Hours: Lunch, dinner: Monday-Saturday | Closed Sunday
Quick, fresh pan-Asian in the pedway under Block 37.
Sibling to West Town's Thalia Spice, the pan-Asian Simply Thalia has done a booming business with Loop office workers after moving into the renovated pedway beneath Block 37. The reason's obvious: in a stretch overrun by chains, it offers crisp ingredients and freshly prepared dishes. The roasted duck banh mi comes with the meat on a bed of shredded carrots, cilantro, jalapeño, and onion in a baguette that doesn't overwhelm the innards. The kimchi in the bi bim bop has an audible crunch, while the spinach adds color, a warm dark green. The boat noodles get texture from bean sprouts and scallions. And the sushi is done on-site, with the colorful Crazy Tuna roll having three different types of the fish, all of which can be tasted amid the tobiko and rice. The banh mi, rice, and noodle lunch specials can all be ordered as Bento boxes with gyoza, salad, miso soup, and an almond cookie; in the late afternoon and early evening, larger sushi combos are available. It might not be a destination restaurant compared with the city's very best Asian spots, but sometimes the destination comes to the diner.
— Ted Cox
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