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Spicy Thai Lao — Excellent Eastern Thai & Laotian in Burbank

Spicy Thai Lao — Excellent Eastern Thai & Laotian in Burbank
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  • Spicy Thai Lao — Excellent Eastern Thai & Laotian in Burbank

    Post #1 - January 26th, 2014, 5:12 pm
    Post #1 - January 26th, 2014, 5:12 pm Post #1 - January 26th, 2014, 5:12 pm
    Heading through Burbank one dark night before Halloween, I noticed a new restaurant promising halal Lao food. What?

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    Historically Chicago has had only the sparsest representation of food from Laos, so this was exciting. We stopped briefly to talk with the owners, Kaew and George, and became even more interested to return. I've now been back for three excellent meals. Kaew, who does all the cooking, is from the eastern edge of Thailand, close to where it meets Laos and Cambodia. She clearly knows what she's doing in the kitchen and cooks a style of Southeast Asian food different from what I've come across elsewhere in Chicago. Most of what I've tasted tends toward rustic home cooking that's extremely appealing.

    We decided to try the egg rolls and our $1 gamble paid off. Your dollar may get you either one long one or a couple shorts. Take your chances.

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    A super-crisp rice paper shell comes stuffed with fresh vegetables, herbs and bean thread noodles, seasoned with turmeric-heavy curry spices. Unlike any egg rolls I've had and absolutely delicious. I can hardly imagine visiting and not ordering egg rolls.

    Chicken wings are pretty straightforward—deep fried without much previous treatment and served with a sweet sauce containing red pepper, cilantro and chopped vegetables.

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    Those expecting something akin to Rainbow's kai tod will probably be disappointed.

    We specifically asked Kaew about Lao dishes and she was happy to make some salads not listed on the menu. A jackfruit salad (tam khanun in Thai) was reminiscent of Vietnamese goi ga, with meaty "tree mutton" standing in for chunks of chicken.

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    I'm not sure this salad was strictly vegetarian (it probably contained fish sauce) but Kaew is adept at meatless cookery as her husband George is vegetarian. I have a feeling vegetarians could eat very well here. I should mention the salad was ordered "medium" and it packed some serious heat.

    I've had her fermented bamboo salad a couple times. This one might be slightly tamer than Aroy's but it's still plenty funky.

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    We ordered it "hot" and it certainly was, though the burn was balanced with powerful fish and lime flavors. Unlike some similar Thai salads, the Lao versions aren't sweetened with sugar. I appreciate this austere approach as a change of pace. I need to try Kaew's take on som tum. I wouldn't be surprised to find it significantly different than others found around Chicago.

    Two very different soups were both winners. Thailand's khao tom, often eaten for breakfast, can sometimes be congee-like but Kaew’s version (kow-tome on the menu) contains distinct grains of rice.

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    There's an awful lot going on in that broth. This might be the best $4 you can spend in a restaurant.

    I don't think this curry-like beef soup is on the menu but it's worth asking about. The one we had wasn't particularly spicy but had an appealingly strong turmeric flavor.

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    The broth had a slight viscosity I couldn't figure out (okra?). Turns out it's thickened with broken rice.

    On a later visit we tried a beef and vegetable dish with fairly similar spicing.

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    I think I enjoyed this drier one even more.

    The only dish I probably wouldn't order again is this fish.

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    The sauce (reminiscent of Vietnamese nuoc cham) and garnishes were delicious but the fish itself was uninspiring even by tilapian standards.

    The off-menu Lao dishes, otherwise unavailable in these parts, are a big draw but I wouldn't overlook the printed Thai menu. We took a chance on the massaman curry (chosen with chicken instead of the traditional beef) and were rewarded with this freshly made bowl.

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    It's probably the most turmeric-heavy version I've tried (sensing a theme here?) as well as the freshest tasting. Unlike the long-cooked versions I'm used to, this one had still-firm potatoes and abundant gravy that was perfect with the brown rice.

    I couldn't be happier to have this exciting addition to our Southeast Asian choices.

    Spicy Thai Lao
    5357 S State Rd (about 7800 S, 5400 W)
    Burbank IL
    708-424-1758
    http://www.spicythailao.com/
  • Post #2 - January 26th, 2014, 6:18 pm
    Post #2 - January 26th, 2014, 6:18 pm Post #2 - January 26th, 2014, 6:18 pm
    Rene G wrote:I couldn't be happier to have this exciting addition to our Southeast Asian choices.


