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“Average or below decor more than made up for by food and waitstaff!”
Review of Sen Yai Sen Lek

Sen Yai Sen Lek
Ranked #386 of 1,833 Restaurants in Minneapolis
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: Thai
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Reservations, Takeout
Reviewed May 25, 2014

I was visiting my daughter in Minneapolis and she suggested going out for Thai. We parked in front of a Thai Restaurant, but it was NOT the one she meant. Sen Yai Sen Lek was across the street. It is basically two store fronts joined together by an interior door. 2 dining rooms with a bar in one. The waitstaff is attentive and helpful. I asked if there were specials and there were in fact 3 of them. I took the Red Chicken Curry and my daughter being an vegan took the green mock duck curry. Huge portions with veggies and sticky rice And an egg omelet which I've never had in a Thai Restaurant. My single disappointment was the lack of squid, BUT what we received was excellent. I also had Thai tea which is always refreshing. For desert, wonderful sticky rice with mangos. As I implied with the title, the interior is not particularly attractive, but we went for the food and not the ambience and it was well worth it. A tad expensive, but this is Minneapolis so it is to be expected. one of the reasons that asked if there were specials was because the menu was so large. A variety of foreign beers are offered as well. Nice place and I'll go back.

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Thank TLV007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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25 - 29 of 50 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2014

We had dinner at this establishment on a Friday night. I had the Beef Pad Panang that was outstanding. They also provide garnishes that I really liked including tasty but hot thai green chiles. Spring rolls were very good and I had a pale ale on draft that finished it all off. This was the top-rated Thai place close to the U of M on Tripadvisor and I can see why. The service was a bit on the slow side but it's dinner, relax. If you're in a huge rush, this might not be the place for you but to have a chat and beer; it was ideal.

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Thank Scott319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2014

I have had a few lunches with colleagues at Sen Yai Sen Lek and the service wasn't memorably bad and the food was always solidly good and unique among Thai in this area. The attention to flavors and quality of ingredients is obvious. They tout their commitment to sourcing food fresh and locally and it shows.

That makes it hard to complain about the experience we had tonight, but the service was just not acceptable. I feel even worse because I think our server meant well but she did too many things that either rubbed us the wrong way or impeded a good dining experience - it added up to a very mixed result. But seeing other recent reviewers call out the service as mediocre or questionable leads me to believe that this restaurant needs to hear the honest opinions of its customers so it can take action to ensure that the full experience lives up to the quality of the food so it can thrive.

Amongst other things, our server:

1) Blew off the dinner order of my 4 year old son (which I am confident I reiterated quite clearly when he ordered it). She oddly claimed that she heard him mention what he wanted but sort of blew it off, not knowing if it was a real order. When we called it out, she was clearly genuinely sorry she didn't understand that he had ordered it and sprang into action to expedite it as soon as possible. Another strange thing is that when she finally brought his order, she also brought a 2nd item from the kids' menu which we didn't ask for at all but she thought she heard us mention when we inquired about the status of what he did actually request. The restaurant didn't charge us for either kids' menu item, which is an appropriate gesture, but it was still a bummer that as the food trickled out, no meal came for our young kid until the adults were well over halfway finished with their meals.

2) One of our party asked whether the coconut drink on the menu was coconut juice (sweetened) or coconut water. The server insisted that the two are synonymous and even went so far as to tell this patron that she must be confused and thinking of coconut milk. Sure enough, the drink turned out to be overly sweet coconut juice.

3) The server had a habit of correcting us or otherwise asserting some fact or making a comment, then after walking away from the table, busying herself nearby, if she heard us continue the thread of the comment or respond to it among ourselves, she jumped back into the conversation to "clarify" or otherwise respond. I know I may sound like I'm being picky or oversensitive, but it happened multiple times and we all noticed it. If she could hear us continuing to talk or react after walking away, she should really just ignore us - we didn't come there to debate.

4) She oversold us on entrees - when we were at a point of ordering where my wife indicated we probably had enough, the server said that we should probably order one, maybe two more entrees. Again, I don't think she was being greedy or trying to run up our tab - I think she was trying to be helpful but in aggregate with everything else, it felt like she was overstepping again and using questionable judgment.

I honestly feel this server had the best of intentions and maybe it was just an off night for her. But on this night our experience left a bad taste in our mouths that somewhat counteracted the great flavors of most of the dishes.

Speaking of which, the Khao Soi (noodle dish with beef and cilantro) was a unique and flavorful dish - the description doesn't note that it's more like a soup and is served with small bowls to dish it up into. And the Pad Bai Gra Pow (Holy Basil stir fry) was excellent. The lettuce wraps with dried shrimp, tamarind sauce and a crazy mix of other little fillings (toasted coconut, peanuts, finely chopped fresh ginger and limes) is a great example of something done in a way that is unique to Thai restaurants in this market (tho I suspect it's a pretty authentic rendering).

I'll say that this place is still high on my list for Thai in the Twin Cities and I'm rooting for them to find some consistency in their service.

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Thank Adam R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2014

We went on Saturday night. I got the green curry special for the evening and am just now finishing my leftovers. So good! My only complaint is, this time, our service wasn't so great. The waitress seemed distracted by her friends at the bar. She forgot our spring rolls until I said something when she brought out our entrees. She apologized and didn't charge us but it was still a bit irksome. The BF's noodle dish was also tasty and the spring rolls were good, luckily we hadn't ordered the hot version since she told us she brought ours over after they had been sitting in the window for who knows how long.

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Thank YelpSucks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2014

I want Sen Yai Sen Lek to succeed - a locally owned restaurant in an emerging neighborhood. But the service is very slow and part of the reason is that the host had no expertise in how to seat people. Putting couples at tables that seat four then having no place to seat four-tops is not smart and is Hosting 101. When the wait was as long as 45 minutes + another 45 minutes to get the food, it would be nice to at least have SOMEONE acknowledge the wait. The food is okay, but hard to appreciate when you're rushed to get to a movie starting 135 minutes after you arrive at the restaurant.

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Thank mplstravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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