VENUE DETAILS

Senor Wong

Price:

$$

Cuisine Type:

American, American casual, Asian, Mexican, Vietnamese

Serves:

Lunch, Dinner, Late-night

Handicap Accessible:

Yes

Outdoor Seating:

No

Handicap Accessible:

Yes

Outdoor Seating:

No

Rating: One Star One Star No Star No Star

REVIEW

If there were an award for bravest restaurateurs, brothers Son and Lam Truong would have a nomination in the bag. That's because their Señor Wong has boldly gone where few in the business dare to tread: downtown St. Paul.

I'm not talking Rice Park or the prosperous stretch of W. 7th Street near the Xcel, both of which host a respectable number of food-and-drink success stories. No, the brothers Truong have landed their spunky indie in the capital city's equivalent of the dark side of the moon: the grim 1970s-era retail space inside Kellogg Square, the monolithic apartment house that towers over the tumbleweeds-at-any-moment intersection of 4th and Robert streets.

Fortunately, the Truongs have more than pluck going for them. The two are a pair of restaurant brats: Their father, Tang, founded Caravelle, and their brother Hai co-owns the well-regarded Ngon Vietnamese Bistro. They also have a sense of humor. There's that double-taker of a name, one that immediately transmits the restaurant's antiestablishment intentions.

Its roots lie in a ritual that Son Truong and roommate Bobby Wong conducted for years, a weekly pig-out session jammed by their friends and fueled by Wong's beef-chorizo tacos. From those get-togethers, an unlikely but amusing culinary mixed marriage -- a little Asian, a little Mexican -- was hatched. Not that Señor Wong is treading untested waters, since both sides of the menu (the kitchen's predilections definitely teeter toward the Wong half of the equation) don't really mingle. No Szechuan-style tostadas here.

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