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Rainbow Cuisine Thai - A new contender

Rainbow Cuisine Thai - A new contender
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  • Post #181 - February 21st, 2015, 6:20 pm
    Post #181 - February 21st, 2015, 6:20 pm Post #181 - February 21st, 2015, 6:20 pm
    Yes same here. I'd love to help as well. Pramote and Wanpen have been so great and wonderful. It's amazing to see this come together.
  • Post #182 - February 21st, 2015, 8:15 pm
    Post #182 - February 21st, 2015, 8:15 pm Post #182 - February 21st, 2015, 8:15 pm
    We are very close to being done so the best help that everyone here can provide is to come visit once they "open" the new space, and be a bit patient if service is a little slow or uncertain--it's going to be an adjustment but one they are really excited about!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #183 - February 23rd, 2015, 10:03 am
    Post #183 - February 23rd, 2015, 10:03 am Post #183 - February 23rd, 2015, 10:03 am
    boudreaulicious wrote:We are very close to being done so the best help that everyone here can provide is to come visit once they "open" the new space, and be a bit patient if service is a little slow or uncertain--it's going to be an adjustment but one they are really excited about!



    Count me in to make that visit!
  • Post #184 - March 3rd, 2015, 12:54 pm
    Post #184 - March 3rd, 2015, 12:54 pm Post #184 - March 3rd, 2015, 12:54 pm
    Did the menu always have decidedly non-Thai offerings like Shumai, edamame and miso soup? Also what happened to the Jungle Curry? I just hope the food is still as good as ever.
  • Post #185 - March 3rd, 2015, 2:48 pm
    Post #185 - March 3rd, 2015, 2:48 pm Post #185 - March 3rd, 2015, 2:48 pm
    My SO loves the shumai. They've always had it--probably the others as well. Everyone likes what they like.

    Food is as good as ever. I've never had Jungle curry there that I know of but if you want it, they can probably make it. Though you may get something different if it gets lost in translation :) It will likely still be delicious.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #186 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:37 pm
    Post #186 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:37 pm Post #186 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:37 pm
    Nothing on the menus (plural) has changed since Rainbow opened. When they bought the restaurant from Snow Spice the purchase essentially came with the existing return customers so as to not piss them off they kept a lot of the old stuff on the menu that they knew people would order. There are even a number of Chinese dishes on the menu, and I always thought it would be hilarious to arrange a Chinese only dinner at Rainbow to see how they come out, as I have never ordered a Chinese dish there.

    If you are only interested in the authentic Thai dishes, those have always been on a separate menu which is not available on Grub Hub or anywhere online. Only a select few "authentic" Thai dishes are on the online menus. I do believe they have Jungle Curry listed on the Thai menu in restaurant, but I'm not sure if it's called that. Like boudreau said, just call and ask, they are always a pleasure to talk to!
    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 #187 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:42 pm
    Post #187 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:42 pm Post #187 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:42 pm
    The most authentic Thai places often (nearly always) have certain borrowed dishes that seem to be well-worn within the Thai repertoire. Hainan chicken. Cantonese-ish roast duck and pork over rice. Penang style curry. Mama brand noodles - a Thai brand of instant ramen. Those cheap frozen suimai are nearly always there, even at places that otherwise make everything from scratch. Kanom jeeb I believe they are called. Miso and soy beans do seem less typical, but Thailand is a melting pot cuisine that borrows and often improves, IMO.
  • Post #188 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:46 pm
    Post #188 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:46 pm Post #188 - March 3rd, 2015, 4:46 pm
    Along the same lines: "Chinese" at Thai places is like Chinese at Vietnamese, Indian or Korean places, a *version* that is generally consistent in its own right but not strictly authentic to its birthplace. That said- Laikom's post suggests Rainbow has some non-Thai stuff that is not "Thai-Chinese" or Thai-anything based on carryovers from the prior spot. Hadn't noticed.
  • Post #189 - March 4th, 2015, 5:12 pm
    Post #189 - March 4th, 2015, 5:12 pm Post #189 - March 4th, 2015, 5:12 pm
    Chinese cuisine is a heavy influence in most Southeast Asian cuisine. Thai food in particular seems like a melange of the cuisines of its neighbors. I don't mind that. In fact my favorite meal in Bangkok was actually at a Thai-Chinese place. I almost exclusively ordered off the translated menu at Rainbow so maybe I just didn't notice these things until my wife pointed me at the (newly redesigned?) website. I realize that certain concessions have to be made to lets say less sophisticated customers in order to stay in business. I just wanted to make sure that Rainbow wasn't making further concessions in order to support a larger space. I can't wait to see it by the way.
  • Post #190 - March 4th, 2015, 5:34 pm
    Post #190 - March 4th, 2015, 5:34 pm Post #190 - March 4th, 2015, 5:34 pm
    botd wrote:Thai food in particular seems like a melange of the cuisines of its neighbors.


