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Opart Thai House on Western Ave.

Opart Thai House on Western Ave.
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  • Opart Thai House on Western Ave.

    Post #1 - January 11th, 2013, 7:53 am
    Post #1 - January 11th, 2013, 7:53 am Post #1 - January 11th, 2013, 7:53 am
    I did a search, and browsed through 4 pages of mentions - but I can't find a thread dedicated to Opart Thai House on Western. Ave. in Lincoln Square (if there is one, mods - feel free to move this post). My wife and I dined there last night (after reading it's going to be on Check, Please! this weekend), and I have to say - it was the best Thai food I've had in Chicago. Really bold flavors, prompt service, interesting curry dishes, perfect portion size and VERY affordable.

    It's BYOB, with a liquor store next door - so I grabbed a few bottles of beer & cider. I like porters, and I LOVE smoked porters - so when I saw an interesting bottle of imperial smoked porter called "Smoking Wood" by The Bruery I had to try it. It was described : "Brewed with beachwood and cherrywood smoked malt, and aged in rye whiskey barrels, Smoking Wood is a delicious demonstration of what wood has to offer when it comes to beer. This imperial smoked porter is brewed with a hefty amount of rye malt, contributing to a full body and light spiciness. Toasty oak, caramel and vanilla flavors balance the smokiness, contributing to an intense yet refined flavor profile."
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    I grabbed a hard cider for my wife, but I didn't check the price of either bottle, expecting them to be about $10 each- it rang up to $31.85 for the 2 bottles of beer/cider!! I looked at the prices, and found The Bruery Porter was $20 before tax! I asked the guy why it was so expensive, he said "I don't know, you're the one buying it"...So, my evening started a little funny - I've never paid $20 for a beer a the liquor store.

    Back into Opart, I sit with our two bottles - and before I had a chance to try any Thai food, I was blown away with this beer. It was worth every penny. Rich, smokey malt flavors with a light spice and a really nice finish. I will be back to purchase more of this time to time for certain meals (not a daily drinking beer by any means).

    OK, Ok, on to my review of the actual thai food - I got off-track as I remembered how amazing this beer was. We ordered Tom Ka Kai Soup (Chicken) to start with a medium spice level. This soup was off-the-charts good. Really nice Hot and Sour soup, with a soft coconut milk base - mixed with lemon grass and lime juice. A nice herby, spicy soup with a smooth finish. Fresh Chilis were floating in the soup (adjusted to your ordering preference for heat), and it's delivered in a HUGE communal pot with a small candle to keep it hot. This is enough soup for 4-6 people, we had two bowls each and brought home another 3-4 bowls. Very Bold, Very Tasty, I was very impressed.
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    For entrees, we shared a Peanut Sauce Lover & Gaeng Gari - which were both incredible. The peanut lover dish, for peanut sauce lovers such as myself, was the best dish of it's kind I've had. Perfect level of spice, fresh white and green onions - which were cooked enough to be tender, but the flavor was not sweat out. The bold flavor of the onions provided a nice strong bite to balance the sweetness of the peanut sauce; all of which was countered by a lingering spiciness that was just the right level for us (we ordered medium spice). The sauteed cashews in the dish were rich, and slightly soft so you could "prong them" with your fork. The portion size was perfect, as much as I appreciate a value - it annoys me when Chinese, thai, or italian restaurants LOAD enough food on a single platter to serve 4 people (unless it's noted as being a sharing size on the menu). I'd rather have just enough really good food, rather than too much average food.
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    The Gaeng Gari was from the "Thai Curries" section of their menu. Yellow curry, sweet potatoes sauteed in coconut milk with chicken. This had a great range of flavors, from the spicy curry to the sweetness of the coconut milk - with nice pieces of well-cooked chicken and "al dente" chunks of sweet potato. Again, spice level medium was perfect for us - and all of the flavors blended well together.

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    For me, the key to flavor in a dish is two fold: BOLD and Balanced. Apart Thai achieves both: Bold flavors, well-balanced, allowing you to taste them separately and at the same time. Some of the spices are on the front of the bite, some linger, and the overall dishes sing harmoniously with savor.

    Opart Thai, I will return - maybe even today! (and I'll definitely try some other beers from The Bruery)

