Vital Information wrote:
I'm mostly happy with Yum Thai of late. We are going there tonight to celebrate a good report for older daughter, so I'll report back.
The family and I ate mostly delicious food at Yum Thai last night, but I have to say, my love towards this place is somewhat iffy. Some of it is not their fault necessarily. I am incredibly spoiled and snobby these days when it comes to ingredients. Sure, tomatoes are slightly on the down slope now, but the ones on offer last night had rolled right off the cliff. The lettuce and green beans practically tasted the same. And at a time when I gorge about daily on fresh chilli's, the heat provided mostly from dried and pickled peppers seemed dulled and, well, flawed. On the other hand, despite these problems, the dishes mostly work. In one particular dish, a phad prik, the dried ingredient, here lime leaves, rescues the dish, providing the needed flavor boost. The bamboo salad lacks the huge dose of unami present in Thai Avenue's version, but still hit the spot. It was all gone before the night. Likewise, the standard beef salad, from its empty plate, must have been better than its meager parts. You will fine good food here.
Yum Thai is home to the original secret menu. At least the first secret menu that was widely translated for us foodies due to a yeoman work of distant correspondent known as foodfirst (with a small f) as well as the type-setting efforts of the also distant (these days it seems) Zim. For many years, the secret menu, the translation of the Thai language menu, was a crumpled piece of paper, probably the original paper dropped off by Zim many years ago. Yum Thai, realizing a good thing, eventually re-printed the menu on better paper. As of yesterday, they seemed to have re-printed it again to reflect slightly higher prices. One of the secrets though, to the secret menu, is that the prices are generally lower per dish than they are on the regular menu. Also, as long ago discovered, the same dish on the two menus may have the same name, but will result in two separate outputs. Ensure you order from the secret menu. That is, ask for the translated menu or Thai menu.
The other thing I have to confess that bugs me about Yum Thai is the mixed welcome they provide. We are certainly known enough here; known enough that upon entrance yesterday, we are immediately warned, "no Chinese broccoli today." Yet, in a near empty restaurant, we were constantly confronted with whether we were ready to order. It's not the rushing that bothers me. It's that after all these years, the work with the secret menu, the "investigative meals" with ErikM, the Chowhound dinners, etc.; I am not looking for some medal from Yum Thai, but it bugs me that our relationship seems so stand-off-ish. It just seems that they do not want to let us embrace the glories of their cuisine. There is just no sense of sharing, and that is very disconcerting.
If I just wanted to eat Thai food, I would much rather go to Thai Avenue or Spoon or Arroy or TAC, but as none of those places are remotely close to me, there are times when I will find myself at Yum Thai. The question is, a place to get a bite in Forest Park, not a place for the best Thai food. In that realm, with the advice of secret menu, I'd still answer yes to Yum Thai.
7748 Madison St
Forest Park, IL 60130