overs too.
I read this site alot, but never contribute. I have to encouage you all to check out Asian Deli. It would be criminal if this little gem did not make it. And both times, I was the only customer. Try it for lunch. I would love to hear what others have to say about it.
394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103