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    Post #1 - August 11th, 2017, 9:58 am
    Post #1 - August 11th, 2017, 9:58 am Post #1 - August 11th, 2017, 9:58 am
    Anyone been yet? Hard to believe not, but no reviews that I can find. Saw Sula's piece this morning (that effing guy: "fragile downtown dining set", etc...) and it reminded me that we need to make a visit, which I'll be doing this weekend at some point. Anyway, any recs would be appreciated, and I'll report back after the visit.

    1800 S Carpenter St
    Chicago, IL 60608
    (312) 702-1303
    https://www.haisous.com/foodporn/
  • Post #2 - August 11th, 2017, 10:05 am
    Post #2 - August 11th, 2017, 10:05 am Post #2 - August 11th, 2017, 10:05 am
    I count Vietnamese as my single favorite cuisine so I was excited to see a well regarded chef (I never managed to get to Embeya) put out slightly elevated take. Sula's review and Yelpers suggest there are some land mines on the menu or at least inconsistencies and I have put off actually dining here. I will be interested in your report.
  • Post #3 - August 11th, 2017, 10:13 am
    Post #3 - August 11th, 2017, 10:13 am Post #3 - August 11th, 2017, 10:13 am
    My husband and I went last weekend and had a great experience. Apologies that I didn't take detailed notes, but we were both very happy with the breadth of the menu, the attentive service, and the (much bigger than expected) space. We shared the Goi Du Du (Papaya & Beef Jerky salad), Vit Kho Gung (Braised Duck), and an eggplant special. The waiter brought a complimentary dish as well -- the grilled pork belly -- which was a little fatty for my taste but still delicious. We'll definitely be back.
    "There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk, which is water that’s lying about being milk."
    - Ron Swanson
  • Post #4 - August 11th, 2017, 10:41 am
    Post #4 - August 11th, 2017, 10:41 am Post #4 - August 11th, 2017, 10:41 am
    Thanks, BFolds. All of those dishes sound great, including the fatty pork belly. The "drinking foods" section really appeals to me (home of the pork belly), including the quail and whole squid - will definitely be getting those.
  • Post #5 - August 11th, 2017, 12:08 pm
    Post #5 - August 11th, 2017, 12:08 pm Post #5 - August 11th, 2017, 12:08 pm
    Did anyone try their (seemingly reasonably-priced) $33 tasting menu yet? I'm planning on trying them out sometime this month and wondering if I should go that route or order a la carte instead.
  • Post #6 - August 11th, 2017, 2:33 pm
    Post #6 - August 11th, 2017, 2:33 pm Post #6 - August 11th, 2017, 2:33 pm
    Our meal was really mixed. We enjoyed some items (braised pork, duck salad, wings) and wished we hadn't ordered others (pickles, eggplant, etc.). We were never served the fried rice we ordered (though, we weren't charged, either). :(

    Also, if you plan on driving, please note that parking can be very tough. 18th St. fills up early and all the nearby side streets are permit only. Best to take public transportation, rideshare or taxi.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    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 #7 - March 18th, 2018, 7:24 pm
    Post #7 - March 18th, 2018, 7:24 pm Post #7 - March 18th, 2018, 7:24 pm
    Not only has HaiSous hit its stride, but I would say that they are delivering better food now than at any time at Embeya.

    Reliably delicious dishes since day 1 have included the papaya salad with house-made beef jerky and chopped clams with grilled rice cracker.

    Image
    Chopped clams with grilled rice cracker

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    Papaya salad with house-made beef jerky



    On my past visit, I had the fried chicken wings with caramelized fish sauce and crispy garlic. In my opinion, these are the best chicken wings in the city - crisp, great flavor. I might ask for a bit more heat, and they'll provide you with hot peppers for dipping if you ask (you might just want to ask for them extra spicy). But they're perfect even without that.

    Image



    Prawn summer rolls are another hit. Nothing particularly unique here, but delicious.

