I would have just tacked (no pun intended) this on to the recent TAC thread
but it has a number of pics so I wouldn't have been able to tag that, when it's the main purpose of this post. In any case, lunch at TAC was proposed today, for the purpose of trying a few of the new items that Erik had mentioned were on the menu in that thread, such as the fifth item down, the boar curry.
The party consisted of GWiv and also the ever congenial Steve Z., or Z1 as I like to call him. As he came in a few minutes late and plopped a couple of Ziploc bags onto the table, I noticed folks at another table amused to see that our opinion of the restaurant was so high, we had actually brought our own food to eat.
It was brisket which Z1, the purple-jacketed one, had smoked himself the night before under the email tutelage of GWiv. Like a jeweler examining smuggled diamonds, GWiv immediately set to work examining the quality of the finished product. Good smoke ring... clean flavor... sliced against the grain... a little solid, that could be that it needed another hour on the fire or it could just be because it's cool, but well within the range... a final decisive test was needed.
"There are people who have been smoking brisket for five years who'd kill to have made this," pronounced GWiv. As we all tasted it, he offered some to our waitress as well, but it turned out she didn't eat beef.
On to the Thai food, and some terrible news: they were out of the boar curry after the weekend. (Despite the solemn promise made by the sign board.) So with some hemming and hawing, we ordered some other items.
First up was Issan sausage, sai krok issan, coarse sausages expertly grilled. Not quite as pungent as the ones I'd had Friday at Sticky Rice, or the similar ones at Spoon, but with an admirable rough texture and, fresh off the heat at least, completely delectable.
Next up was Kao Mok Kai Yang, also from the sign board, and I must admit to some trepidation that grilled chicken over rice was going to be nothing more impressive than, say, mall food court teriyaki. The picture doesn't look like much, but wow-- succulent burnt grilled chicken over incredibly flavorful curry rice, reminiscent more of Burmese or Indonesian than Thai cooking, giving off wave after wave of turmeric and other curry flavors, yet delicate rather than overpowering. Between the three of us we finished off both the chicken and the rice in a few minutes, and would have happily ordered it a second time, right then and there.
But we knew pork neck was on the way. Here were savory hunks of freshly grilled pork which we dotted with a mildly hot sauce. Having gone 3 for 3 now, I am prepared to say that TAC ranks at the very top among Thai restaurants for grilled foods. No dried-out chicken satay jerky here, every piece seemed done to juicy, burnt-edged perfection.
Two more dishes followed. I don't have a new picture of the gang som (sour curry) with chao om omelet in it, but I know it's been written about before. I was responsible for ordering it based on having had it before, but when it came I remembered that I hadn't really liked it that much the first time, compared to Spoon's, a little too mouth-puckering in its use of heavy-duty tamarind. But the Phat Phak ka-naa muu krawp (Chinese broccoli stir-fried w/crispy pork) was another standout, a dish that tasted mainly of soy sauce, your grandma might even like it save for the green chili slices in it, yet had those succulent little nuggets of fat in it to raise it above the ordinary.
Well, we didn't get to try everything we wanted, but everything we tried was wonderful (almost). New menu or old, TAC Quick remains one of the finest Thai restaurants in town, committed to authentic ingredients, bright flavors, handsome presentation and not being freaked out when people who've come for lunch bring their own food.
T.A.C. Quick Thai Kitchen
3930 N. Sheridan