Bucktown's O'Cha Thai: Americanized, and what of it?

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The garlic shrimp at OCha Thai Cuisine is so very, very pretty . . . and tasty, too!
  • Aimee Levitt
  • The garlic shrimp at O'Cha Thai Cuisine is so very, very pretty . . . and tasty, too!
If you've ever been to a Thai restaurant before, you won't find anything novel or surprising on the menu at O'Cha Thai Cuisine, which opened in Bucktown in January. The entrees are a predictable assortment of noodle dishes, curries, and stir-fries. The only thing that might be even mildly shocking is the appetizer list, which expands the definition of "Thai" to include crab Rangoon, egg rolls, and calamari (although it does come with Thai sweet chile sauce, not marinara). But if you're going to be a pedantic sourpuss purist about it, you'll be the one who's missing out.

Those egg rolls are, simply, fantastic: a flavorful mix of glass noodles, carrots, cabbage, and shiitake mushrooms wrapped in shatteringly crisp rice paper. The entrees, likewise, are unimaginative in conception but superb in execution. The garlic shrimp, for instance, combined shrimp and broccoli, both perfectly cooked, in a spicy, only slightly sweet black pepper sauce. Only the pad Thai suffers; it's tasty, but slightly bland.

This is definitely Thai food for Americans, but when it's this well prepared—and when there are so many other mediocre Thai restaurants around—do you really want to make lack of authenticity a sticking point?

O'Chai Thai Cuisine, 2062 N. Damen, 773-235-6242, ochachicago.com

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