    Hear, hear! The best food I've eaten this year so far.

    Rene G wrote:It's probably the most turmeric-heavy version I've tried (sensing a theme here?) as well as the freshest tasting.


    It makes sense that the spice set here reminded me of the Eastern Thai of Jitlada in LA, a heavy hand with turmeric and unapologetic chile heat.

    I really enjoyed all the dishes we ordered, even the simple wings. The egg rolls, bamboo salad, and the "dry" curry style beef were especially my favorites. I don't have much to add since I've only been once and Rene G so vividly illustrated his experiences above. Those are the most unique egg rolls I've ever had and that was also the best massaman I've had as well. Loved the option of brown rice.

    I'll add a few of my pics as well, this stuff is really photogenic:

    Fermented Bamboo Shoot Salad
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    For now, untranslated beef dish
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    Kaew is a tremendous chef as well as a real sweetie. I hope that potential new-found attention will be good fortune for her and family. As of now, the menu reads like your average Ameri-Thai joint, so I'm curious to see if new interest leads to an expanded set of offerings. She seems happy to accommodate, so I look forward to trying out more dishes. What a fantastic find!
  • Post #3 - January 26th, 2014, 9:46 pm
    Post #3 - January 26th, 2014, 9:46 pm Post #3 - January 26th, 2014, 9:46 pm
    Rene G wrote:Thailand's khao tom, often eaten for breakfast, can sometimes be congee-like but Kaew’s version (kow-tome on the menu) contains distinct grains of rice.

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    There's an awful lot going on in that broth. This might be the best $4 you can spend in a restaurant.


    The Kow-tome is made with a quality base chicken broth and is reinforced in perfect proportions with non-mushy rice, lemongrass, cilantro, fish sauce, chile, celery, and scallion. This soup is elemental yet vibrant and I absolutely love it.

    Having accompanied Peter on two of his visits, I can second every dish he mentioned that I've tried...with the exception of the wings.

    Really looking forward to another visit.
  • Post #4 - January 28th, 2014, 9:06 pm
    Post #4 - January 28th, 2014, 9:06 pm Post #4 - January 28th, 2014, 9:06 pm
    This is almost like driving to a different country . . . well, for this northsider. But you've convinced me I need to try it. Looks and sounds fantastic.
  • Post #5 - January 29th, 2014, 10:26 am
    Post #5 - January 29th, 2014, 10:26 am Post #5 - January 29th, 2014, 10:26 am
    Hi,

    For orientation on where this place is located, it is very close to the intersection of Chuck's Cajun Cafe's original location. It is certainly a reasonable option near Midway Airport.

    To get Laotian food, you really have to ask because very little-on menu and most-off menu.

    They offer halal due to the demographics of many of their customers living in the area.

    While I soldiered through their medium heat dish, I was really glad when it was testing someone else's limits. I was also pretty hungry, so I made do with what came.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #6 - February 7th, 2014, 11:49 am
    Post #6 - February 7th, 2014, 11:49 am Post #6 - February 7th, 2014, 11:49 am
    On Sunday, February 16 at 11am we will have a special Lao meal at Spicy Thai Lao. We are asking Kaew to cook whatever Lao-influenced dishes she feels like making. For more information and to sign up, please go to the Lao Meal at Spicy Thai Lao thread over in the Events section.
  • Post #7 - February 8th, 2014, 10:46 am
    Post #7 - February 8th, 2014, 10:46 am Post #7 - February 8th, 2014, 10:46 am
    PIGMON wrote:
    Rene G wrote:Thailand's khao tom, often eaten for breakfast, can sometimes be congee-like but Kaew’s version (kow-tome on the menu) contains distinct grains of rice.

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    There's an awful lot going on in that broth. This might be the best $4 you can spend in a restaurant.


    The Kow-tome is made with a quality base chicken broth and is reinforced in perfect proportions with non-mushy rice, lemongrass, cilantro, fish sauce, chile, celery, and scallion. This soup is elemental yet vibrant and I absolutely love it.


    Had a great 2nd outing here yesterday. Did not run out of time to try the soup this time. We ordered spicy and ours had a much more prominent slick of chile oil floating on its surface. It was hot, but not as much as our salad and curry later in the meal. Another question– in previous versions has the celery been cooked al dente? I appreciated the crispness and it called to mind our conversation about the potatoes in the mussaman. Anyway, fantastic dish, with its dark broth, deep flavor, celery, and rice, its somewhat reminiscent of gumbo. I believe there is a toasting of chile employed somewhere in the preparation which lends a subtle smokiness, also gumbo-esque.

