Immm Rice & Beyond | Uptown | Asian, Thai | Restaurant

Immm Rice & Beyond Image

Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days

Price: $$

Thai street food served buffet style in the former Thai Avenue; the menu changes daily, with items posted on the restaurant's Facebook page, facebook.com/immmchicago. Cash only; BYO.

Restaurant Details

Uptown's Immm Rice & Beyond is a unique-to-Chicago model specializing in khao rad gang, or rice and curry dishes (the term "curry" here used loosely), arrayed on steam tables from which the customer chooses a single dish or combination. Think of it as the Thai version of the south's "meat and three," with the rice standing in as the most important part of the meal. Immm (a Thai expression of satiation) specializes in street food, but veers from convention in that it offers a variety of som tam, papaya salad, a la carte, with a choice of add-ins such as fermented crab, grilled pork neck, or preserved egg. A few noodle soups and made-to-order dishes, or aharn tam sang, are also available. One dish that will never go off the menu is gaeng tai pla, a southern Thai vegetable curry that as the menu's description asserts is made with fermented fish guts. And that's the great thing about Immm: much of the food—in all categories—is fearlessly seasoned across the spectrum of the Thai flavor rainbow. As with any buffet, it's important to find the sweet spot: Immm's menu is posted on Facebook each morning, but arrive too early and some dishes may not be ready; show up too late and they may be gone. But servers are forthcoming with advice on which combinations work well together, and they're eager to dispense tasting samples, which makes it simple to get a grip on the wealth of delicious possibilities that lay before you.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$

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