Hours: Lunch, dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday
Vegan Thai restaurant.
I don't have enough fingers to count the vegetarians I've run into over the years who believed they were staying the course just by subbing tofu for beef, chicken, or pork at their favorite Thai restaurants. There's fish sauce in everything—yes, even in your veggie pad thai—that's what makes it taste Thai. So the idea of a vegan Thai restaurant raises my skepticism to 11. But this snug Ravenswood spot prepares some relatively remarkable things without it, particularly its tom yam, which hits some commendable notes in terms of spiciness, sweetness, and sourness. There's even a reasonably deep well of umaminess to it that ordinarily would have been provided by the nam pla. Instead, I'm told, it's soy sauce, but it sure doesn't taste like it. On the lengthy menu there's an array of soy-based meat substitutes filling in for the traditional proteins—some rather repulsive, but others not too bad at all. The soy fish, for example, has a realistic flakiness to it, and the deep-fried "soy chicken" is nothing so much as a McNugget, minus the mystery grease. While some dishes taste far flatter than the tom yam and the kitchen makes up for it with an excess of sweetness, they certainly don't ignore requests for Thai levels of chile heat. And if you're missing your nam pla, or feel a need to boost your proteins, tables are provided with bottles of Bragg brand All Natural Liquid Aminos for personal supplementation.
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