    I wouldn't know what Thai food is like in it's native locale (unfortunately!) but I'd guess that the "melange" you see at places like Rainbow is about how these places initially filled their menus to satisfy customers who were unfamiliar with more adventurous ingredients, spices and flavors. If the entire menu was made up of dishes that even the owners sometimes have difficulty describing, it would be off-putting to probably too many folks to enable them to stay in business. Nice to see that changing to where people really want their more traditional dishes. But I'm not sure the owners are completely sold on it--even our friends at Rainbow often look at us pretty skeptically when we tell them that, YES, people do want to try the dishes they actually make for themselves.

    New space is 95% finished and awaiting inspection. Stay tuned!!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #191 - March 26th, 2015, 12:06 pm
    Post #191 - March 26th, 2015, 12:06 pm Post #191 - March 26th, 2015, 12:06 pm
    Visited yesterday for a late lunch. Per the owners the new seating area has been open about two weeks and it looks great.

    I took a client who is a meat and potatoes guy from rural Iowa. I ordered egg rolls, fried chicken app, crispy rice salad and ground chicken basil. He was skeptical about my lunch choice, saying that the only "Chinese" he eats is sweet and sour chicken. Everything was excellent and my client was raving about all of the food.

    I am a frequent visitor to the site, but not a frequent poster and I want to say thank you to those who have promoted this restaurant. The owners and food are both amazing.
  • Post #192 - March 26th, 2015, 12:23 pm
    Post #192 - March 26th, 2015, 12:23 pm Post #192 - March 26th, 2015, 12:23 pm
    Hi- I just started working for a family that lives in that neighborhood. I average about once a week I work for them. The first time I worked for them a few weeks ago, I was on my way home, and driving down Western, and passed Rainbow Thai, and told myself I had to turn around and go in there. This was the first time I had been in the restaurant.

    I went in there at 3:00, and so I was the only customer, and I ended up ordering this curry dish off of the American menu. It was good, but was not wow. I am going to have to return and order some stuff off of the Thai menu. The curried dish I got was really healthy though, and I did not feel as guilty about ordering it than I would have if I ordered the fried chicken. When I got there though, the husband was in the back of the store, and the wife was sitting at a table in the front doing some work, and asked me if she could help me. When I asked her what was in the curry dish I wanted to order, she did not comprehend very well what I was asking, and the Son was walking out of the restaurant, and he told me what was in the dish. Does the husband speak better English than the wife does?

    The new section was not open yet when I walked in there that day, and I asked the Son when it was going to open, and he said as soon as the city gave their OK. One question I have though is if the new section contains rest rooms though? It would also be nice if they had a water dispenser in the restaurant too, instead of just giving everybody a bottle of water. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #193 - March 26th, 2015, 6:52 pm
    Post #193 - March 26th, 2015, 6:52 pm Post #193 - March 26th, 2015, 6:52 pm
    Hey Ben, thanks for posting! Yes the new space is open, in fact I just posted an event here.

    Nfriday, yes the husband does speak English very well. Both of their sons and the servers they plan to have working when it's busier all speak English very well. They have also already done away with the water bottles and are now serving ice water from a pitcher. There is a very nice bathroom in the new space as well!

