Last week, I had the privilege to try Wok Street located at 1518 Chestnut Street after receiving an invitation. Wok Street specializes in fast casual South East Asian Bowls made with rice or lo mein noodles. Essentially their take on Asian street food.
There are four signature bowls plus a veggie option. Prices vary per bowl and by size; range is $7.29-$11.18. You can also build-your-own or customize one of their signature bowls. Some customizations will cost more, especially if you add extra protein ($2.99), extra veggies & sauces ($1.49) or a fried egg on top ($.99).
Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines are my favorite; so it had been on my radar ever since it opened earlier in the year. Luckily, I was able to schedule a visit for a tasting last week around lunchtime. I met my good friend, fellow foodie Chef Cherryl (AKA “Philly Food Gal” and #TravelWithChefCherryl) there. We had been wanting to have lunch together for a while and the timing worked. Opinions on this article are my own, though. Perhaps she’ll chime in later. 😄
First thing I want to comment on is the space. It’s open, well-lit, and has a reclaimed/industrial-vibe to it. Wooden tables and counters and exposed, painted brick make the interior feel very rustic. I enjoyed the look and feel of the space; especially the large communal table in the middle of the room.
If you’re expecting an Asian-themed decor because of the food theme, you might be disappointed. The only semblance of Asia in the place is in artwork which lines the wall in the hall leading to the restrooms in the back. An after-thought perhaps? Who knows and who cares. 😏
Ordering is pretty simple. Very much along the lines of Chipotle, and other build-your-own fast casual spots. You start with your base (choice of rice or noodles), protein (choice of grilled chicken, braised beef, braised pork, or tofu), sauce (choice of teriyaki sauce, peanut sauce, tamarind sauce, or red curry sauce), and toppings/garnishes (charred edamame and corn, Brussels sprouts, pickled red onion, cucumber, carrots, pickled ginger, pickle red pepper, garlic green beans, papaya salad, and a few others).
I chose the Large Pickled Peanut Pork Bowl (swapped the peanut sauce with teriyaki sauce and added charred edamame and corn) along with Matcha Green Tea ($2.49) as my drink. Cherryl had the Large Thai Tofu Bowl with a few customizations and Ginger Lemonade ($2.49) as her beverage. Each of us tried the Summer Rolls ($3.49/2), as well.
[Photo by Cherryl Lemi Gutierrez]
Overall, I was very pleased with my bowl. I felt that the flavor of each of the ingredients was good, they worked well together, and the portion size was generous. I didn’t have a problem finishing the bowl because it was really tasty. It was very satisfying, filled me up nicely, but I didn’t feel over-stuffed.
I only ate one of the summer rolls, though. The wrapper seemed a bit rubbery to me. Possibly because they make these in advance and they might have sat out too long. The veggies inside were al dente, which was nice. It came with yummy peanut sauce for dipping. That was very good. I can definitely see ordering that in a bowl another time.
We both really liked our beverages. In fact, I think they should bottle that Matcha green tea! It had the perfect level of sweetness to me, which is just on the sweet side without it being too sweet. I’m also a sucker for green tea. So all good in my book.
We couldn’t linger too long because we had somewhere else we needed to go that afternoon. However, based on this initial quick visit, I’d definitely go back to try one of the other bowls (with rice next time) or The Banh, their version of a Vietnamese banh mi hoagie ($6.89/pork or chicken; $7.89/steak or tofu), also available on the menu.
I really like the concept, the space, and the flavors. Price may hang up some people, especially for add-ons. But for the most part, I feel the quality and value is there. Give ’em a try if you’re in that area of Center City. If you’ve already been, I’d love to hear what you think.
Wok Street is owned by the same company (Peace Dining Company, formerly Genji, Inc.) that owns Genji LLC (the company that operates sushi operations for 76 Whole Foods in the US and UK), Hai Street Kitchen and Ai Ramen.