    Those eggrolls are so freaking good that I could not resist burning my mouth inhaling the sucker. My favorite egg roll ever.

    We ordered just one salad this round, the jackfruit, which was fiercely hot, piquant, and fish sauce funky with little to no sugary sweetness. Eating this on its own, out of the context of the funked up bamboo salad, really let me appreciate the meatiness of jackfruit.

    That still unnamed spicy beef curry/stir fry was, again, what I walk away craving. The bits and bobs of rough chopped aromatics- galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaf, as well as whole mustard seed, really demonstrate the home-made quality of Kaew's cooking.

    I'm in love with this place.
  • Post #8 - February 8th, 2014, 11:31 am
    Post #8 - February 8th, 2014, 11:31 am Post #8 - February 8th, 2014, 11:31 am
    Jefe wrote:I'm in love with this place.

    High praise indeed, I really need to get to Spicy Thai Lao. Wish I was able to make the meal Rene G setup.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - February 9th, 2014, 7:52 am
    Post #9 - February 9th, 2014, 7:52 am Post #9 - February 9th, 2014, 7:52 am
    Jefe wrote:Did not run out of time to try the soup this time. We ordered spicy and ours had a much more prominent slick of chile oil floating on its surface. It was hot, but not as much as our salad and curry later in the meal. Another question– in previous versions has the celery been cooked al dente? I appreciated the crispness and it called to mind our conversation about the potatoes in the mussaman.


    I stopped in there last week to grab some kow-tome as carryout and also noted the aforementioned chile oil this time around. I think she just added it unsolicited as, I believe, she's starting to believe that some customers might truly want to eat her food spicy.

    Both times I've tried the kow- tome, the celery had a lovely crisp to it giving the soup some much-needed texture. That's one example of the subtle but notable elements of her cooking I've been really loving.
  • Post #10 - February 17th, 2014, 10:04 am
    Post #10 - February 17th, 2014, 10:04 am Post #10 - February 17th, 2014, 10:04 am
    I just wanted to thank Peter for setting up the terrific meal our large group enjoyed yesterday. We were there for about 4 hours, give or take, and were fortunate to be gifted with every dish on the menu (but one, the beef entrée, probably because they may have thought we were needing to leave :)).

    In particular, it was interesting to enjoy these dishes and never miss the pork. Highlights for me were the bamboo salad; the curried spring rolls; fantastic fried chicken with possibly my favorite sauce ever eaten in an asian restaurant; a simple cucumber salad with a wonderfully vinegary tamarind dressing; jackfruit salad, heat packing som tum--even loved the ice cream with toasted coconut and sticky rice. As usual for me, the apps and salads were my favorites. But there was much to love from every corner of this menu. And we covered it ALL.

    Looking forward to returning soon--and, by the way, while this would be a bear to access via public transportation, with a car it's only a very short drive past Midway. Well worth seeking out!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #11 - February 19th, 2014, 3:48 pm
    Post #11 - February 19th, 2014, 3:48 pm Post #11 - February 19th, 2014, 3:48 pm
    It was very interesting having this food at our group lunch the other day. I thoroughly enjoyed it but what really struck me were the subtle and not-so-subtle differences, especially with the Laotian dishes, compared to their Thai counterparts. In many cases, they looked the same but the flavors were notably different. I agree with others who posted that the sauces and dressings were particularly awesome -- loaded with explosive, interesting flavors but balanced very nicely.

    Here are some shots of what we had, with the dish names taken directly from their Isan Lao Style Menu . . .

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    Egg Roll


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    Lao Style Cucumber Salad


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    Lao Style Chicken Wings
    I loved this. The flavor and texture of the wings were both terrific. They were crusty and spicy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.


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    Sticky Rice


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    Lao Style Beef Jerky
    Another favorite of mine. Salty, sweet, spicy and tender.


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    Kow-Tome (beef)


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    Lao Style Tom-Yum Chicken Soup
    I thought the broth here was terrific.


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    Jackfruit Salad


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    Bamboo Salad


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    Larb Neua


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    Som-Tum
    One of the best, most balanced versions I can remember having. I loved the uneven, by-hand cuts on the papaya.


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    Lao-Style Chicken Sausage
    Great flavor but I think pork would have been even better. I know there was some chatter at the table about why pork isn't served here but I didn't hear all the details.


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    Batu Lard Prik (mackerel)
    Complex but a little too sweet for me.


