Senor Wong

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Image for Unny Nambudiripad

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There were no vegan or vegan-option dishes on the entree menu, and the waiter didn't say any of them could be made vegan. But we had the eggplant torts sandwich as well as edamame. They were both good. The service was very attentive (perhaps too attentive). They kept checking in over and over.

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7/15/13 update: So the menu continues to evolve (the AWESOME mock duck tacos are still there!) but there are now more and more vegetarian options that can also be made vegan. There is a banh mi with mock duck that can be vegan with no mayo, spring rolls with a request of no meat, and some other options. The servers are great and knowledgeable about what can/can't be vegan plus the chef is very open to more suggestions! The beer and cocktails are also fantastic - they put in more taps and strive to have a TON of tasty local craft beers as well as imaginative (and tasty!) craft cocktails.

6/23/08: EDIT: So I revisited this place and I still LOVE the Mock Duck Tacos (aka "mockos"). If you order the entree, the dressing on the salad is not vegan, but you can order with no dressing and chimichurri sauce instead. After speaking with the head chef, he informed me that the chile relleno can be made vegan if ordered without cheese.

We also learned that the base for fried rice is made ahead of time, so while it is possible to get some made from scratch without egg, it may not be the best choice. I am not sure about other sauces yet, such as the stir fry. I don't really care, though, as I just want more "mockos."

Image for Sholly

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Atmosphere: 4.5
I really liked the layout of Senor Wong -- it seemed very open and inviting, and it definitely had fancy bar section. It had a romantic feel and was decorated nicely. It was a tad loud, but it is, after all, part bar, so I can forgive it that.
Service: 3.5
Our server made sure we had what we needed, checked in on us to see if we needed anymore snacks or drinks just enough, without coming over every few minutes.
Food: 4.5
The food here was amazing, and good to go with drinks, but not the kind of food you have for an entire meal. The el mockos were flavored perfectly and were crispy and delicious. Even the chips and salsa (well, the chips, not the salsa so much) were different and very good. My only gripe is that there weren't many things for vegans. This place would get shining reviews (because the food was simply that good), if only it had enough options that I could get different dishes on my visit.

Image for Cass Danger

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I went to Senor Wong during their late-night happy hour (around 11pm), so I can only base my review on that menu and not their normal dining menu. While the happy hour menu was pretty large (maybe 20 items), virtually none were vegan. Even the items that are normally always vegan at other restaurants, were somehow made with animal products at Senor Wongs, as though they were trying to slight the vegans.

For instance, their edamame somehow involves chicken broth. Seriously? Who does that? The waitress didn't seem totally sure about what the cooking process was, but it seemed like the edamame is steamed or boiled in chicken broth. The tostones (fried plantains) also couldn't just be fried in oil, they had to be fried in pork fat. Lame.

My friend and I ordered the El Mocko (faux duck) tacos, which was pretty much the only vegan thing on the menu, aside from maybe a side of fries. The tacos were outstanding and made a great appetizer, but would get pretty pricey if you tried to make a meal out of them ($3.50 each and they're pretty small).

The late-night atmosphere was pretty cool and I enjoyed the music but I think it was way too loud. Perhaps I only think that because I'm not really a club-type of gal, but I find it annoying when I have to shout across a small table to my dining partner. The service was friendly and one of the two waitresses serving us knew about vegan options, but they didn't really have much to work with.

Image for conde.kedar

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Senor Wong makes the best vegan tacos I've had---the "el mockos" made with mock duck. They're authentic, simple, and delicious. And they recently expanded their veg. options and have labeled their veg. menu items as well.

I like the downtown St. Paul location as it's an area devoid of many vegan-friendly restaurants (Tanpopo is the only other that comes to mind). Senor Wong has a lounge/bar feel and it draws the power lunch crowd. At night they have DJs and it's a good place to take a date or a group. It's cozy and yet also hip and smart.

I found the service to be friendly but slow. The menu has a number of vegan-friendly choices, mostly of the Thai/Korean/Vietnamese variety and has recently doubled their vegetarian and vegan offerings. I had a bell pepper stir fry with tofu ($8) in a home-made Korean sauce (or so they told me). It looked great but tasted bland and flat somehow. It was missing something. I might try a different stir fry the next time.

At the recommendation of the previous reviewer, I tried a mock duck taco a la carte ($3.50)---truly this "mocko" is a treat and a wonderful replica of authentic Mexican street food, down to its ingredients, taste and presentation. I honestly was not expecting a pan-Asian restaurant to do such a wonderful version of a Mexican standard. The corn tortilla was served open-face, slightly crisped, and the mock duck was subtly grilled/roasted (amazing touch!); the whole thing was lightly covered in pico de gallo. No lettuce, no cheese, no beans or other Americanized nonsense. It was a Mexican taco, although blessedly veganized with wonderfully-cooked mock duck (they didn't just dump it on straight out of the can). Happy Hour prices are lower so consider coming here after work to load up on these treats.

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Love the "macos," pretty spicy (at least for me, as I am still getting used to spicy foods), it's a bar, but the food is definitely much higher quality than your standard bar fare. Last time I went, service was lacking (had to flag down the waiter to refill our water glasses), but I have been here a handful of times now and plan to go back.

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I went to Senor Wong's for a weekday lunch. The restaurant was largely empty and quiet. We started off with the sweet potato fries which are served with a chili mayonnaise sauce. The server brought out two extra sauces--a sweet apricot sauce and a peanut soy sauce--after I requested something different. Both sauces were sweet without much tang or heat. I added chili sauce to both. The fries themselves were crispy, salty, not as sweet as expected, and delicious.

For an entree I ordered the Four Mushroom Stirfry with tofu which the server said could be made vegan. I was surprised to see such a small amount of food. Both my sister and I noted that there were very few mushrooms in the dish--it seemed that the Four Mushroom Stirfry literally contained four mushrooms and a lot of tofu. This time my food was spicy, as requested, but still lacked a certain depth. I liked it but kept feeling that there was something missing.

That said, I did enjoy my lunch here. Both my omnivorous sister and I were able to find dishes that sounded appealing without extravagant prices. The service was adequate and our meals came steaming hot. My stirfry also came with a simple green salad, which I liked. The restaurant was very clean, spacious, and nicely designed. The basic components of my dishes were solid, I just wish the sauces packed more of a flavor punch. I would go back again if in downtown St. Paul but probably won't drive there from Minneapolis.

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