Do you like Thai restaurants that serve fancy martinis and local craft beers like Surly’s Cynic Ale? Do you like Thai restaurants that flatter you with sexy moody lighting? Do you like Thai restaurants with plenty of free parking, a couple of good dishes, a Western-ish plate of grilled salmon that’s perfect for those on the South Beach Diet, and ebony-and-gold colored elephant sculptures that you can read as exotic or winkingly kitschy depending on your cultural references? Well, sister, if you like all of that, you are going to love Uptown’s newest restaurant, Roat Osha.
Wait, wait, wait, you say don’t want any of that? You want a filthy restaurant as authentic as shoes made of old tires, an experience that confers bragging rights on the Internet? Well, you best skip Roat Osha then. It’s far too client-aware for the likes of you.
For the rest of us, we will enjoy the great dishes that Roat Osha does well. The beef salad, for instance, is made with good skirt steak marinated in lime juice, galangal, and chilies, quickly grilled, sliced and served in a nutty tasting roast rice-powder dressing on a bed of iceberg lettuce, with plenty of cut long beans and fresh cilantro and mint. It’s a lovely dish: light, lively, forthright, brightly spiced, and tasty. Another great dish is the red beef curry, a complicated mélange of a couple dozen freshly ground spices. Order it mild and you will be tempted to drink the sauce straight from the bowl. Order it hot and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a Bikram yoga class. As at most very Western Thai restaurants, there are things to lament: The pad Thai, for instance, is dessert-sweet, and other Western enthusiasms, like fried calamari, are done poorly. Still, Roat Osha is as likeable as its sister restaurant, Tum Rup Thai, located a mere six blocks away, and far better than nearby competitors, so I won’t be sad to see 10 more in the metro—and neither will most martini-loving, stylish Minnesotans.