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    Brown Rice


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    Pad-Cha Squid
    Another one of my favorites. The squid was tender but not mushy, and the heat level and complex flavor of the sauce were both sensational.


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    Coconut Ice Cream with Sticky Rice

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    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 #12 - February 20th, 2014, 3:36 pm
    Post #12 - February 20th, 2014, 3:36 pm Post #12 - February 20th, 2014, 3:36 pm
    I really enjoyed the meal here, and after a couple meals here I can really imagine finding my set dishes to order here for a perfect meal. There were a couple clunkers to me, which isn’t a problem now that I know what to order and what to avoid. I want to be honest and share both what I loved, and what I didn’t love so much, and I don’t want to discourage anyone from checking the place out, seriously if you haven’t, you should!

    The standouts for me were the salads (bamboo salad, jackfruit salad, papaya salad), the eggrolls, and the tumeric beef curry (name?). The chicken wings on the second visit were amazing, but completely different than the first which would account for why the above reviews are so contradictory. The fish paste sauce that came with the wings the 2nd visit was outstanding. The squid was cooked to be very tender and as ronnie said, not mushy, and had a strong young peppercorn flavor which I love.. These standouts were worth 100 trips back here!

    The pretty good, but didn’t blow me away dishes: The chicken sausage flavor was right on, but quite dry. The beef jerky was good, but fell significantly short of my favorite at Rainbow in terms of flavor, texture and general quality of the cut of meat. The larb was odd, in that it was swimming in sauce, which which was neither a good thing, nor what I think it’s supposed to be like. The joke at the table was that we should eat it on some buns as a sloppy joe. During the meal I heard everyone gushing about the soups, but I found the broths to be okay, but pretty simple and thin, with a nice tang. I appreciated that lack of sweetness, and I think everyone liked it for its simplicity, but to me the simplicity was almost a fault, but my biggest guff is that the only things of substance in the soup were either dry stir-fry-type chicken breast or chewy beef, and overcooked rice.

    These cuts of chewy stir-fry-type meat seems to be the norm in all of the dishes (even the curry beef which I otherwise loved). I think the restaurant could greatly improve on some of these authentic dishes by supplying specific cuts of meat designed for each dish rather than just using what they have for their regular delivery runs. The other two clunkers (to me) were the mackerel which was not a good piece of fish to begin with but also drowning in a whole lot of corn syrup, and the cucumber salad which was just quite plain, but what can you expect from cucumbers?

    Overall, this restaurant is an awesome find, and the proprietors are so sweet, welcoming us like family on both visits, so friendly that I’m sorry that my post was in part on the critical side, but I wanted to be objective.

    On another note... This was my first experience eating at a restaurant that bills itself as being even partially Lao, but considering that the chef is from Thailand, and that almost every dish served here is also served in Iasn restaurants, it got me wondering what exactly is Lao food, and should we really call this a Lao restaurant? Really, wouldn't any Isan restaurant be considered Lao or partially Lao considering Isan used to be part of Laos, Thailand contains 80% of all Lao speakers, and the Native Lao language is spoken by 88% of households in the Isan region? (source) There seems to be a lot of speculation, with even native lao people contradicting each other online "more spicy, less spicy" "more fish sauce, less fish sauce" "more sweet, less sweet" etc etc. I admit ignorance, my only first hand education on Laos and Lao culture and cuisine comes from Wanpen and Pramote at Rainbow (we often eat family style lao meals there, which are quite different from Spicy Thai Lao and Isan cuisine). It's a point of confusion for me, and any clarification by someone more educated would be appreciated.
    Last edited by laikom on February 20th, 2014, 3:44 pm, edited 1 time 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 #13 - February 20th, 2014, 3:44 pm
    Post #13 - February 20th, 2014, 3:44 pm Post #13 - February 20th, 2014, 3:44 pm
    On the subject of Laotian food, I once ate at a sensational Laotian restaurant in Lowell, MA named Phien's Kitchen (now closed). They described Laotian food as a mix between Thai food and Vietnamese food combining the funkier flavors of Thai food with the brighter herbaceous flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. I'm far from an expert on the cuisine, but I can say that the meal I was served at that restaurant clearly expressed this take. The larb there was served with lots of minced mint and the papaya salad had far more herbs in it than you'd see at a Thai restaurant. They grew their own herbs and really emphasized just how important they are to the cuisine.