    Image



    Another huge hit for me is the whole fried fish, fluke in this case. It's served with herbs and lettuce for wrapping and a dipping sauce. The fish was perfectly cooked and not the least bit greasy.

    Image



    For dessert, I really enjoyed a custard with jackfruit, and this gorgeous (and delicious) calamansi cake.

    Image
    Calamansi cake



    There are other dishes I enjoy, but perhaps not as much. The only dish I probably wouldn't bother with again is the short rib. I just found the flavors to be a bit muted. But otherwise, I'm a big fan of what they're doing.

    As for parking, it is definitely a challenge and you should expect to walk a few blocks if you decide not to use the valet service.
    Last edited by BR on March 19th, 2018, 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - March 19th, 2018, 8:04 am
    Post #8 - March 19th, 2018, 8:04 am Post #8 - March 19th, 2018, 8:04 am
    We ate at HaiSous last weekend. I arrived with high expectations, as I had liked early Embeya and I enjoy creative Asian fare. We tried seven different dishes. All were fairly good, nothing was an absolute miss, but most of them were hardly special, and eminently forgettable. The one exception - one that I loved, although my companion was not as impressed - was the mussels cooked in coconut broth, ginger, and lime leaf. The mussels were good (albeit small), and the thick, creamy broth was great. See photo below.

    All in all, we felt that dinner was okay, but not compelling enough to make us want to return. But the cuisine at HaiSous is sufficiently unique that it's worth trying and deciding for yourself.

    Oh, and if you have trouble parking on 18th Street, try 17th Street west of Carpenter.

    Image
  • Post #9 - March 19th, 2018, 10:21 pm
    Post #9 - March 19th, 2018, 10:21 pm Post #9 - March 19th, 2018, 10:21 pm
    Hello,

    What were some of the popular dishes at Embeya that they also have at HaiSous?

    Thank you
  • Post #10 - March 20th, 2018, 3:57 pm
    Post #10 - March 20th, 2018, 3:57 pm Post #10 - March 20th, 2018, 3:57 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:All in all, we felt that dinner was okay, but not compelling enough to make us want to return. But the cuisine at HaiSous is sufficiently unique that it's worth trying and deciding for yourself.


    I just ate there last Thursday and completely agree. We really enjoyed the chicken wings, the octopus/eggplant dish, and this special jackfruit/coconut cream dessert they gave us for my S/O's birthday, but the rest was good, but not memorable.

    We ordered some of the big hits like the whole fluke, ribeye, spring rolls, papaya salad, Vietnamese curry, and exotic fruit dessert (might have gotten a few more things), which--although plated nicely and very photogenic--did not live up to the expectations I had for HaiSous going into the meal.
  • Post #11 - March 21st, 2018, 1:32 pm
    Post #11 - March 21st, 2018, 1:32 pm Post #11 - March 21st, 2018, 1:32 pm
    It looks like what we ordered at HaiSous was disjoint with what everyone else is ordering.

    Lets see, the fried tofu with shrimp sauce was funky and delicious. I was worried the would hold back on this one, but no it was pungent.

    The cauliflower with shallot jam and soft egg was another great vegetarian dish. Good color on the cauliflower, sweet aromatic jam and the always delectable runny egg.

    We ordered two clam dishes. The clam dip appetizer was one of the best apps I have had in quite awhile, though I don't really like the rice crackers it was served with. I feel like some raw vegetables might have worked better. We also got clams in a lemongrass broth as we wanted the lighter flavor compared to the mussels in coconut (which also sounded more Thai than Vietnamese). I don't have any regrets with that choice.

    The two weak points were there do chua, which were inedibly salty and without good pickle flavor besides. The papaya salad was pretty standard other than the beef jerky.

    I enjoyed the meal a lot, it even prompted a visit to the adjacent Cafe (that was terrible, FYI). However, I am not sure there is too much more of the menu I want to try. I am sure the fish sauce wings are good, but they are also at some level just fish sauce wings.
  • Post #12 - March 21st, 2018, 3:45 pm
    Post #12 - March 21st, 2018, 3:45 pm Post #12 - March 21st, 2018, 3:45 pm
    botd wrote:It looks like what we ordered at HaiSous was disjoint with what everyone else is ordering.