    Hope to see some of you at the event!.
    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 #194 - March 28th, 2015, 1:24 pm
    Post #194 - March 28th, 2015, 1:24 pm Post #194 - March 28th, 2015, 1:24 pm
    laikom wrote:Hey Ben, thanks for posting! Yes the new space is open, in fact I just posted an event here.

    While I can't make the event, I've been a few times since the expansion and think its terrific. I did go early afternoon yesterday with family members in from California and they loved Rainbow. It was an interesting group, culinary wise, one vegetarian, a very plain eater, one who likes Thai, but not too spicy and a regular at Jitlada Thai in Los Angeles

    Wanpen and Pramote were gracious as always, took great care of the group and everyone left happy and full.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #195 - March 29th, 2015, 11:18 am
    Post #195 - March 29th, 2015, 11:18 am Post #195 - March 29th, 2015, 11:18 am
    Great time at the "grand expansion" party last night.
    Everything was fantastic. Perhaps I'm getting jaded with great Thai food, but nothing surprised me... It was just perfect instead.

    The catfish custard was better by far than any I've had before: less fishy, richer, and not at all like this.

    The panang curry was subtler than anywhere else I've had it: absolutely "on point" and not the sweet, overly creamy version most places serve. Same with the tom kha. I'd take a bite, swallow, close my eyes and smile.

    Dishes like the naem khao thawt, mushroom salad, sausage, pork belly and gapi rice all showed the ideal Thai mixture of herbs, spice, salty and sour flavors that make it one of the world's great cuisines.

    Long live Rainbow Thai!
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #196 - March 29th, 2015, 2:13 pm
    Post #196 - March 29th, 2015, 2:13 pm Post #196 - March 29th, 2015, 2:13 pm
    JoelF wrote:Great time at the "grand expansion" party last night.
    Everything was fantastic. Perhaps I'm getting jaded with great Thai food, but nothing surprised me... It was just perfect instead.

    The catfish custard was better by far than any I've had before: less fishy, richer, and not at all like this.

    The panang curry was subtler than anywhere else I've had it: absolutely "on point" and not the sweet, overly creamy version most places serve. Same with the tom kha. I'd take a bite, swallow, close my eyes and smile.

    Dishes like the naem khao thawt, mushroom salad, sausage, pork belly and gapi rice all showed the ideal Thai mixture of herbs, spice, salty and sour flavors that make it one of the world's great cuisines.

    Long live Rainbow Thai!

    What he said! I can't add to Joel's description. A fantastic meal.
  • Post #197 - March 30th, 2015, 11:02 am
    Post #197 - March 30th, 2015, 11:02 am Post #197 - March 30th, 2015, 11:02 am
    Again, thanks to Laikom for organizing the event. I enjoyed pretty much every dish that came out, especially the gai lan with fried pork dish, excellent wok hei flavor on that one.

    The mushroom salad was new to me and quite a revelation. I love enoki mushrooms and this was a stellar preparation. Really spicy though, it lit me up for sure. Will definitely order again with a big bowl of white rice handy.
  • Post #198 - March 30th, 2015, 1:58 pm
    Post #198 - March 30th, 2015, 1:58 pm Post #198 - March 30th, 2015, 1:58 pm
    Thanks laikom! It was great, I got to try everything still on my list of things to eat at Rainbow in one fell swoop. I think the shrimp-fried rice dish was phenomenal, especially that sweet pork. Also really enjoyed the hor mok and that enoki mushroom dish as far as new dishes go. I think the naem khao thawt was even better than I remembered as were the Issan sausages. I have to disagree with Joel on the curry though. Maybe my tastes in Thai food are moving away from sweet coconut curries, but I found the flavors far too muted and the duck skin looks so nice it almost seems a shame to put it into curry.

