At 319 W. First St. is an 8-month-old Asian restaurant specializing in Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine called Oriental House. My spouse and I stopped by this evening to try it out. With the recent PDD post on Pak’s, I figured the power of social media would get the word out on this little gem of a restaurant since I don’t think many folks know about it.
The few times I drove by in the evening (before the cafe curtains were installed) revealed few customers; tonight we arrived a half hour before closing and two others stopped in for a meal. Perhaps they draw a strong lunch crowd. I’m a big fan of Asian food and I’m always thrilled when a new restaurant comes to fruition in Duluth. Oriental House certainly deserves high praise and raves for its friendly staff and affordable scrumptious food.
The interior is comfortable with two-tone walls of white/black and dark wooden cross beams. Simple decorations of a few lacquered art work adorned the walls. The restaurant could do better with fresh flowers instead of the plastic variety, but I figure I would rather staff spend money on ingredients than say oleanders.
Indeed, the restaurant hit the mark on my chicken massaman entree. Served piping hot with white rice, I quickly sampled the broth and took in its sweet flavor. The chicken was perfect and the accompanying vegetables were fresh and crisp. The dish contained snow peas, green peppers, carrots, and pieces of apple. I was making small noises of delight while eating away — there were a lot of hm’s punctuating the bites I took. My spouse had a combination dinner of sweet & sour chicken and green pepper steak with tomatoes and onions in a brown sauce. He, too, gave his meal thumbs up. The pork egg rolls were also commendable; they were meaty with clear thin noodles, not the cabbage that overwhelms many egg rolls. Be sure to ask for the fish sauce to go with them.
The dishes are very affordable and there is enough food to satisfy a hungry tum. The massaman was only $8.25 and the combo $8.95. The waitress was attentive, but not overly so, and the restaurant owner stopped by to ask about our meal. I thought that was a nice touch as not many owners in restaurants tend to do that anymore.
I didn’t take any photos while visiting, but they do have a Facebook page with photos of their take-out menu and a few dishes. They also deliver — ask for details. I can’t wait to return for more meals.