Rating: ****. (4.5/5) Cuisine: Chinese
Location: Calhoun Village Shopping Center Address: 3236 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
A general belief about Chinese restaurants is that they are only as good as their Hot and Sour Soup. That adage was proven again at 1st Wok today.
I am generally sceptical of Chinese restaurants unless I’ve heard of the place from a Chinese friend, or I see a lot of ethnic Chinese customers patronizing the establishment. Neither is the case for 1st Wok which is right by my favourite Pizza restaurant – Punch Pizza. So, I hadn’t eaten at the restaurant till today. I must say, I missed out on good Chinese food the last 3 years I’ve been in the neighborhood. There are 5 Thai restaurants in the Uptown neighborhood, but no good Chinese ones. I think 1st Wok changes that perception for me.
Their lunch specials are in the $7-$8 range, and you get a cup of fried rice and a cup of soup along with a good sized portion of the main order. The dinner menu also looked very reasonable in price – in the $10 vicinity. You also get a basket of fried wonton strips on each table. Even though their hot sauce is the common red pepper-in-oil kind, it is far above average.
I ordered the Kung Pao Shrimp and Hot and Sour Soup. The soup was very good, although I would not put it in the excellent bin. Even without the hot sauce, I liked the spicyness of the Kung Pao Shrimp. The food was not overloaded with salt or soy sauce. There was ample quantity of vegetables (green peppers, mushroom, water chestnut) in the dish and it was definitely on the tasty side of Chinese food I’ve had in Minneapolis.
I will definitely go back there. Let’s see how consistent their food remains between visits.