    I definitely have to get out to more events.
  • Post #199 - April 11th, 2015, 1:04 pm
    Post #199 - April 11th, 2015, 1:04 pm Post #199 - April 11th, 2015, 1:04 pm
    The new dining room is not only beautiful, but it has fundamentally changed Rainbow from a hole-in-the-wall take out joint with a few tables into a true full service restaurant. Gone are the dingy decor and plastic water bottles, replaced with bright colors, eye-catching art, and real, honest-to-goodness water glasses. Kudos to Team Rainbow and the kind, generous LTHers who pitched in to help make this happen.

    As an unexpected bonus, the upgrade seems to have inspired the kitchen as well. Both of the meals I've had since the new room opened were damn near perfect, with the kitchen pumping out even better versions of just about all my Rainbow favorites (nam khao tod, issan sausage, gai tod, crispy pork and Chinese broccoli, yum hed). I'm not sure what's changed back there, but I hope the changes are permanent.

    If you haven't been to Rainbow lately, you should go.

    --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 #200 - April 12th, 2015, 12:09 pm
    Post #200 - April 12th, 2015, 12:09 pm Post #200 - April 12th, 2015, 12:09 pm
    You know this is awesome news for Rainbow Thai (means they'll be around for some time), but I'm going to miss the hole-in-the wall/mom-and-pop feel.
    www.justnoms.com
    Rate the Food, Not the Restaurant
    @justnoms_com
  • Post #201 - April 13th, 2015, 12:22 am
    Post #201 - April 13th, 2015, 12:22 am Post #201 - April 13th, 2015, 12:22 am
    I just wish they would get rid of their awful vegetable combination that finds its way into so many dishes: sliced crinkle cut carrots, baby corn, and Western broccoli. It really seems suspiciously like a bagged frozen vegetable medley, thrown into any dish that requires some vegetables.

    It is no criticism about how the food is prepared. I just think they need to be more judicious with sourcing their produce, and I thought it was rather gross dipping heated-up frozen crinkle cut carrots into expertly-prepared sauce for nam prik pla tou. The dip itself (made with chilis and shrimp paste) was great, and it was much better than the vegetables deserved. I found the same sliced crinkle-cut carrots, Western broccoli, and baby corn filling out the jungle curry or kaeng pa. Again, good meat, good sauce, but disappointing vegetables.

    Perhaps they are a bit out of the loop and don't have any contacts with suppliers. There are some suppliers who specialize in ethnic/Asian produce, who buy wholesale from Chicago International Produce Market, and then sell to restaurants and grocers. One example of such a Chicago business (without any endorsement or knowledge of their performance or prices compared to competitors): http://www.edfproduce.com/

    Fresh vegetables do require intensive prep work, and perhaps the kitchen is understaffed to contend with that, at least for all customer orders. If I could pay an extra few bucks to upgrade to better vegetables, I would happily do so, like some Thai restaurants charge more for shrimp than chicken.

    This is meant in an entirely constructive way. I love Rainbow and think that what comes out of its kitchen has the promise to be the best Thai in Chicago, but the vegetables are holding many dishes back, for the time being.
  • Post #202 - April 14th, 2015, 8:32 pm
    Post #202 - April 14th, 2015, 8:32 pm Post #202 - April 14th, 2015, 8:32 pm
    I don't much care for carrots or baby corn either. I have no prob with the broccoli and usually order the nam prik pla tu it with that, raw okra, and raw thai eggplant when they have it available. The folks at rainbow are among the most accommodating I have met, and I'm certain they would put whatever requested veggies in whatever dish you want to order when available. Really the baby corn and carrots don't show up in many dishes. I can't think of anything else that has them, and I'm talking about well over a dozen favorite dishes here.

    Anyhow, it's totally fine that we don't like crinkle cut carrots, but it is quite an assumption and accusation to suggest they use a frozen bag of them, especially since it couldn't be further from the truth. The staff works tirelessly day and night to make all of the food the best they can. They do all of their own shopping at the groceries around Argyle and select the best ingredients (locally produced tofu, freshest veggies, etc.). All of the veggies are hand cut (crinkle even) fresh, never frozen. Serendipitously, this is what I happened to see when I arrived for lunch today:

    11132018_10153256824012787_698788796_o.jpg
    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 #203 - April 14th, 2015, 8:46 pm
    Post #203 - April 14th, 2015, 8:46 pm Post #203 - April 14th, 2015, 8:46 pm
    Thanks for the clarification. It really is appreciated, and it allayed my concerns. Perhaps the reason why the vegetables were the same in the dishes I ordered (nam prik and jungle curry) is because I went there twice in quick succession.

