Pad Thai Grand Cafe

Twin Cities, Minnesota


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i agree with hungry-coconut. even though it is crowded and noisy and sometimes confusing to have so many people waiting on you, i enjoyed this restaurant the first several times i went there but don't think i will go back anymore. i had ordered dishes with confidence because reviewers here mentioned specific choices and i trust this site. however, having ordered the green curry pasta with tofu at least 4 times before, on my last visit i learned that the green curry sauce has chicken stock! i asked if they could leave it out and found out that it comes to the restaurant already prepared. i asked them about leaving fish sauce out of the pad thai and they said they couldn't do that. i ordered a red curry dish. they make the red curry at the restaurant so they can leave out ingredients if asked to do so. what i ended up eating wasn't bad but it was such a struggle to find something and i was really traumatized to find out (after the fact) that i had been eating chicken stock each and every time i ordered the green curry. yuck! huong seng is really good and it is just across the street!

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I used to love this place, but I think I'm done with it now.

The last time I went to Pad Thai Grand, I was with my fiance. We are both vegan and have eaten there a few times before.

We ordered the fried tofu, which was ok but not spectacular. The springrolls are not really good, either. We then tried to order an entree but *everything* seemed to have fish sauce in it, even things we had been told were fish sauce free in the past. It was incredibly frustrating, the waiter was not helpful at all.

We paid for our tofu and left immediately, vowing to never return.

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Last night was my first visit to Pad Thai.
My server did not know what vegan meant and spoke very poor English, which was immediately frustrating. He did communicate with me that the sauce that comes with the vegetarian spring rolls has fish sauce in it. I tried to to eat the spring rolls plain, but they were so bland. I asked for some kind of sauce that didn't have fish in it, and they just brought soy sauce.
Thankfully, my entree was delicious. I can't recall the name, but it was peanut/coconut sauce with carrots and broccoli and I ordered fried tofu in it. The service was very fast.
My dining partner was not vegan nor vegetarian but when she discovered that her <i>salad</i> contained the same (fish) sauce as what comes with the vegetarian spring rolls, she opted not to eat the rest and we got it taken off the bill.
Even though my entree was really good, I'm not going to rush out and dine here again anytime soon.

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The service was the fastest I have ever seen, but the food wasn't good. The veggie spring rolls are boring and bland, and I ordered the sweet and sour dish with mock duck and feel really sick. They assured me that there was no fish sauce in it, but I don't know - something wasn't right with that meal.

I liked what I ordered and the staff was nice. The atmosphere felt authentic.

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I love this place. The food is exceptional. Nearly all the dishes are far superior to those at other thai restaraunts. It's also affordable with a main dish running about $7.50-$8.00 with mock duck or tofu (meat is more expensive).

The atmosphere has improved since they moved down the street to a larger building (the one pictured). The wait staff is pretty good, but can be a little confusing with more than one person waiting on you at a time.

Some recommended foods (only what I have had personally, can't comment on other dishes) All dishes have choice of "meat"

-Gang Massaman-Red curry with potatoes. Best with mock duck.
-Gang Dang-Red curry (with sweet basil). Has carrots, straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots, etc... Best with mock duck.
-Pad Thai (ask for no egg if you want it vegan). best with tofu.
-Green curry pasta. Wheat pasta in green curry sauce with veggies. Best with tofu.
-Veggie egg rolls. (very good egg rolls!) ask for sweet and sour sauce instead of fish sauce.
-Veggie spring rolls with peanut/hoison sauce.
^^^All of the above is vegan (with the suggested substitutions)

They are usually very good about substitutions, but always seem to forget the sauce switch on egg-rolls for take-out. Just ask.

Image for Dave Rolsky

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The food here isn't bad, but it tends to be on the sweet side. I think Royal Orchid is better, and given a choice between the two I'd head there. This one is in a cooler location, though.

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They have quite a few good entrees on thier menu, as well as fresh vegetarian springrolls, supposedly the best in the twin cities. (Not my favorite, they use cilantro and mint in them). Usually pretty busy in the evenings, as it is a neighborhood favorite (and the neighborhood consists of alot of college students).

I have to admit that part of the reason why I like going here is because it's across the street from Ruminator Books. Nothing better than letting your dinner settle while musing the racks of one of the best independant bookstores.

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