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New Asian fusion restaurant alert: Pak’s Green Corner in West Duluth

There’s a new restaurant in the Denfeld area at 4131 Grand Avenue that I can only describe as Thai fusion. It’s called Pak’s Green Corner and it’s got a lot of traditional Thai dishes, but also it’s got dishes like Poutine and a Phad Thai burrito on its takeout menu. The sit-down menu had even more unconventional takes on traditional Thai dishes that truly made my mouth water.

It opened Aug. 9 for lunch, and I got some take out there at noon. The chef is a Thai woman married to a Duluth native, and the whole family and a few friends are helping out. Very friendly people who told me to call them if I had any comments about the food or the service.

Now for the food. I got spicy basil sauce stir fry with chicken (hot), Thai fried rice with beef for my daughter, and 2 orders of chicken curry puffs, 3 to an order. 2 small salads also came with my order, which cost loess than $30 total.

My Thai basil chicken was delicious, though I could have handled more heat. But she’s cooking for a Minnesota crowd, so I understand. The curry chicken puffs were fantastic. Everything tasted fresh and it’s obviously made to order. And Rachel just told me she liked her dish, so smiles all around.

Thumbs up for this new restaurant, I wish the owner every success and urge all of you to check it out.

Pak’s Green Corner
4131 Grand Avenue
Duluth MN 55807

Open for lunch and dinner, and snack hours too, six days a week.

Here’s the menu:

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45 Comment(s)

  1. I know Pak Williams and she is an amazing cook. I’m looking forward to eating there often!

    Lawrence Lee | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  2. Anyone know if there is any vegan options? Excited for a new place.

    Conrad | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  3. Conrad, there was a note on the menu that they can accommodate vegetarian and vegan requests, and have such options available. I asked them about it and they said they were definitely vegetarian and vegan friendly. Lots of tofu choices in the entrees, along with shrimp, chicken, red meat. A lot of vegetarian choices on the menu, I was very pleased about that. This place is fabulous.

    Claire | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  4. Sweet, that sounds so delicious. Can you run in there at lunch time and grab something to go quickly (like a fast food joint)? Or is the wait time longer than that?

    Tom | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  5. I waited for maybe 15 minutes but I ordered 2 entrees and 2 apps and it was the first day too. It’s not going to be as fast as a fast food place, but it’s worth the wait. I think it probably depends also on what you order, I am sure some dishes are faster to prepare than others. But so worth the drive there and the wait. The people behind the counter were so friendly, I did not mind hanging out there at the counter, waiting for my take out.

    Claire | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  6. Thanks, Claire. I’ll definitely be stopping in there soon. It seems like so many of the good, decent-priced take-out restaurants are downtown or on on the east side of the city. Nice to see a place open in my end of town.

    Tom | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  7. If you go, bring cash. The credit card machine nor the cash register worked today. I had the Pad Thai Burrito. Tastes like it sounds. It was curious eating Pad Thai w/o silverware. There was a little chaos today and they mixed up my order a bit, but they were apologetic and fixed it immediately (and gave me a free salad while I waited). Lots of variety from Thai to pasta, schnitzel to tacos, and even their own spin on tater-tot hot dish. I hope they make it; it’s nice to have a non-chain restaurant--especially in that area of Grand Avenue.

    rogue | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  8. This is great news. West Duluth needs more real restaurants. We have a great breakfast place, coffee shop, and Italian deli, but mostly we’re buried under a sea of fast food chains.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  9. Rogue, that phad thai burrito sounded to me like carbs overload! Glad you liked it. But then I don’t like Poutine for the same reason…

    Claire | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  10. Is it located in the purple building on grand, which has previously been a few different Asian restaurants?

    Purple | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  11. That is the building, Purple. I just drove by that place tonight and was wondering what was up with it, so thanks for the info, Claire. Can’t wait to try it.

    ms dean | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  12. China Station and Wong’s Express are the previous restaurants in this location.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  13. Anybody have a take-out menu they could upload?

    jessige | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  14. MJ | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  15. Nice work PDD. Drove by this place yesterday and was intrigued. The food looks and sounds great. Nice to see some vegetarian options.

    toyota200x | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  16. I have added a scan of the menu to Claire’s original post. (It’s easier to read up there in 450-pixel-wide territory than down here in the 390 zone.)

