Have you been to World Street Kitchen yet? If not, get there before this place is packed around the clock, because it’s that good.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Sameh Wadi’s bold flavors at Saffron and at his food truck WSK. I’m equally enthusiastic about the hospitality his older brother Saed serves up. I’ve written about the truck and the restaurant here many times.
The opening of World Street Kitchen—the storefront edition—came with high expectations for me, and it vastly exceeded them.
It’s everything today’s diner wants: high quality food, innovative flavors, served quickly and all around the magical $8-$10 price point.
What should you eat? The YumYum Rice Bowl and the Bangkok Burrito both made the ride from the truck. I love the Red Curry Chicken burrito ($8.5)—it’s got great heat without being overwhelmingly spicy, and seriously it could feed two people.
The Korean Beef Short Rib YumYum bowl was simply gorgeous: their house made kimchi, tender on the inside/crispy on the outside short rib, along with that soft cooked egg on top is magical ($11.50).
But I just about died (literally and figuratively) with the MFC Biscuit Sandwich (shown above). The M is for Moroccan, a play on the KFC chicken. The flavors are insane: lightly battered fried chicken breast that’s been drenched with Morrocan spices. The layers of flavor are intense—not spicy, it’s smokey. And then there’s a spicy feta spread on top, a carrot and preserved lemon salad, and then a delicious white cheddar biscuit they make in the kitchen. So much for $9.50. My cardiologist bill will more than make up for it, I suppose.
The kids loved the lemongrass meatball banh mi ($8.50) on a really nice baguette (the only bread they don’t make in-house), with a tasty light marinated cucumber salad and a hint of mint.
And we all devoured the crispy chickpeas, fried in a salty/smoky combination of middle eastern spices. Wadi’s always been a skilled chef, but his ability to layer spice has been what impresses me most. He creates flavors unlike any other.
I toured the kitchen before they opened, and making this kind of food in a way that it can be served counter-service-style fairly quickly is a lot of work. They’ll be working nearly around the clock, curing their meats, making their own yogurts, prepping all the marinades and the proteins, so they can serve it out.
“We want it to be good, homey food and affordable,” Sameh told me. There are vegetarian options (this is Uptown, after all), and Sameh said that he’s a meat guy. He doesn’t like vegetarian food, usually.
“I love our crispy marinated tofu. It’s got great spice and layers of flavors. Now, that’s the first thing I jump in on,” he laughed.
Then there’s the soft serve ice cream: don’t miss the passion fruit and mango lassi with the apricot chutney in the bowl. Whoa. So light yet substantial. A dense soft serve (they have the air content on the mix really low, so it’s not like the soft serve you get at McDonald’s), it’s really a revelation. And $5.
The Wadi’s have had the advantage of testing many of these recipes in their truck for a couple years, so WSK is ready to rock right now. The best news for them is that the kitchen is large enough; when food truck season comes around again they’ll be able to prep there, freeing up the smaller kitchen at Saffron, which had been serving as WSK HQ.
With Sonora Grill, B’Wiched Deli, and World Street Kitchen, we have three very different concepts running counter-service restaurants, and hitting the ball out of the park. It’s a good time to be an eater in the Twin Cities.
World Street Kitchen
Open 11 a.m. – Midnight
2743 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis