I was really bummed last year when Tee Belachew closed T’s Place, his restaurant and music club on East Lake Street. It has been replaced by the Addis Ababa, which also serves good Ethiopian cuisine, and world music, but Tee’s was something special – possibly the only Ethiopian-Malaysian fusion restaurant in the world. Tee learned to cook Malaysian cuisine when he partnered with a talented Malaysian chef in an earlier restaurant venture, and he became very good at it.
Then yesterday, I made another disappointing discovery: my favorite Thai restaurant, Bangkok Royal Thai, was gone from its location at 315 University Ave. W. in St. Paul. In its place were signs for The Village Ethiopian Asian restaurant.
I pulled over to check it out, stuck my head in the door, and immediately recognized the familiar face of Tee Belachew. We took a little time to catch up, and then I invited Tee to record a short video about his new venture.
The new restaurant is a work in progress. Tee’s business cards still say “Royal Bangkok,” and the offerings for the $7.98 Asian lunch buffer seem a bit sparse. But I definitely want to go back and try some of Tee’s specialties like his Curry Chicken, and his Ethio-Asian fried rice. Some more changes are in the works. Tee is applying for a wine and beer license, which may take a few months. And the owners of the popular Little India grocery on Central Ave. in Minneapolis are opening a new branch next door. Tee says he wants to partner with them to add some Indian dishes to his menu. Stay tuned.