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  17. Paul, is there an online menu for Giant Panda (featured on another PDD thread) that you can upload too? I can’t find one online, but I am a well known computer illiterate, so….


    emmadogs | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  18. I don’t think Giant Panda has a handout menu, so posting it would probably require photographing the big sign on the wall. I could be wrong, though. I don’t eat lunch downtown very often.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  19. okay, thanks anyway!

    emmadogs | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  20. Paul, can you make me a sandwich like the one in your skunk video?

    -Berv | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  21. Giant Panda menu

    I’d post the photo, but it would be impossible to read here, and it’s not great quality. If you want one to save, you might want to invest 10 minutes of time into retyping it.

    Tom | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  22. Holy crap. This is like my dream restaurant. Thanks for the upload…I gotta go get dinner now.

    jessige | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  23. The food was great. But I think Claire’s recommendation was a bit too much for them. Let’s just say that Chef Gordon Ramsey wouldn’t have been pleased. Give them a couple of weeks to work out the kinks.

    emilymoesewco | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  24. X2. Delicious food, even if my order was a little off. But it took an hour and a half from the time I called to the time it was ready. I’ll definitely be back, but I’ll wait until they’ve had a chance to iron the issues out.

    Chad S | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  25. Sometimes I forget the power of social media. I have three or four groups of friends who told me tonight they ended up leaving without eating, the place was that overwhelmed. Definitely probably a good idea to let them work out their kinks. And lunch might be better than dinner in terms of service.

    Claire | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  26. This place is shit… McDonald’s does Thai better.

    eameslounger | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  27. Um, I just have two questions. First, can you tell me about the Penne with world meatball? What is this “world meatball?” And second, is the “Hamburger hotdish with million bacon open face sandwich,” really served with 1,000,000 bacon? If so, I’ll take three.

    De man | Aug 11, 2012 | New Comment
  28. I went to Pak’s Corner last night and while the staff was very friendly, we were lucky to get there before the dinner rush as it took 30-40 minutes to get our food after ordering. I’m sure the processes will be smoothed out, so no real complaint there. I ordered the pad thai and my girlfriend tried the “spicy” basil sauce. Say what you will about Midwestern palates -- this food was almost flavorless. Neither of us like really spicy food, but both dishes had almost no perceptible flavor or heat. Either the chef is convinced that northern Minnesotans can’t handle anything above bland or she’s just not that good. This combined with the fact that when we left we smelled like we had been swimming in a deep fryer means I won’t give this place a shot for at least 6 months, if ever again. I really want to like small local joints that are run by nice people, but Pak’s food falls way short of places like Sala Thai or the Lotus Inn.

    jacobmn | Aug 11, 2012 | New Comment
  29. Darn it! The building is no longer purple! Pak’s Purple Corner has a better ring to it. Nevertheless, I’ll be excited to go there when I’m up in Duluth. And hope the fresh look gives the place good karma/ fresh start so that the restaurant will remain for a while. Never did get to try the Mexican place that just closed.

    Purple | Aug 12, 2012 | New Comment
  30. We went at around 8:30 last night. When criticizing this place, it’s important to realize that it’s been open for just a few days and that the grand opening is not until October. The owners did not anticipate the huge influx of people, but seemed to have it more figured out by last night. Still, everything is made to order so there is a wait.

    The curry puffs are a definite thumbs-up as is the mojito lemonade (a nonalcoholic cocktail that’s extremely tart and minty). I had the spicy basil sauce and I agree that there is absolutely no spice to it whatsoever. Zero spice. That isn’t to say that it’s “bland,” as one commenter put it. Anything that is loaded with fresh basil is not bland. But either they need to start putting some spice into it or they need to change the misleading name of the dish.

