What should men expect when out on the town?
How 'bout BYO so can than can pass around amongst themselves many various adult beverages such as quality local beers (Bell's Oberon went especially well with our meal the other day) and good bottles of whiskey. Yum Thai is agreeably BYO, with a decent liquor store down the block if needed.
How bout agreeably macho fare like squid salad, nearly inedibly hot due to a shower of thai chili's and garlic? Or raw shrimp. Steak, well at least in the form of salad, and other food's suited for he-man woman haters of all stripes.
Maybe I'm expressing too much hope in one meal, of a Yum comeback, but I'll always have a special place in my chow-heart for this place. After all, this is the original home of the "secret menu", and a validation of an international community of like-minded foodies when the secret menu went from restaurant to mysterious compatriot then resident in Vietnam, only known by the moniker "foodfirst (small f), back to the US and then typeset by another foodie more known by his handle, "Zim" then his birth name. There were some nice proto-Thai meals there, supplied by secret menu, but as things played out, it got supplemented by other houses and other secret menus. Over time, the other houses played a big better to our crowd, and Erik M, though obsessiveness and diligence, provided even better guidance. As other places provided the secret (authentic) experience we craved, the players at Yum Thai rather walked away from the market. More than a few of us found they did not especially enjoy serving us the secret menu. It detracted from the experience, and generally, the food just did not match such favorites as Thai Avenue or Aroy.
So, it has been, at least 2 years since I last visited Yum Thai, close to me in Forest Park, but for various reasons, it turned out to be a good choice for dinner on Friday, and following dinner on Friday, appears to be a good choice for dinner again before 2 years. In fact, as noted above, I think one of my future meals here should be with the Oak Park Boyz Club.
I'm not sure if there's a chance of management of staff at Yum Thai. As I said, it's been me gone for a while, not them, so what could I tell from the faces. Still, I did not recognize anyone. I did recognize all the menus, especially the long ago "secret" menu, complete with the typo's and questionable translations--after all, how much could foodfirst do from far away; Erik M actually burnished the translations, but the house seems to have tossed out that version for what I'd like to call, the authentic secret menu.
Only 2 of us, we did not have a lot of ordering power. We designed our meal for maximum effect of Yum classics: the squid salad, the one heavy with lime, bpaap or something like that, always a great dish of theirs; orange curry with shrimp (gang som), and pork with red chili paste and long beans. The first dish blew us away with, as noted above, nearly overwhelming heat and tartness. It countered nicely against the pork, which while hot had a strong dose of coconut sweetness. The orange curry mostly stayed in the middle. We finished with excellent Thai custard. After dinner, several members of the house came out to wish us bye and marvel that we actually ate the food. Who cannot want to have that again?
Listen up OPers, Ale House is where you take your family. Men eat raw Thai chili's for snacks.
Yum Thai - "Home of the Original Secret Menu"
7748 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130-1404