Joe & Holly Hatch-Surisook have opened a restaurant; Sen Yai Sen Lek. Twin Cities hounds rejoice!
I met Joe once 6 years ago. It was a memorable meeting because I had one of his Pan Au Chocolat's in my mouth at the time. These were not ordinary (bready) Pan Au Chocolats. Joe's pastry artwork literally brought exiled french women to tears of joy and revery. He's a really nice guy. So is his wife Holly who I spoke with then and again today at her new restaurant. They're in the middle of their 2nd week and it looks to me like they've worked out a bunch of the kinks.
The food is the deal. I had chopped flank steak with cilantro and other semi-sweet, semi-sour things I cannot recall. It was on a bed of raw cabbage. It was amazing. My friend Chuk had a bowl of curried noodles with pork. It was also totally amazing. The balance of flavors was really really good.
There's a decent wine list (needs like 3-4 more rieslings and a couple of Gewurztraminers, in my opinion, because these and semi-sweet sparkling wine go really well with Thai food). For really really hot food, Auslese's not too sweet.
Atmosphere is good. Maybe too good for Central Ave? It seems to me that this is the thin end of the eat-street-i-fication of Central Ave. Think Rainbow Chinese or Ngon Bistro but Thai food. And better execution by far.
It's at 2422 Central Ave. Just north of Chiapas and Panaderia Durango. On the web at www.senyai-senlek.com.
Oh, and if you go, ask Joe to start making/selling Pan Au Chocolats again.