    My girlfriend had the red curry and that was damn good. It did have some spice. I guess I’d put it at the higher end of Minnesota mild. But it was creamy and delicious and — this is of utmost importance — the shrimp was cooked perfectly. I’ve had so much overcooked shrimp in my life that I don’t even order it anymore. But this was tender and perfect.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 12, 2012 | New Comment
  31. What Barrett said. I think it’s unfair to trash a new business that opened its doors Thursday. I ran into the co-owner last night at Carmody, and he told me that between my posting my review on PDD and a friend of the owners telling 30 of her best friends to show up, they had way more customers than they expected Friday night. Let them work out the kinks, get their sea legs, I think this place is going to be great, just as I thought it was Thursday when there were few other customers in the place and they weren’t completely taken by surprise.

    Re the spicy basil sauce dish — I asked for it really spicy, as I always do. Maybe that’s the secret — because, like I said above, the cook — who was the cook at Thai Krathong when it first opened on First Street maybe 10-12 years ago — is cooking for a Minnesota crowd. She knows how to do spicy, I guess you just have to ask.

    Claire | Aug 12, 2012 | New Comment
  32. Went to lunch at Pak’s yesterday. Had the tofu hummus wrap and enjoyed it. Some very friendly staff and they are working on speeding up food prep times. I was there for over an hour total. Hope they continue to do well…I will definitely eat there again. Quality food.

    toyota200x | Aug 15, 2012 | New Comment
  33. So far, I’ve tried the fried rice and the pad thai burrito. I enjoyed both. The rice had a bit more flavor, as the burrito could’ve been spicier.

    The dinner wait was long, but they’re visibly understaffed and got hit with a wave they weren’t prepared for. Hopefully this unexpected increase in revenue means they’ll be able to hire on more help.
    Cheers to Pak and Dan and their new business.

    Hot Shot | Aug 15, 2012 | New Comment
  34. Ordered lunch and a beverage there today for pick-up. I specifically asked (as I had been advised by the owner Pak) for my Spicy Basil Sauce Stir Fry with tofu to be “extra spicy.” It was perfect! Very spicy, vegetables crisp, tofu well-fried. Mmmmmmmm.

    I had the Thai Iced Coffee and was quite impressed. The meal was delicious and definitely brightened my day.

    The wait time was no different then I have experienced at other restaurants around lunch time.

    Will definitely be back to sample more of the menu.

    They are still getting their feet under them and I am willing to give them time to do so. After all, a locally owned business that is using fresh foods, prepared daily, is worth supporting.

    wildknits | Aug 16, 2012 | New Comment
  35. Ate there tonight. The Poutine was odd — are the cheese curds supposed to be cold? I’ve never had poutine before, but pictures look a little meltier.

    The sesame chicken was made from the tenderest breast meat I’ve had in such a dish.

    Kate’s pad thai was spicy, but at the expense of pad thai flavor.

    The bananas and honey were AMAZING.

    Great experience, minor kinks, worth another go in October. | Aug 16, 2012 | New Comment
  36. Visited Pak’s for the second time, this time for lunch with a friend. We sat outside and enjoyed red curry — with chicken for me and beef for him. Pak and I had a little discussion about how spicy I wanted my dish — she told me there’s been complaints about their dishes not being spicy enough and so they are getting their peppers from someone else. I asked for it extra spicy but not “Thai Hot.” My friend asked for it medium. We both got small salads to start, and then our entrees. My red curry chicken was fabulous, and definitely perfectly spiced for me. They also brought out a small dish of chili pepper, in case we wanted to spice up our dishes even more. The chicken was as other people have commented, tender and delicious. And the red curry sauce… yum, at one point I ate some straight with a spoon.

    We then shared a dessert — Pak’s take on flan. It was delicious, like a brownie topped with custard, which in turn was topped with drizzles of caramel. Nom nom nom.

    Pak’s is a laid-back little hole-in-the-wall where the food takes a little longer because everything is cooked to order. The staff is incredibly friendly and sitting outside added to the sense of well-being for me. If you are in a rush, or want haute cuisine, don’t come here. If you want delicious food in a laid-back atmosphere, this is the place.

    By the way, my friend and I met at 1 pm, we were done and on our way by 2 pm.

    Claire | Aug 21, 2012 | New Comment
  37. The fries have to be really hot for poutine to work right -- the fries (and the hot gravy) are supposed to (partially at least) melt the cheese curds.