    Opart Thai
    4658 N Western Ave Chicago, IL 60625
    Phone: (773) 989-8517
    I love comfortable food, and comfortable restaurants.
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  • Post #2 - January 11th, 2013, 1:20 pm
    Post #2 - January 11th, 2013, 1:20 pm Post #2 - January 11th, 2013, 1:20 pm
    I have lived near Opart for several years, and have been there a handful of times (usually at friends' requests), and I've just never been impressed. One of my biggest problems is that the flavors skew too sweet for my tastes. One dish I quite like at a couple of other Thai joints (tod mun pla) is a perfect example, although I also found the dense texture undesirable. And while I don't find their noodle dishes offensive, I find that nearby places like Spoon, Sticky Rice, Rosded and Aroy all present far more interesting menus and more complex flavors. All that being said, I'll compliment them on a friendly staff and a nice dining room.
  • Post #3 - January 11th, 2013, 3:55 pm
    Post #3 - January 11th, 2013, 3:55 pm Post #3 - January 11th, 2013, 3:55 pm
    I, also, have love for Opart. Is it my favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago? No. Do I ever balk when my partner or friends want to go there( we took Scott Heim there on his reading tour for In Awe waybackwhen...)? No. I've had many good meals at Opart. I second their tom kha kai(though I've always wished it was available in individual portions). I imagine theirs is from scratch. The tiger cry is a favorite. And, they make a sublime laab kai. Yes, they skew sweet. However, I've always been able to enjoy my heat preference(pet-pet/Thai spicy) with nary a blink of an eye. Is Opart Americanized? To an extent. But, they've been doing what they're good at for many years and remain heads above your everyday Ameri-Thai schlock. And, they're referenced in The Time Traveler's Wife(the novel, not the mini-series). Opart's a landmark in my Chicago. And, I know we've discussed them on LTH somewhere or other, probably buried in the old Erik. M threads.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #4 - January 11th, 2013, 9:40 pm
    Post #4 - January 11th, 2013, 9:40 pm Post #4 - January 11th, 2013, 9:40 pm
    In a strange coincidence, Opart was featured on "Check, Please!" tonight. All three panelists liked it very much, though the phrase "friggin' amazeballs!" was not used. Go figure. :roll:
  • Post #5 - January 11th, 2013, 9:55 pm
    Post #5 - January 11th, 2013, 9:55 pm Post #5 - January 11th, 2013, 9:55 pm
    sundevilpeg wrote:In a strange coincidence, Opart was featured on "Check, Please!" tonight.

    The OP mentioned this.

    It looked good on the show, looking forward to trying it.
  • Post #6 - January 15th, 2013, 8:43 am
    Post #6 - January 15th, 2013, 8:43 am Post #6 - January 15th, 2013, 8:43 am
    Opart is in my rotation as of late thanks to Leela from @SheSimmers. She did an article for Serious Eats about 10 overlooked Thai Dishes in Chicago including the "Pad Ped Pla Dook" from Opart. That's the dish I ordered more times than not at Sticky Rice but they have some consistency issues with the fish. None of those at Opart where its cooked perfect each time. When we're there it's always the same thing. Miang Sa-Wan to start and the catfish after that.

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    Dried pork, peanuts, lime, fresh ginger, onions & Thai hot peppers, served w/ lettuce leaves

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    Catfish, green beans and wedges of Thai eggplants in red curry sauce
  • Post #7 - January 15th, 2013, 12:38 pm
    Post #7 - January 15th, 2013, 12:38 pm Post #7 - January 15th, 2013, 12:38 pm
    Opart has long been one of my favorites. The catfish with eggplant and red curry pictured above is great, as is the fried sole fish with Thai basil.
  • Post #8 - January 15th, 2013, 1:35 pm
    Post #8 - January 15th, 2013, 1:35 pm Post #8 - January 15th, 2013, 1:35 pm
    I absolutely loved the Pad Kra-Prao at their now-shuttered Wilmette location. It was the best version of this dish I can remember having in town. I wonder if it's as good at the Western Ave location. I'll have to check it out soon.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #9 - January 18th, 2013, 11:05 am
    Post #9 - January 18th, 2013, 11:05 am Post #9 - January 18th, 2013, 11:05 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I absolutely loved the Pad Kra-Prao at their now-shuttered Wilmette location. It was the best version of this dish I can remember having in town. I wonder if it's as good at the Western Ave location.


    I don't know how it compares to the Wilmette location, but the Pad Kra Proaw is my husband's favorite on Western. It's good. the sole fish dish I mentioned above is basically pad kra praow with sole fish instead of ground chicken.
  • Post #10 - June 8th, 2015, 12:42 pm
    Post #10 - June 8th, 2015, 12:42 pm Post #10 - June 8th, 2015, 12:42 pm
    Opart Thai House, one of the city's most popular destinations for Thai cuisine, will be expanding to Chicago Avenue in Noble Square, its owners announced Monday.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150608 ... e-location
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #11 - May 4th, 2018, 6:46 am
    Post #11 - May 4th, 2018, 6:46 am Post #11 - May 4th, 2018, 6:46 am
    Opart Thai House, one of the city’s better Thai restaurants and a fixture in Lincoln Square for 34 years, closed on Tuesday at 4658 N. Lincoln Avenue. The restaurant’s locations in West Town and South Loop are unaffected.

    https://chicago.eater.com/2018/5/3/1731 ... oln-square
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #12 - May 10th, 2018, 4:00 pm
    Post #12 - May 10th, 2018, 4:00 pm Post #12 - May 10th, 2018, 4:00 pm
    Eater reports that former Opart chef will open Green Leaf Thai Cuisine in the same space, which is at 4658 N Western. Eater blew the address in this announcement and in the story Dave noted in the preceding post.

    Eater story
  • Post #13 - May 11th, 2018, 8:43 am
    Post #13 - May 11th, 2018, 8:43 am Post #13 - May 11th, 2018, 8:43 am
    I hope the new owner, when she was at Opart, was in the "let's clean the kitchen more often and have the exterminator visit more frequently" faction. There are many Thai places in the immediate neighborhood, but Opart stood out -- initially for its varied and consistently excellent cuisine, later for its lack of cleanliness and denial of its management problems.

    Best wishes to Green Leaf, we will try you right away.

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