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MPLS - bland is back: True Thai & Mandarin Kitchen

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MPLS - bland is back: True Thai & Mandarin Kitchen

PhilEsl | Jan 4, 2004 06:19 PM

Is idea of flavor gone again from Minnesota? Tried True Thai - 2627 E Franklin, and Mandarin Kitchen, 8766 Lyndale.

Had Laab at True Thai. Tasted very bland, just a little salty with a hint of lime. No chilis present, not even a small amount. That was very odd if you know the dish. When I commented to the server, she brought out chili in Nam Pla (fish sauce) instead of fresh, chopped that we had discussed. Other dishes our party had were equally bland. Thai food usually is the pairing of opposites - sweet to sour, hot to cold ect.. none of that here. Odd. And here is the strangest thing - there was/is an excellent thai cookbook in the lobby to look at. Maybe the chef should read it.

Mandarin Kitchen. Was excited for a Hong Kong-like place. Walked in and saw the fish in tanks and was excited. Our party had several dishes. As I sampled the dishes was surprised at the bland approach. Case in point - sizzling chicken with black bean sauce. Usually a very aromatic dish, often made with shallots and ginger, slightly on the salty side - due to the fermented black beans. The Mandarin Kitchen dish had large slices of onion and green pepper. Yet, bland - no, very bland. How could this be? Other dishes were not great.

In both places, the presentation of the food was good, better than most. The service was not bad. Mandarin kitchen served the dishes as they were made - not the best idea, but ok ok. True Thai servers did not seem to know much about the thai dishes. Liked True Thai's overall look more than Mandarin's bright, stale look.

Please comment if you had specific great dishes at either place. Willing to go back for a 2nd time if there are items I missed that are great.

- P.

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