    Not with mine, since, in my previous post, I only mentioned the one standout dish (the mussels) and not the other six dishes that I described as "hardly special, and eminently forgettable".

    For those who might be curious which six dishes failed to wow us, here they are:

    Prawn summer rolls, peanut-hoisin sauce, lettuce, lemon balm
    Image
    Octopus, confit eggplant, coconut cream, roasted peanuts, shaved radish
    Image
    Fried tofu, shrimp sauce, rice noodles, pickled shallots
    Image
    Braised short rib, oyster mushroom, daikon, hoisin
    Image
    Roasted cauliflower, shallot jam, soft egg
    Image
    Jackfruit, coconut mousse
    Image
    Most of the descriptions sounded impressive, but the actual dishes were just okay.
  • Post #13 - March 22nd, 2018, 3:19 pm
    Post #13 - March 22nd, 2018, 3:19 pm Post #13 - March 22nd, 2018, 3:19 pm
    Behavioral wrote:I just ate there last Thursday and completely agree. We really enjoyed the chicken wings, the octopus/eggplant dish, and this special jackfruit/coconut cream dessert they gave us for my S/O's birthday, but the rest was good, but not memorable.

    We ordered some of the big hits like the whole fluke, ribeye, spring rolls, papaya salad, Vietnamese curry, and exotic fruit dessert (might have gotten a few more things), which--although plated nicely and very photogenic--did not live up to the expectations I had for HaiSous going into the meal.

    For the sake of posterity, here are some photos of the food I liked (apologies for the under-saturated photos on desktop--I normally do all my post-processing on a Samsung Galaxy Note that has an extremely vibrant display):

    Chicken Wings.jpg Chicken Wings in Caramelized Fish Sauce


    Octopus Eggplant.jpg Octopus and Eggplant in Coconut Cream


    Coconut Jackfruit Dessert.jpg Jackfruit and Coconut Cream


    And some things that were just good (if a bit underwhelming, especially for the price):

    Whole Fluke.jpg Fried Whole Fluke


    Prawn Summer Rolls.jpg Prawn Summer Rolls


    Ribeye.jpg Grilled Ribeye


    Som Tum.jpg Green Papaya Salad


    Vietnamese Curry.jpg Vietnamese Curry (Vegetarian)
  • Post #14 - March 22nd, 2018, 5:05 pm
    Post #14 - March 22nd, 2018, 5:05 pm Post #14 - March 22nd, 2018, 5:05 pm
    A few of the dishes you weren't wowed by are some of my favorites. I love that they serve the fluke whole, for gnawing around the edges and the head. And it's beautifully fried and a perfect fish for lettuce wraps as it's meaty and allows the herbs and dipping sauce to shine through.

    The papaya salad is nice and a standard Vietnamese preparation except that I appreciate the house-made beef jerky, which I think elevates it above most other versions I've tried (though I'll admit I still prefer the Thai papaya salad more).

    And the prawn summer rolls are as good or better than I've had elsewhere. My biggest complaints with a few I've had elsewhere are dry wrappers and slimy shrimp, I assume because they were made and held for a while. The ones I've had at HaiSous have been fresh and delicious.
  • Post #15 - March 23rd, 2018, 4:11 pm
    Post #15 - March 23rd, 2018, 4:11 pm Post #15 - March 23rd, 2018, 4:11 pm
    Liked the idea more than the food. Love that they put all the names of the staff on the menu, nice room, good service but will say of the dishes that are fairly standard, there's not a place I don't know for better, and for the dishes that were unique, only a couple worked for me. In all we left disappointed that we weren't blown away.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #16 - March 23rd, 2018, 9:34 pm
    Post #16 - March 23rd, 2018, 9:34 pm Post #16 - March 23rd, 2018, 9:34 pm
    I went a couple of months ago with my husband. I was excited given all that I had heard. The meal was ok—mostly forgettable but not bad. But not beyond ok.

