Little Bangkok is expensive but worth it


Declan Hoffman, Staff Writer

An overall average experience, and maybe less depending on your luck, Little Bangkok of East Grand Forks offers a vast selection of traditional Japanese sushi and other oriental noodles or stir fry dishes for prices that keep expectations far higher than what is delivered.

Offering everything from traditional thai classics — including spicy stir fry, noodles, rice and even curry — to a generous sushi menu complete with sashimi, nigiri and maki in a la carte, separate rolls, combo rolls and specialty rolls, finding a dish worth craving for will be no difficult task.

The popular noodle options of pad thai, drunken noodles, yakisoba, pho and kao kai Noodles are all listed on the extensive noodle menu.

Rice classics like sweet and sour, pad cashew and thai fried rice are all sauteed stir-fry style, each with their corresponding stir-fry sauce, combination of vegetables and customer choice of meat or tofu with a side of jasmine rice. A taste of the yakisoba noodle dish was not as impressive as the sushi selection and quality, but definitely worth a try.

The maki sushi was fresh, and while not being the best sushi out there, it did leave me wanting more. The nigiri were also clearly of high quality from the first bite. Although only having tasted the tai, sake and maguro nigiri selections, they seemed to be representative of what could be assumed as an overall impressive display from the sushi bar.

With all the sushi options available, anyone looking for a taste of the traditional Japanese cuisine in Grand Forks will not be disappointed heading Little Bangkok’s way — until seeing the prices, not even considering the fact that the majority of the restaurant’s demographic consists of barely paid college students.

But for the older, more financially stable customers of Little Bangkok, the level of service offered from the waiting staff is certain to leave quite a bit to be desired. Although most servers almost always had a smile — forced or not — on their face, there seemed to be a disconnect between their portrayed level of dedication and what they were able to offer.

Observing surrounding tables, the frustration was not hard to observe on the expressions of those having waited an extended period of time for noodle entrees, fidgeting their thumbs waiting for the bill or a chance to ask for a drink refill.

Little Bangkok offers a variety of fresh options within the Asian culture.
Courtesy of
Little Bangkok offers a variety of fresh options within the Asian culture.

For the premium product Little Bangkok presents themselves to be — from their prime location on the bank of the Red River, to the thoughtfully laid out design that creates a convincing atmosphere which are all first steps to delivering what the check asks for — there seems to be a disconnect with the inconsistent staff.

Although most waiting staff are likely to be much better seasoned than the few observed during one two hour sitting, it doesn’t seem customer service should even be a discussion for the prices charged here.

Dollar sushi nights every Wednesday appear to be the only effort put forth to attract the most reliable customer base — UND students.

Perhaps they could try a “buy one get one” sushi roll menu or extending hours to bring in the midnight craving college students, or decrease the prices to make it more affordable for everyone all leave the business model for this restaurant slightly confusing.

Little Bangkok tries to present a brand of higher quality by offering average dishes and above average sushi, a huge menu and a thoughtful atmosphere, but it lacks the waiting staff to deliver the brand in a way that is most important to seal the deal.

For a night out and a craving for sushi, stir-fry or noodle dishes in Grand Forks, options tend to be limited and nobody would be wrong giving Little Bangkok a try. It would just be even better if there was a clear effort to establish the restaurant’s product in one way or another.

Overall, the experience was pleasant and certainly worth returning to with a wallet able to support the tab, that is.

Declan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]