I would like to nominate Aroy Thai for a GNR.
Although I first visited Aroy in early 2009, since Rich and I moved into the neighborhood last May, there's no restaurant we've visited more frequently. We'll go there, and then just a few days later, find that we're both craving it again.
There are two things that I think distinguish Aroy from the other celebrated Thai restaurants on the city's north side. First, Aroy feels more homey and welcoming, like only a family-owned and run restaurant can. Once they discovered our enthusiasm for the "Thai Classics" menu ("Ahhhhhh, you like to eat like Thai people!"), Tee and his mother greet us warmly each visit and always seem excited to share new ideas for dishes we should try. Second, I find the baseline at Aroy to be higher than the other Thai usual suspects. I love TAC's crispy on choy, and Spoon's nam khao twaht as much as everyone, but there are so many dishes we love at Aroy that we have trouble agreeing what's for dinner. Pork neck salad, tom yum beef soup, the sausages, chou-chi pork, pickled bamboo shoots with green chile, laap khua, khanom jin nam ya? No problem, we'll just have leftovers.
When I set out to collect links about Aroy for this nomination, I'd worried that there wouldn't be many good quotes. I was wrong. Posts on Aroy Thai on LTH go back to 2005, when Erik M. was sharing details on various dishes
. And, LTH group meals go back to at least 2007. Some more recent comments:
Stagger: "Aroy is still operating at a very high level and is constantly updating their translated menu. I had a meal there last week that was in every way as good as anything I have had at Spoon, Sticky Rice or TAC . . . Aroy Thai is clearly one of the pillars of authentic Thai food in Chicago
. . . Aroy Thai deserves LTH attention every bit as much as the other Thai restaurants that are willing to take a chance and open their kitchens to all that want to eat as Thai customers do."
Rene G discussing the Chinese broccoli with salted fish: "This might be my favorite Asian vegetable dish anywhere in Chicago." He continues: "I enjoy Aroy Thai every time I visit and am at a loss to explain why I don't go more often. I think it has finally made my short list
Kennyz, pleased that Aroy, unlike other good Thai restaurants, does both authentic Thai and Ameri-Thai well: "I fell in love with Aroy Thai today
. . . Aroy figures to become a staple in our dining rotation."
ronnie_suburban, who recently shared his great Aroy photos, about the tom yum beef balls and tender soup: "I love Thai soups and this one may be the best I've ever had in Chicago
BR, who had just returned from a trip to Bangkok: "I really thought Thursday's meal at Aroy was outstanding
. My favorite dishes were the Tom Yam soup and the ground pork atop fried eggs - two of the best Thai dishes I've enjoyed anywhere, and that Tom Yam ranks among the best soups I've ever tasted."
Jazzfood: "First taken to Aroy by Erik M, it had been yrs since I'd been back (for no good reason, just off my radar). Won't make that mistake again.
Been twice in the last wk. What I enjoy most are the amount of new dishes not in my Thai rotation."
dansch: "[T]hey definitely take the prize for the best Thai food I've had in Chicago this year
. I look forward to heading back to Aroy asap and trying more of their menu."
For those that haven't yet had the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Aroy (or for those that have, but would like to go again), I am planning a group meal during the GNR discussion period. No better way to experience a place like this than to order just about everything, and enjoy it all family style. Please check out the Events Board for details.
4654 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-1655