    Btw they do (or did) have valet and we used that.

    No need to go back.
  • Post #17 - March 25th, 2018, 7:49 am
    Post #17 - March 25th, 2018, 7:49 am Post #17 - March 25th, 2018, 7:49 am
    I feel they had some early road bumps but I've been very impressed recently. Too bad others don't feel the same way but I really don't know what people are ordering given some of the vague commentary.

    I'll add that if you get to try their brunch, definitely try some of the pastries - phenomenal and unique, and they should be mentioned along with the Bakery at Fat Rice in terms of what they're turning out.
  • Post #18 - February 24th, 2019, 8:58 am
    Post #18 - February 24th, 2019, 8:58 am Post #18 - February 24th, 2019, 8:58 am
    Almost a year since the last post... if it weren't for all the other good food in the Pilsen neighborhood, I'd have to seriously wonder why this isn't getting attention, we really enjoyed it.

    It's pricey, but delicious and service was fantastic.
    Image
    The place is bigger than we thought, and filled up shortly after we arrived (early seating before a show at Thalia).

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    The cocktail menu has some interesting items, this had mezcal and I don't remember what else except for the dehydrated orange slice, very nice and herbal. (the online menu has a completely different set of cocktails)

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    The papaya salad was outstanding. Sure it's not as spicy as some at the Thai places, but it was perfectly balanced in salt/sweet/spice. I was hoping for something closer to commercial beef jerky in texture, but it appears to have been rehydrated leaving it more like strips of ordinary beef.

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    This shrimp dish was very tasty with sweet onions, rau răm, nước mắm nhỉ. Again, good balance.

    Image
    The mains came out together: A grilled eggplant with fermented chile -- I could have eaten this all day; and roast duck with keffir lime leaf and another variation on nuoc mam for dipping. Wonderful, could have gone a little crisper on skin.

    Image
    Rice pudding with mung beans, sesame and peanuts was light for this sort of thing, a nice finish.

    About the only complaint I have is price. The food is elevated, but not that elevated.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #19 - February 24th, 2019, 12:48 pm
    Post #19 - February 24th, 2019, 12:48 pm Post #19 - February 24th, 2019, 12:48 pm
    I've only been once, but was not terribly impressed.

    Chicken wings in caramelized fish sauce were good, but that was more due to the wonderful sauce than to the wings themselves.

    The aforementioned roasted duck with kaffir lime leaves I found rather dry and overcooked. (Perhaps just a bad batch, but certainly not the best duck I've had.)

    Hanoi style grilled pork with rice noodle, 
lettuce & herbs was likewise rather bland and not texturally exciting.

    Vietnamese curry with carrot, sweet potato, daikon radish, young bamboo did not have a particularly interesting flavor profile either.

    It wasn't bad food, but on the whole, there was not a single dish I ordered that I was enthusiastic about, and given the price of it all I'm not sure it's worth going back to, for me.
    The best food is well-spiced and well-fattened.
  • Post #20 - June 2nd, 2019, 9:20 am
    Post #20 - June 2nd, 2019, 9:20 am Post #20 - June 2nd, 2019, 9:20 am
    I finally made it last night, before a show at Thalia Hall. I really love this flavor profile (funky, herbaceous, bright) and thought it was a great meal.

    We got the calamari--deep fried with a delicious sauce with a bit of heat. The grilled eggplant which was smoky and silken tender. The star was the large grilled shrimp. They were huge, perfectly cooked, charred from the grill and served with a spicy, lime leaf, salt sauce constructed at the table by squeezing lemon in the dish. The fried rice was fine to fill out the meal, but next time I would get noodles or another veg dish.

    The atmosphere was lively. We sat at one of the seats overseeing the kitchen, which was a lot of fun and let us eye other dishes. They were also really accommodating about squeezing us in -- there wasn't a reservation online and I emailed -- and getting us out in time for the show.

    It's a hike down there for me, so I'm not sure when I'll make it back, but I loved it.

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