World Street Kitchen

World Street Kitchen
Photo by Katherine Harris

Saffron was already a top restaurant when chef Sameh Wadi and his brother Saed decided to open a food truck called World Street Kitchen, serving edgy street food on a more casual and globally influenced menu than their restaurant. A smash hit, it pulled people out of their downtown offices for something called a Yum Yum Bowl: Simply a paper box filled with fragrant rice and fresh, leafy herbs, peanuts, chicken, spicy sauce, and a soft egg, it took lunch to a new level.

Realizing they had something special, the brothers have opened a brick and mortar location of WSK in the LynLake area. The counter-service shop feels like an extension of the truck—casual, cool, and fun. Truck loyalists will be able to find their favorites, but there’s oh so much more. The expanded menu gallops giddily around the world to put some crazy fun dishes in front of you.

The Morroccan fried chicken (aka MFC) sandwich has a crisp pub-batter fry to it and comes slathered with a spicy feta spread and some carrot slaw on a cheddar biscuit. Not the easiest thing to handle, but it’s pure and cravable after-bar food (WSK is open late on weekends). Tacos can be jerk beef with mint chimichurri, charred squash with pumpkin seed salsa, or caramelized lamb belly with spicy pickles. But it was the lemongrass meatballs that threw me. As part of the DIY lettuce wraps, these little Vietnamese-style meatballs were amazingly flavorful, juicy, perfectly crisped on the outside with a soft, meaty interior—hands down the best thing I’d eaten all week. I admit to ordering a second order (sans lettuce) to drag through the chutneys and sauce of the aloo tikki chaat. This is ambitious chef-driven cooking for the people, and the majority of the menu is priced less than $10. And there’s beer, good beer.

To say this seems built for expansion is obvious. We can only hope that if a WSK comes to your neighborhood, those meatballs will stay true. 2743 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-424-8855, eatwsk.com