Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Arun Sampanthavivat's more casual Thai spot in an old Albany Park police station.
Some two years in the making, Arun Sampanthavivat's long-awaited second restaurant was billed as sort of a community center for Thai culture and an Eataly for Thai cuisine. So far much of that vision remains unrealized, but the restaurant is in full swing. The food I ate during repeat visits to ToTT was so inconsistent I began to feel like I was eating in different restaurant each time. "Fiery" chicken wings smothered in a tame, chunky chile paste and piled upon a crispy fried sweet potato nest were so rubbery I suspected they'd been boiled. The familiar chicken soup tom kha gai, marked on the menu with a red chile, was so milky and innocuous I feared I was ingesting straight coconut milk. The beef salad nam tok, tossed with lime and toasted rice powder, is a reliable bellwether for the quality of the meat that in other dishes might be less obvious; here the tortured dry scraps stand out for what they are. If this level of execution were all the kitchen were capable of, it would perhaps be a less frustrating restaurant. For the moment, Taste of Thai Town isn't the face of Thai cuisine in Chicago its founder envisioned.
Payment Type: AmEx, Discover, Mastercard, Visa