    Frankly, I'm flabbergasted that they, being a small mom-and-pop restaurant, would go so far to make their own crinkle cut carrots, with a special knife and everything. Rather than a warning sign, the crinkles are a mark of the care and attention they put into the dishes. I stand very happily corrected.
  • Post #204 - April 14th, 2015, 9:01 pm
    Post #204 - April 14th, 2015, 9:01 pm Post #204 - April 14th, 2015, 9:01 pm
    Cyriaco wrote:Thanks for the clarification. It really is appreciated, and it allayed my concerns. Perhaps the reason why the vegetables were the same in the dishes I ordered (nam prik and jungle curry) is because I went there twice in quick succession.

    Frankly, I'm flabbergasted that they, being a small mom-and-pop restaurant, would go so far to make their own crinkle cut carrots, with a special knife and everything. Rather than a warning sign, the crinkles are a mark of the care and attention they put into the dishes. I stand very happily corrected.


    This is how much they really do care! :)

    11154184_10153256842542787_310408768_o.jpg
    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 #205 - April 14th, 2015, 9:55 pm
    Post #205 - April 14th, 2015, 9:55 pm Post #205 - April 14th, 2015, 9:55 pm
    Is that Yelp?
  • Post #206 - April 14th, 2015, 9:58 pm
    Post #206 - April 14th, 2015, 9:58 pm Post #206 - April 14th, 2015, 9:58 pm
    It is. They got a 3 star review... :shock:
    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 #207 - April 14th, 2015, 10:42 pm
    Post #207 - April 14th, 2015, 10:42 pm Post #207 - April 14th, 2015, 10:42 pm
    It's a shame Yelp has such influence.
    www.justnoms.com
    Rate the Food, Not the Restaurant
    @justnoms_com
  • Post #208 - April 15th, 2015, 10:03 am
    Post #208 - April 15th, 2015, 10:03 am Post #208 - April 15th, 2015, 10:03 am
    I sent a friend their direction, with not a lot of instructions from me.

    His review? "they were ok" I asked him what he ordered, his answer? Pad Thai etc.

    I took him back with me, his response "I most certainly did not order right, this place is amazing"

    Long story short, Rainbow is amazing, yelp is a cesspool, and Rainbow is obviously best off the "Thai" menu.

    Once I move out of the hood, I am going to use endless excuses to make trips over, if only to stop in at Rainbow.
  • Post #209 - April 19th, 2015, 9:01 pm
    Post #209 - April 19th, 2015, 9:01 pm Post #209 - April 19th, 2015, 9:01 pm
    I finally went there since the renovation and the place looks great! Thanks everyone who helped out. Unfortunately, the food experience was my first lukewarm experience I've had there. It is my favorite Thai place in the country right now and i continue to take new people there all the time so it's hard for me to admit anything but perfection for their food but I'm wondering if it was a one-off or if other people have experienced changes.

    Kung Chea Nam Plar (Raw shrimp salad) has been amazing there but today, the spice level was extremely toned down as well as the portion size was significantly smaller than I was used to.

    Naem khao tod (crispy rice salad)also was a little under-flavored than it typically is.

    It wasn't all disappointing of course. Kai Tod (fried chicken) was as good as ever, and so was the basil chicken with egg. I miss the costco bottles of water :)

    Now i need to go back and try these things again to confirm that this was a one-off glitch!
  • Post #210 - April 23rd, 2015, 9:55 am
    Post #210 - April 23rd, 2015, 9:55 am Post #210 - April 23rd, 2015, 9:55 am
    Any recommendations for someone looking to try Thai Food but is not a fan of spice?

    A lot of my favorites at rainbow tend to bring the heat (which I love)

    Crispy PSE is probably a must.

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