    We had it at the Chester Bowl benefit and I would have to say it is not an exact science.

    Cheese curds need to be held at room temp -- not cold -- and that would be a health department no no.

    I kind of wanted to have the cheese melted like queso -- but everyone said that was not authentic.

    Carla | Aug 21, 2012 | New Comment
  38. Joel said your poutine was great, Carla.

    Claire | Aug 21, 2012 | New Comment
  39. I, too, had the poutine at the Chester Park benefit and it knocked my socks off! Yum! The curds were melty, stringy goodness, the fries melt-your-face-off hot and the gravy was a thing dreams are made of. Definitely a food memory highlight of my summer!

    michellep | Aug 22, 2012 | New Comment
  40. I’ve eaten at Pak’s a couple of times now. Both times the food was excellent (curry puffs, mixed vegetable stir fry, red curry) and the service is *MUCH* better now that they are getting things figured out.

    They’ve made some minor adjustments to the menu and some of the non-Thai dishes are offered as daily specials now. If you’ve been waiting until they got things organized, now would be an excellent time to go.

    I stopped in, ordered food for take-out and was out of there in less than 10 minutes right at lunch time.

    Spectrum | Sep 17, 2012 | New Comment
  41. The Duluth City Council is scheduled to consider (and certainly will approve) a 3.2 percent malt liquor and on-sale wine license for Pak’s next week.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  42. The Claire family went to Pak’s last night for dinner. Delicious! Started off with the chicken curry puffs, followed by the Hot & Sour coconut soup with chicken. We asked for it spicy and we got spicy, it definitely opened up the sinuses. Mr. Claire had red curry with chicken, I had sesame chicken, and Baby Claire had the Beef Stew Noodle Soup (Pho), which was a non-traditional take on Pho. I have to say, the chicken is so tender, and the vegetables are so fresh … it’s surprising to find such high quality ingredients in this price range. I recently was at Beijing, and while I like it, the sesame chicken I had at Beijing was in no way in the same league as the food at Pak’s.

    We also had dessert, flan for Baby Claire, and flan atop a half butternut squash for the parents. The squash was a bit much, but it was a delicious combination.

    Total bill pre-tax: $48

    I was surprised that there weren’t more people dining there on a Friday evening. If you haven’t been there yet, or haven’t been there in a while, it’s a great place to get some hot and spicy food on a winter’s night. And Pak is delightful, you can tell she really puts her heart in it, and loves what she does.

    I think our soup was a “3″ in terms of spicy, Mr. Claire says his chicken curry was a “2″ which was just right for him.

    Claire | Dec 1, 2012 | New Comment
  43. FYI: From Pak’s FB page, posted Thursday, Nov. 29:

    Yesterday was our first day to place and order for Beer and wine.

    After all the hard work of the zoning change had done with fully support of my love one, Dan Williams and a very nice co-operation of City Staff and our neighbors. Thank you so much for all your help.

    We are exited to to serve beer and wine soon possibly next week.
    At the mean time we will add some new appetizer menu to pair with beer and wine as well.

    Wish all of you have a good day please stay warm.

    Claire | Dec 1, 2012 | New Comment
  44. I had wonderful meal on Saturday night at Pak’s. The spring rolls are so refreshing and I loved my veggie fried rice. Not oil/greasy like the majority of the Asian restaurants. So refreshing. Great customer service!

    toyota200x | Feb 5, 2013 | New Comment
  45. We ate dinner at Pak’s Saturday night as well! We shared the curry puffs app, which is delicious, and then shared the red curry chicken and asked for it #2 spicy — which was perfect for Mr. Claire, and definitely had enough of a kick for me as well — and I love spicy! I ended up, when we ran out of rice, just spooning up the curry sauce straight, like soup. Pak is my BFF now, and gave us a flan to share as a dessert… her flan is the best flan ever! It is delicious! Our bill came to less than $18 before tip. Excellent food, excellent price. The restaurant is a total hole in the wall, but the food is incredible!

    Claire | Feb 5, 2013 | New Comment

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