Grub on the Green Line: On’s Thai Kitchen

Ons+Thai+Kitchen+is+only+a+short+bus+ride+away.++You+dont+even+need+to+go+on+the+Green+Line.++The+curries+and+stir-fries+are+always+a+safe+bet.+Photo+courtesy+of+VegGuide.org

On’s Thai Kitchen is only a short bus ride away. You don’t even need to go on the Green Line. The curries and stir-fries are always a safe bet. Photo courtesy of VegGuide.org

On's Thai Kitchen is only a short bus ride away.  You don't even need to go on the Green Line.  The curries and stir-fries are always a safe bet. Photo courtesy of VegGuide.org
On’s Thai Kitchen is only a short bus ride away. You don’t even need to go on the Green Line. The curries and stir-fries are always a safe bet. Photo courtesy of VegGuide.org

There are two main reasons I write this column. The first is to expose you to great food in the Twin Cities and the second is to encourage you to get out of the Mac bubble by taking the easily accessible Green Line to taste these scintillating, sizzling, savory flavors. But today, I’m deviating from one of these features, because although On’s Thai Kitchen is on the Green Line, it is right next to the Snelling Avenue stop, just a short walk or bus ride away without the need to even get a transfer.

To many people, Thai food is limited to Pad Thai and spring rolls, and though there is nothing wrong with either of these delicious dishes, there is so much more to the world of Thai food that Chef On Khumchaya would be more than happy to show you.

On migrated to Minnesota over 20 years ago and has been cooking Thai food here for a while. She makes her namesake restaurant what it is. She’s behind the counter cooking every day, and if she’s not there, the restaurant is closed. On’s cooking is so highly regarded that there are multiple stories about her sous-chefs deserting the restaurant while she was out of town, stealing her recipes, and bringing them to other Thai restaurants.

And there is a reason for On’s reputation. The woman can cook! The speed with which she is constantly moving, churning out curries, noodles and stir-fries is impressive, and the quality that comes with them is something to behold. On’s Thai Kitchen prepares the dishes that you know very well, her Pad Thai is simple, not too sweet, and with just the right amount of flavor. Her pad se-ew, for those who want to take a baby step in terms of adventurous eating, is even better. It contains wide rice noodles sautéed in a sweet soy sauce with egg and her added spice. On is more than happy to put on some extra heat.

Her curries are also really impressive. Her green curry has a nice coconut based flavor, with just the right amount of spice so you know it’s there, but in no way is the spice overwhelming. My personal favorite curry has always been Panang curry. The Panang curry at On’s Thai Kitchen has a nice kick to it, but also contains a prominent lemongrass, herby flavor that when brewed together makes for a rich, delicious curry over any type of meat.

On’s stir-fried dishes also excelled. The Pad-ga-prow, a mixture of stir fried meat/tofu with basil and chili peppers was subtler, but very well done. Her sweeter, more Chinese take on a stir fried eggplant dish was also pleasant. With a menu that contains more than 100 items on it, there are many more dishes that I am excited to try when I feel the urge to get some Thai food this winter.

I won’t lie to you and say that On’s Thai Kitchen is the best Thai food that I have tried, because that is not true. But I have yet to have anything on the menu that I disliked, and although some dishes (the curries and pad se-ew especially) shined more than others, On does not prepare anything bad. A word to the wise, though, On’s fills up during busy dinner times and service can be slow with only one waiter serving the moderately sized dining room.

I suggest you go to On’s with a group of friends because you can split different dishes. Unless you really enjoy one dish on the menu, splitting food here is more economical because it’s cheap, but not $5 an entree cheap.

With such a wide menu and such an experienced chef, On’s Thai Kitchen will get you the Thai food you’re yearning for. Whether you’re new to it and have only had pad Thai, or already know the intricacies of your fish sauces, Thai basils, and curry powders, there’s something at On’s for you.

On’s Thai Kitchen
1613 University Avenue
(651) 644 – 1444
Monday – Saturday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm