LTH Home

Rainbow Cuisine Thai - A new contender

Rainbow Cuisine Thai - A new contender
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 8
  • Rainbow Cuisine Thai - A new contender

    Post #1 - May 7th, 2013, 2:05 am
    Post #1 - May 7th, 2013, 2:05 am Post #1 - May 7th, 2013, 2:05 am
    I was walking down western north of Lawrence and passed the nondescript location where Snow Spice used to be. I almost kept walking but something about the place caught my attention so I decided back up and grab a menu. I can’t believe I almost missed this place! I don’t even think there was a sign on the exterior yet, but the place is called Rainbow Cuisine. Later at home, looking at the menu I noticed a few things that grabbed my interest, one of them being the house-made i-san style sausage. That was all it took to get me interested to try the place out, so I hit up fropones on gchat and he agreed to meet with me to try the place out.

    It is run by a Mom, Pop and Son who couldn't be much more than 12 or 13. The dad running the front of the house was also running deliveries, but when he had a minute to spare he was very eager to share stories about the food, and their homeland (he’s from central Thailand, and his wife from Isaan). He also divulged some very interesting information, that his wife was the head chef at Spoon for 13 years until she left about a year ago with plans to open up her own restaurant. According to him (and the proof is evident in the quality) the Isaan sausage recipe from Spoon was hers, and he was surprised that they even still serve it at spoon - if she’s not making it nobody could manage to make it as good as she could. He also mentioned that he is pretty sure that there has been an ownership change at Spoon. Anywho, enough about Spoon, the important part is that the food at Rainbow Cuisine was a freaking slam dunk. We ordered the naem khao thawt (thai menu), the i-san sausage, Ground Chicken Basil thai style (recommended by the owner), fried chicken, and the Kao Kluk Ka Pi.

    Without batting an eye, the owner told us that his wife makes the best naem khao thawt in the city. Having learned she’s the mastermind behind Spoon’s kitchen, I was not surprised that he was accurate, and this was by far the best version I've had to date. Each bit of rice was super crispy, yet light and fluffy in the middle of each lump. The entire package was a masterpiece and the house-made nam was delicious and full of fish-saucey porkiness. The naem was not fried which i prefer since the flavor and texture are preserved this way, and provides a nice contrast in texture to the rice.

    Image

    From this single taste, the I-San sausage was also worthy of the title of best in Chicago. It was more sour than I have had in a while at Spoon or Sticky Rice. It was spongy and moist in the middle, and the skin had a nice pop. I’m sure I’ll be craving this tomorrow morning.

    Image

    The fried chicken was also the best I've had in a long time. All dark meat, super moist, piping hot crispy skin and perfectly seasoned. The owner bragged about his recipe for the dipping fish sauce, which was indeed great. It was primarily fish sauce but had a chili pepper kick and a touch of sweetness, which can’t be said for most places which overdo the sugar.

    Image

    I assumed I would be familiar with the Ground Chicken Basil, which is described on the menu as “ground chicken with garlic and Thai chili, basil over rice and fried egg”. It sounds simple enough, but I was surprised that it was one of the spicier and more unique dishes. This will definitely be on my order next time I’m there. It had a really strong flavor that I was having trouble placing but I think it may have been white peppercorn (or Thai peppercorn). It wasn't capsicum spicey, but had a great kick from whatever the peppercorn flavor was. The egg was cooked perfectly with a runny yolk that was delicious drizzled over the ground chicken.

    Image

    Kao Kluk Ka Pi “fried rice with shrimp paste topped with sweet pork, shredded egg and sliced apple”. This was my first time trying this dish but it won’t be my last. Typically being adverse to sweetened meats, for some reason this one did not bother me. Perhaps it was due to the right balance of ingredients, and a squeeze of the lime that was just perfect. I think it could have had a more shrimp-paste flavor, but maybe it’s just that I’m used to the overdone shrimp paste fried rice at sticky rice. Overall I really liked this dish and would happily eat it again.

    Image

    The menu is pretty limited but they owners seem to imply they’d make any dish they have the ingredients for. They also have a pretty extensive "authentic Thai menu" which I'll post pics of soon. The place is a carry-out/delivery style storefront with only 4 tables (12 seats total), but it felt very cozy and relaxed. I plan to eat in as much as I can since most of the exciting dishes are likely off menu, and best enjoyed piping hot straight from the kitchen. BYOB is welcomed. Since this was only my first visit I should probably be hesitant to make any huge proclamations quite yet, but suffice it to say it was the best Thai meal I've had in a long while, and I will not be surprised at all if this place ends up becoming one of the board’s new favorite Thai places, in fact I'd be surprised if it doesn't! I look forward to hearing what the rest of LTH comes to think of this place.

    Image
    (btw, fropones doesn't really look that weird, the panorama feature on my phone distorted him.)

    Rainbow Cuisine
    4825 N Western Ave
    (773) 754-7660

    CLOSED MONDAY
    Tue-Sat 11 am - 10 pm
    Sun 4 pm - 10 pm
    Last edited by laikom on February 10th, 2014, 6:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #2 - May 7th, 2013, 2:23 am
    Post #2 - May 7th, 2013, 2:23 am Post #2 - May 7th, 2013, 2:23 am
    Here is the "Authentic Thai Menu" :)

    I translated it to the best of my ability. Please PM me any corrections!

    Original images of the menu can be found on the translated menus page.
    Menu translation:

    APPETIZERS:
    Muu Ping - grilled pork skewers
    Hawy Tod - Crispy Fried Mussels pancakes
    Tod Mun - Fish Cakes
    Kai Tod - Fried Chicken with fish sauce
    Neua Daet Diaw - fried dried marinated beef
    Sai Krog I-San - Fermented Isaan Sausages
    Kanom Buang yuan - Crispy Thai Crepes w/savory filling (Vietnamese origins: banh xeo)

    SALADS:
    Somtum Thai / Poo - Green papaya salad with dried shrimp and peanut / (Poo) same w/ pickled crabs.
    Yum Hed - mushroom (straw?) spiciy salad
    soop Nawmai - Bamboo shoot salad
    Nam Tok - Beef salad with rice powder
    Laap - Thai mincemeat salad (ingredients?)
    Tap Waan - Liver salad
    Yam Woon Sen - Glass noodle salad (probably with shrimp and pork?)
    Phla Kung - Thai Prawn Salad
    Nam Khao Tod - Crispy rice salad with nam
    Yam Talay - Mixed seafood salad
    Yam Plar Meuk - squid salad
    Kung Chea Nam Plar - Raw shrimp salad

    STIR FRIES, SOUPS, CURRIES:
    Khao pad name - Thai fried rice
    Yen ta fo - Pink noodle soup
    Kuay tiaw reua - boat noodle soup
    sukil-yaki naeng / haeng - hot pot (one is wet and one is dry. Rainbow only actually has the dry one despite the menu listing both)
    kha naa muu krawp - chinese broccoli with crispy pork
    kha nam pla khem - chinese broccoli with salty fish
    Keang paa - jungle curry
    Khao Khluk ka-pi - fried rice with shrimp paste topped with sweet pork, shredded egg and sliced apple.
    tom khlong plar chawn - tamrind sour soup
    kaeng som pla chawn - sour spicy fish soup
    po taek - seafood soup
    pad ped pla duk - stir fried catfish in red paste
    ped talay - stirfried seafood
    nam prik pla tou - fish paste dip
    kang liang goong sod - spicey soup with mix veg and prawn
    Tom Yum Goong - hot sour soup

    DESSERTS:
    cheesecake cappuccino
    Ngaw - Rambutan (spiney fruit)
    liit chii - (lychee?)
    coconut ice cream
    bua lawy - rice balls in sweetened coconut milk
    sticky rice stuffed with banana
    kluay buat chii - unripe banana in coconut milk
    kluay khaek - fried banana
    khao niaw thurian - stiky rice with durian and coconut cream
    Khao niaw mamuang - sticky rice with mango
    Last edited by laikom on May 15th, 2013, 4:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #3 - May 7th, 2013, 5:30 am
    Post #3 - May 7th, 2013, 5:30 am Post #3 - May 7th, 2013, 5:30 am
    Sounds like a great find, thanks for putting in the legwork as usual.
  • Post #4 - May 7th, 2013, 6:04 am
    Post #4 - May 7th, 2013, 6:04 am Post #4 - May 7th, 2013, 6:04 am
    Big find! I didn't even know Snow Spice had vacated that space. Snow Spice itself was rather interesting at times, showing great potential but always coming up short, but this sounds far more promising. Thanks for the pictures and the intel. Definitely going to check it out.

    And for what it's worth, that food looks exactly as if it had come out of Spoon's kitchen, including the use of apple rather than green mango in the shrimp paste fried rice, and the round balls of sausage of course.
  • Post #5 - May 7th, 2013, 6:35 am
    Post #5 - May 7th, 2013, 6:35 am Post #5 - May 7th, 2013, 6:35 am
    laikom wrote: He also mentioned that he is pretty sure that there has been an ownership change at Spoon.
    Was at Spoon a few weeks and after a bit of no, not crab rangoon back and forth with the server a young fellow came over to chat. He was either owner or manager, seemed amused, maybe bemused is a better word, three non Asians ordered Isan sausage, spicy laap, nam khao tod, kanom buang yuan, Thai fried chicken, sticky rice etc. To his credit once it was clear we were not neophytes he suggested raw shrimp salad, which was terrific, as was our overall meal. He also offered that Chai and Vanna had not been affiliated with Spoon for approximately a year and they were concentrating on Silver Spoon.

    This by way of saying Terrific find Laikom, can't wait to try Rainbow Cuisine Thai and thanks for translating the menu.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - May 7th, 2013, 6:53 am
    Post #6 - May 7th, 2013, 6:53 am Post #6 - May 7th, 2013, 6:53 am
    I don't have much to add on to what laikom said above except that this was truly some fantastic Thai food. I definitely foresee their small space becoming a problem in the future. We did warn him that a bunch of white people are probably going to start flooding in and to not dumb down the spices, which I know they won't. The food was nicely spicy and he kept apologizing that he forgot to tell his wife that we like it spicy, so this must have been their normal level of spice. Really just great stuff all around; can't wait to dig into my leftovers.
  • Post #7 - May 7th, 2013, 2:34 pm
    Post #7 - May 7th, 2013, 2:34 pm Post #7 - May 7th, 2013, 2:34 pm
    This might explain the (at least temporary) downturn at Spoon that I noticed over the past several months/year. Great to see the new place, and equally great to hear from Gary that Spoon is running on all cylinders now, whether or not they experienced some bumps when the original chef departed. Especially nice to see namprik pla tu on the menu, which is not just fermented fish/shrimp paste dip, but a big composed production, with a little fried Thai mackerel and crudités on the side (sort of like your shrimp paste fried rice "kit" with fixings in its various elements). Used to be one of my favorite special orders back in the day at Spoon. Sometimes they had it, other times not. If you like fishy fish, it's the best. If you don't, well, you might be sick.

    http://bangkokglutton.com/2011/05/03/wh ... rik-platu/
  • Post #8 - May 7th, 2013, 2:37 pm
    Post #8 - May 7th, 2013, 2:37 pm Post #8 - May 7th, 2013, 2:37 pm
    Looking forward to trying this place--maybe tonight!

    Funny that you should say that about Spoon though--I have found that the last 6 months have been far more consistent than the preceding few years when I found Spoon to be pretty maddening--basic dishes (chicken in red curry!) prepared differently every time and special dishes varying from wonderful to abominable with each order.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #9 - May 7th, 2013, 2:39 pm
    Post #9 - May 7th, 2013, 2:39 pm Post #9 - May 7th, 2013, 2:39 pm
    They have a website:

    rainbowcuisine.us
  • Post #10 - May 8th, 2013, 12:49 am
    Post #10 - May 8th, 2013, 12:49 am Post #10 - May 8th, 2013, 12:49 am
    I've eaten at Rainbow two more times since my original post, and the quality has been consistently great. I've tried many more of the dishes off the authentic Thai menu, and they have all been top notch.

    I also wanted to post a heads up anyone who plans to visit soon. Tonight we were told that due to the recent interest from the "people from the internet", they are running low on the current batch of isaan sausage. I also might add, please be a bit patient with the delays in service, they are not set up for a packed house, and with 1 of the 2 people running the place making deliveries there may be a bit of a delay between ordering and receiving your food. I'm sure as interest in the place keeps up (and I'm sure it will), they will correct this problem. They have been very concerned and apologetic about that delay.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #11 - May 8th, 2013, 8:09 am
    Post #11 - May 8th, 2013, 8:09 am Post #11 - May 8th, 2013, 8:09 am
    laikom wrote:I've eaten at Rainbow two more times since my original post, and the quality has been consistently great. I've tried many more of the dishes off the authentic Thai menu, and they have all been top notch.
    Lunch yesterday reminded me of when I first fell in love with Spoon, in other words terrific. Woke up craving both naem khao thawt and Isan sausage with a side of Thai fried chicken.

    Isan Sausage

    Image

    Kai Tod

    Image

    We went Portlandia with nam khao tod, though instead of putting a bird on it, we put an egg on it. Runny yolk, crispy rice, tang of fermented sausage, Bogie and Bacall on a plate.

    Nam Khao Tod w/egg

    Image
    Image

    We tried a few other items, tod mum/fish cakes, soop nawmai/bambood shoot salad, nam tok/beef salad and sticky rice. With a light stream of take-out it seemed our lunch order put a slight strain on the kitchen, this is a small operation folks, please don't be impatient Rainbow is most literally a Mom and Pop operation.

    I drive by Rainbow Cuisine Thai almost everyday, thought bubble tea for high school students, thanks again Laikom.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - May 8th, 2013, 8:39 am
    Post #12 - May 8th, 2013, 8:39 am Post #12 - May 8th, 2013, 8:39 am
    This is no fluke. No clue how they'll do when the crowds descend but certainly hoping they figure it out because mom can cook. I am the staunchest of Spoon defenders and my late dinner at Rainbow was, simply, perfect. With Laikom (who, I think, is close to needing a Rainbow 12-step program at this point), we ordered all of my favorites (naem khao thawt, broccoli with crispy pork, the sausages, fried chicken and the basil chicken with egg) and each was completely delicious. I think I most appreciated that the dishes were noticeably light on grease--actually they were just "light" period. The naem khao thawt was perfectly crunchy, funky and sour but not heavy, the way Spoon's usually is. The broccoli with crispy pork was also prepared with just a bit more care--pieces of meat and veg were more uniform and balanced--and the pork was crispier AND more tender because of it (Spoon's large pieces tend to lose their crunch and become very chewy). The sausages...not much more I can say. They were the best I've ever had, since my first visit to Spoon. The sauce served with the fried chicken was crave-worthy--sour, funky, only minimally sweet (I really dislike the typically sweet thai dipping sauces)--so good.

    Looking forward to seeing what they can do with delivery since that's how I mostly eat Thai food--and hoping this isn't just a tease :)

    Good job laikom!!!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #13 - May 8th, 2013, 10:32 am
    Post #13 - May 8th, 2013, 10:32 am Post #13 - May 8th, 2013, 10:32 am
    Ws also there last night with 3 friends. The place is definitely small and easy to miss if you werent looking for it. The food was great, and while the husband kept apologizing for the wait, it was nothing extreme, and the food was definitely worth it.

    We tried the naem khao thawt, the thai beef jerky, nam prik pla tou, broccoli and chicken, kapi rice, and pad see ew. Everything was full of flavor and funk and just the right amount of spice.

    He was very suprised (in a good way) when I showed him this post with his food displayed, but worried that most customers might be put off by the wait and the traditional spice and funkiness of the 'secret' thai menu.

    I cannot wait to go back.

    Thanks for this awesome find!
  • Post #14 - May 8th, 2013, 9:10 pm
    Post #14 - May 8th, 2013, 9:10 pm Post #14 - May 8th, 2013, 9:10 pm
    laikom wrote:Without batting an eye, the owner told us that his wife makes the best naem khao thawt in the city. Having learned she’s the mastermind behind Spoon’s kitchen, I was not surprised that he was accurate, and this was by far the best version I've had to date. Each bit of rice was super crispy, yet light and fluffy in the middle of each lump. The entire package was a masterpiece and the house-made nam was delicious and full of fish-saucey porkiness. The naem was not fried which i prefer since the flavor and texture are preserved this way, and provides a nice contrast in texture to the rice.

    Image

    I would agree with every word here. This was the very best naem khao thawt I've had, and I'd say better than any version I had ever had at Spoon. Perfection really.

    On the other hand, the nam tok did not measure up, either in terms of the beef or funky/sourness one comes to expect. But I don't recall ever getting that dish at Spoon anyway, and not every Thai restaurant specializes in every Thai dish. But banana blossom salad is also on the menu, and so much more. And I always thought Spoon had the best sausage in town, so I'm definitely looking forward to having some here.

    Rainbow's folks were extremely hospitable and eager to please. And I'm eager to return. Thanks again for finding Laikom. I'm maybe a 2-3 minute walk from Rainbow, and didn't even know that Snow Spice had exited, and that Rainbow had moved in, and Rainbow's apparently been in the space for just under a year.
  • Post #15 - May 8th, 2013, 9:48 pm
    Post #15 - May 8th, 2013, 9:48 pm Post #15 - May 8th, 2013, 9:48 pm
    BR wrote:On the other hand, the nam tok did not measure up, either in terms of the beef or funky/sourness one comes to expect.
    I've been twice and nam tok has been the weakest dish.

    Nam Tok

    Image

    I'm developing a bit of an obsession with Rainbow, went again today for lunch and thinking of popping over again for lunch tomorrow.

    Isan sausage, naem khao thawt, kai tod have all been as good as I've experienced and today's red curry, with a distinct shrimp paste funk, almost stole the show. Of today's new dishes enjoyed tom kha kai, but red curry is what I'm thinking about as I type.

    Red Curry
    Image

    As mentioned, I pass Rainbow driving on Western often, barely gave it a thought as a high school bubble tea type place, how wrong can one be.

    Rainbow Cuisine Thai storefront. Not just bubble tea

    Image
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - May 9th, 2013, 11:35 am
    Post #16 - May 9th, 2013, 11:35 am Post #16 - May 9th, 2013, 11:35 am
    In a word: Wow!

    The food at Rainbow transcended being merely exceptional renditions of dishes I have always enjoyed. It was like having many of them for the very first time. I just cannot wait to go back.

    Thanks, Matt, for sharing such a great find. It's hard to believe this place has been here for 9 months. I was told that a sign is imminent (permit pending), which should help things a bit.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #17 - May 9th, 2013, 3:51 pm
    Post #17 - May 9th, 2013, 3:51 pm Post #17 - May 9th, 2013, 3:51 pm
    Last night's dishes . . .

    Image
    Tod Mun
    Fantastic, explosive flavor; probably the most aggressively seasoned version I've ever had. Texture-wise, maybe they'd been cooked a bit in advance but still, just stellar all the way around.


    Image
    Baby Egg Rolls
    Piping hot, perfectly cooked and loaded with an extremely flavorful and herbaceous filling. Fantastic.


    Image
    Thai Fried Chicken Wings
    Not only was the sauce funky-licious but the seasoning and flavor of the wings was, again, really aggressive and delicious.


    Image
    Moo Ping
    A little on the dry side but absolutely fantastic flavor.


    Image
    Naem Khao Thawt
    As others have posted, this is extraordinary and without question, the best version I've ever had.


    Image
    Mushroom Salad
    Great flavors and textures, and phenomenal heat, too.


    Image
    Raw Shrimp
    So fresh and meaty, these shrimp were sensational and again, the heat was extreme, as we'd requested. I just loved the balance of sweet, acidic and funky flavors here.


    Image
    Som Tum with Salted Crab
    An extremely flavorful and distinctive rendition that was a fiery as all get out.


    Image
    Kao Kluk Ka Pi
    I just loved the sweetness and funk of this dish.


    Image
    Pad Kra Prow
    This is one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes and I thought Rainbow's version was stellar.


    Image
    Pad See Ewe with Beef
    When we requested this "crispy," the owner looked at us and smiled. I thought we'd end up with a standard version featuring crispy-edged soft noodles. Instead, we got this ultra-crispy version in which the noodles had been deep-fried. The owner apologized to us because he felt the noodles had come out of the fryer a bit early but we ate every single morsel on this plate. They were crispy and delicious, with just a touch of sweetness that was very balanced.

    There's great stuff to be had a Rainbow and right now it seems they are very willing to please by showing off dishes that are near and dear to their hearts and cooking them as they would for themselves. On our visit the Issan sausage was 86'd but we were told there'd be more on Friday (5/10). We ordered everything "Thai spicy" and we accommodated totally. The dishes started aggressively seasoned, worked their way up the ladder incrementally heat-wise until the shrimp, which was gloriously, insanely, addicitvely spicy. From there the heat subsided through the rest of the dishes we ordered. Miller High Life and Michter's Rye were great with this meal but I'm guessing some sour beers would have been downright awesome.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #18 - May 9th, 2013, 3:52 pm
    Post #18 - May 9th, 2013, 3:52 pm Post #18 - May 9th, 2013, 3:52 pm
    Just wanted to join the choir of praise for the badassery coming out of the kitchen at the serendipitous discovery that is Rainbow Cuisine Thai.
    We ordered the trio of dishes that the owner proclaimed as the best in town:

    Image

    For sure the best Kai Tod I've ever had. In other renditions the chicken is fried hard, producing a chewy, stringy consistency, which I have never minded, appreciating the crunch above all. This rendition pulls off a balancing act of muscular crunch while retaining a juicy, succulent interior. Deeply umami- laden from fish sauce marinate augmented by the perfectly balanced dipping sauce. Yes!

    Image

    I'm not an expert on Naem Khao That, though this riot of crispy rice studded with ham and fresh aromatics in a piquant sauce was about as good as it gets. The G Wiv recommended fried egg add-on completed this embarrassment of riches.

    The I-san sausage– not pictured– was as good other versions around town, though maybe a notch more sour. One quibble was the sad iceberg garnish in lieu of crunchy cabbage. I also wished for a few finely sliced scuds to go with the ginger and peanut accoutrements.

    We ordered one dish not discussed on this thread, the Kung Chea Nam Plar- Raw Shrimp Salad :

    Image

    Their version was a bit different than the two I am more familiar with- Aroy's and TAC/ATK's. Like Andy's version, the shrimp are left whole and neatly arranged on the plate in a radiating pattern. Unlike Andy's thin and chile and garlic chunk- studded dressing, the version at Rainbow is finely minced/ blended, mimicking certain Mexican salsa crudas. The set of flavors in the sauce are like other versions- heavy on raw garlic kick and fiery Thai chiles in lime and fish sauce with a slight sweetness. Andy serves his with mint leaves underneath the shrimp and here they are garnished with whole cilantro leaves. All in all, an interesting take. The shrimp were fresh tasting and the dressing has a great bracing bite to it. Dishes like these are great to offset the richness of the meaty and fried dishes.

    This place rules, great to have another top tier Thai place in the rotation!
  • Post #19 - May 9th, 2013, 4:38 pm
    Post #19 - May 9th, 2013, 4:38 pm Post #19 - May 9th, 2013, 4:38 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Pad See Ewe with Beef
    By the sweet light of Carol Channing's ghost, that Pad See Ewe simply screams -- I'm crispy and delicious, EAT ME!

    And so it shall be..............
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - May 9th, 2013, 9:48 pm
    Post #20 - May 9th, 2013, 9:48 pm Post #20 - May 9th, 2013, 9:48 pm
    I've had a few more visits and a few more conversations with the owners (his name is Pramote, but he also goes by Mote, her name is pronounced like "one pen" but I don't know the spelling). A new picture of the story regarding the chef has come to light, and I feel I need to correct my original account. Keep in mind it's still a simplified translation from what I think I heard, so it could be inaccurate. Mote told me "one pen" was not the head chef for the entire 13 years, though she did work at spoon for 13 years and eventually became head chef. When she started as a novice "she only knew how to fry an egg" (Mote's own words) but slowly learned all of the recipes and techniques at spoon. Over the years she mastered everything and eventually took over as head chef when (and this is where I'm not sure of the details) the 2 older ladies who ran the kitchen left for various reasons. I think I understood that one of them had died and the other moved back to Thailand.

    Yes, I share the same addiction as Gary, I've been back 4 times and had to stop myself from going again for dinner tonight. For lunch today, I finally took my real camera in, i.e. not my cell phone, to grab some new shots:

    The red curry as recommended by Gary was indeed fantastic, we ordered it with pork.

    Image

    Image

    We tried to order the mussels pancakes but accidentally got the fried banana instead. I blame myself for trying to order in Thai and screwing up the words. The fried banana was about as good as a fried banana can be. I think they must have been under ripe (in a good way) because there was a decent texture left to them and were not too sweet.

    Image

    Image

    The Tom Yum soup was (as is becoming a theme on this thread) aggressively seasoned. TONS of lemongrass and galangal flavors. There were 8 shrimp, some cilantro, and a handful of straw mushrooms, and I don't remember much else in there other than chunks of galangal and lemongrass. I liked this minimal approach because it gave appropriate attention to the complex broth. Mote told us he made it in the Thai style, as opposed to what he'd make for white people ordering delivery. If you don't want to have to ask, you can always point to the Thai Language menu and say you want that one.

    Image

    We also ordered a Pad Thai, just to see if it was more special than the typical stuff. It seemed like the standard sweet noodles to me, though i'm no expert. I won't be ordering that again.

    Image
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #21 - May 9th, 2013, 11:28 pm
    Post #21 - May 9th, 2013, 11:28 pm Post #21 - May 9th, 2013, 11:28 pm
    Hi,

    At Spoon Thai, there has been effectively two kitchens: one group preparing food for Americans (which would include Pad Thai) and the other preparing food for Thais, which crossed over to Americans who knew of the Thai-language menu. Early on they were not particularly thrilled with American's ordering food from the Thai menu. Not so much a gringo factor, rather one of labor because it was more work to prepare the Thai offerings.

    I am not a chili head, I tend to order at Spoon their banana blossom salad, one-bite salad, exploded catfish and the catfish custard. Are any of these available at Rainbow? Has anyone tried them yet?

    Laikom - you may want to put a copy of your translated menu for this restaurant in the translated menu thread. It's will be nice to have something new to add to this collection. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #22 - May 10th, 2013, 12:02 am
    Post #22 - May 10th, 2013, 12:02 am Post #22 - May 10th, 2013, 12:02 am
    G Wiv wrote:Pad See Ewe simply screams -- I'm crispy and delicious, EAT ME!
    And so I did.......................

    Pad See Ewe, takeout Rainbow Cuisine Thai

    cell phone pic
    Image

    Even after a 20-minute ride the noodles retained crunch, I can only imagine (but not for long) how they taste in the restaurant.

    cell phone pic
    Image

    Laikom and I may need a 12-step, lunch today and take out tonight on my way home from Barn & Co. I pleasantly ran into a couple of LTHers at 9:30pm, I get the feeling, at least for the next few weeks, if an LTHer is feeling lonely all they need do is stop at Rainbow Thai.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - May 10th, 2013, 8:10 am
    Post #23 - May 10th, 2013, 8:10 am Post #23 - May 10th, 2013, 8:10 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    At Spoon Thai, there has been effectively two kitchens: one group preparing food for Americans (which would include Pad Thai) and the other preparing food for Thais, which crossed over to Americans who knew of the Thai-language menu. Early on they were not particularly thrilled with American's ordering food from the Thai menu. Not so much a gringo factor, rather one of labor because it was more work to prepare the Thai offerings.

    I am not a chili head, I tend to order at Spoon their banana blossom salad, one-bite salad, exploded catfish and the catfish custard. Are any of these available at Rainbow? Has anyone tried them yet?

    Laikom - you may want to put a copy of your translated menu for this restaurant in the translated menu thread. It's will be nice to have something new to add to this collection. Thanks!

    Regards,


    I noticed the banana blossom salad on the English menu, but have not yet tried it.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #24 - May 10th, 2013, 9:49 am
    Post #24 - May 10th, 2013, 9:49 am Post #24 - May 10th, 2013, 9:49 am
    laikom wrote:The fried banana was about as good as a fried banana can be. I think they must have been under ripe (in a good way) because there was a decent texture left to them and were not too sweet.

    Image
    During my short visit to Thailand, fried bananas were always like this - made from halves of slightly under-ripe little bananas*. I got rather addicted to them, getting a paper baggie of freshly-fried ones whenever I saw them being made on the street. Nice texture, slightly sweet, and usually studded with sesame seeds.

    -Dan

    * No clue what the variety is - but I'd guess they're 3-4" long
  • Post #25 - May 10th, 2013, 11:19 am
    Post #25 - May 10th, 2013, 11:19 am Post #25 - May 10th, 2013, 11:19 am
    G Wiv wrote:I pleasantly ran into a couple of LTHers at 9:30pm

    It was nice to see you too, Gary.

    Having read the effusive praise in this thread, we ran right over to Rainbow as quickly as we could. The food was good, and it is very nice to have another option for quality, authentic Thai. But with all due respect to my lovably exuberant friends that posted above, I'm not ready to crown Rainbow as King of the Lincoln Square Thai Triangle just quite yet.

    For the most part, we stuck to our standard favorites from Spoon's menu, which mostly come from from the appetizers and salads sections. We didn't get to try the Issan sausage because laikom and G Wiv ate it all. Bastards.

    Nam Khao Tod - You guys were right. This is a real winner. Like it used to be at Spoon before Spoon forgot how to consistently crisp up the rice. Needed just a bit more heat, but I'm sure that can easily be arranged next time.
    Laab Ped (duck larb) - Solid version, every bit as good as the one at Spoon.
    Soop Nawmai (pickled bamboo shoot salad) - This spicy salad fell a bit short in that it just lacked the acidic balance and finessed funkiness of Spoon's version. Hard to describe why, but it just wasn't quite right.
    Tod Mun (fish cakes) - This was okay, but lacked the hot and crispy fried freshness of some other renditions of the dish. Aroy's tod mun, for example, blows these away.
    Kai Tod (Thai fried chicken) - A big disappointment. This is one of my favorite items on Spoon's menu, and they never get it wrong. Spoon's Kai Tod has crispy skin, juicy meat, and a thick, spicy, pungent, but not-too-sweet tamarind dipping sauce. Last night, Rainbow served us limp chicken with a sweet, boring sauce. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
    Keang Paa (jungle curry) - This dish, which is not something we usually order, was a very nice surprise. Super spicy, slightly funky, coconut milk-free curry with strong Thai basil notes, straw mushrooms, ginger, assorted veggies, choice of meat. Will definitely order again.

    We enjoyed our meal very much. Mom clearly developed some real chops during her time in Spoon's kitchen, and Pop was welcoming, chatty, and eager to please. But be warned: Laikom's trailblazing and the quickly resulting flow of Thai-loving LTHers has clearly strained the capacity of this teeny tiny take out joint. They were out of many menu items and (happily) complained that they just haven't had the time to make more. It was fun to try somewhere new, but at this point, you can't hit Rainbow expecting the efficiency or reliability of nearby perennial favorites and well-oiled machines Spoon, Aroy, and Sticky Rice.

    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #26 - May 10th, 2013, 1:07 pm
    Post #26 - May 10th, 2013, 1:07 pm Post #26 - May 10th, 2013, 1:07 pm
    Rich, maybe they dumbed things down for you because you looked like you couldn't take the real stuff. :evil:

    In all seriousness that chicken sounds polar opposite of what I've had 4 times now. Especially the sauce which was amazing on everything. Did yours even look like this?

    Image

    Image
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #27 - May 10th, 2013, 1:51 pm
    Post #27 - May 10th, 2013, 1:51 pm Post #27 - May 10th, 2013, 1:51 pm
    laikom wrote:In all seriousness that chicken sounds polar opposite of what I've had 4 times now. Especially the sauce which was amazing on everything.

    I agree. The chicken we were served -- crispy, juicy, aggressively seasoned and piping hot -- was one of the best things we ate at our meal and the sauce was especially funky and hot. Given the size of the place, and its crew, it makes some sense that there are going to be some occasional inconsistencies. As I posted above, even at our meal, Pramote was apologizing for a dish we thought was awesome.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #28 - May 10th, 2013, 2:14 pm
    Post #28 - May 10th, 2013, 2:14 pm Post #28 - May 10th, 2013, 2:14 pm
    laikom wrote:Did yours even look like this?

    Not at all.

    ronnie_suburban wrote: Given the size of the place, and its crew, it makes some sense that there are going to be some occasional inconsistencies.

    This. I think they were completely unprepared for and are pleasantly bemused by the LTH onslaught.
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #29 - May 10th, 2013, 2:18 pm
    Post #29 - May 10th, 2013, 2:18 pm Post #29 - May 10th, 2013, 2:18 pm
    RAB wrote:
    laikom wrote:Did yours even look like this?

    Not at all.

    ronnie_suburban wrote: Given the size of the place, and its crew, it makes some sense that there are going to be some occasional inconsistencies.

    This. I think they were completely unprepared for and are pleasantly bemused by the LTH onslaught.

    Yes. When the fussy food bitches descend en masse, all hell can break loose. :lol:

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #30 - May 10th, 2013, 2:28 pm
    Post #30 - May 10th, 2013, 2:28 pm Post #30 - May 10th, 2013, 2:28 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote: When the fussy food bitches descend en masse, all hell can break loose.


    Banner quote?
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more