Thirteen years ago, Ann Ahmed opened Lemongrass Thai in Brooklyn Park.
“Even though I’m Laotian, I was hesitant to call it Lao—people were still wandering in and saying ‘Can I get Kung Pao Chicken and Orange Chicken?”
But she always knew she wanted a second restaurant, and as she began traveling to her native Laos, and neighboring countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippenes, and beyond, she knew she couldn’t be restricted to just one cuisine as she had been in the past. So on her new menu you’ll find inspirations from all along the 14th Parallel, a circle of latitude 14 degrees north of the earth’s equatorial plane.
Papaya salad that’s “super funky in smell—dark, pungent, and leaves you really satisfied.” Or Thai Basil Duck, cooked classically in the French style, thanks to French colonization of the area, and reminiscent of what you might find in a fancy hotel in Laos or Vietnam. Traditional drunken noodles hit with shrimp paste to give it funk— known colloquially as “Nasi Sauce”, lending power and fire to all that touches it. And, your old favorite, Pad Thai, but this time enlivened with pickled radish and yes, more spice.
But don’t call this fusion. Amend’s point here is to offer a spirit of generosity, much like you might experience at her grandmother’s table or her Bengali husband’s family wedding.
“Think of going to your minority neighbor’s home and going in and having all of this beautiful food laid out before you.”
As if that weren’t enough, Lat 14 is home to Tommy Goetz, purported to be the baddest cocktail maker currently in the Twin Cities game, and Lat 14 is a good opportunity to bust out your glad rags. This is as fine a dining experience as you’re likely to get around here—do not be fooled by its situation in a converted Perkins in the ‘burbs.