    As laikom points out, there is a large ethnic Laotian population in Thailand and I'd expect there to be some variation across the cuisine. Just thought I'd suggest that take which has stuck with me for years since that meal.
  • Post #14 - February 20th, 2014, 3:47 pm
    Post #14 - February 20th, 2014, 3:47 pm Post #14 - February 20th, 2014, 3:47 pm
    turkob wrote:...brighter herbaceous flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.


    This makes sense, both geographically and in my experience at Rainbow, when we eat "like Lao people" the meal is always accompanied by a basket of various herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, dill, lettuce, shiso), akin to a Vietnamese meal.
    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 #15 - February 24th, 2014, 8:03 am
    Post #15 - February 24th, 2014, 8:03 am Post #15 - February 24th, 2014, 8:03 am
    jimswside wrote:enjoying the pics and thoughts on Spicy Thai Lao....this place is tops on the list of must try's, luckily its about 10 mins from my work so it will be sooner vs later

    curious, I have seen pictures of their storefront that mention "lunch specials" anyone who has visited spotted them on the menu? I have not seen them on the online menu.


    I think they're on the printed versions but you wont eat better/cheaper than a Spicy Thai Lao Egg Roll and a big bowl of kow-tome to go with it. While I agree with Laikom on the texture of the meats* I think the overall balance of the soup rocks. Like Jefe was saying it's got an Asian gumbo taste going on. It's too bad they don't use any pork here bc some sort of diced sausage in there would take it to even greater tastes. I really want to thank the people of Yelp for bringing this place to my attention :lol: .

    *That said, what spots offering a "pick your meat option" have good stuff? Seriously everything in most every Asian restaurant with a choose your meat option has long oddly cut slices of unappealing, overcooked strips of beef/pork/chicken. If they;re going to serve it that way I prefer it be cut into small pieces but that's never the case. I did find myself breaking the chicken in the kow-tome down into little pieces but it wasn't that big of a deal to me.
  • Post #16 - February 24th, 2014, 8:23 am
    Post #16 - February 24th, 2014, 8:23 am Post #16 - February 24th, 2014, 8:23 am
    When my SO had some dental issues this past year, we started ordering his beloved red curry with chicken from Rainbow with the ground chicken they use for Larb--not only did it eliminate the tough, dry chicken breast that he had trouble chewing but it made the dish so much better. Like a delicious Asian version of traditional Italian "gravy". I would bet that adding ground chicken to that soup, in place of the strips would be an improvement.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #17 - February 25th, 2014, 6:58 pm
    Post #17 - February 25th, 2014, 6:58 pm Post #17 - February 25th, 2014, 6:58 pm
    Spicy Thai Lao is closed on Tuesdays. I tried to call for some time and on the tenth try I got an answering machine that actually picked up and stated this fact.
  • Post #18 - February 25th, 2014, 8:25 pm
    Post #18 - February 25th, 2014, 8:25 pm Post #18 - February 25th, 2014, 8:25 pm
    Kow poon?
  • Post #19 - May 1st, 2014, 7:58 am
    Post #19 - May 1st, 2014, 7:58 am Post #19 - May 1st, 2014, 7:58 am
    Spur of the moment meet up for drinks and a stop at Spicy Thai Lao for a snack w/ jvalentino.

    Spicy Thai eggroll (1) chicken, (1) veggie. Ill echo the praise for these. Enjoyed the crisp skin and previously mentioned tumeric kick. Som Tom - a volcanic version, had me sweating, but still enjoying the crunch of the papaya, etc. THai chicken wings, not bad, Id get them again since I like wings.

    the most interesting item was the thai beef jerky mentioned and pictured upthread off of a lao appetizer menu. Really nicely done, served with a pickled ginger. maybe jeff has some more info on the sauce it came with but i enjoyed this item alot. - glad he spotted it on the menu.

    Really impressed by the small sampling of items we had. Didnt eat too much as a stop at the nearby Brooklyn Halal Grilled Chicken and Pizza was still in the cards.

    Lunch special looks good $5.95 any entree and a thai eggroll, or any fried rice I believe(add a couple bucks if you want shrimps) - hoping to check out more specifics really soon.

    Staff/owners were friendly and super nice. Chatted them up about their food and how I had read about them on lth. THey were appreciative of the folks lth has sent their way. They also had a write-up from the Reader prominently displayed on one wall.
  • Post #20 - May 2nd, 2014, 7:33 am
    Post #20 - May 2nd, 2014, 7:33 am Post #20 - May 2nd, 2014, 7:33 am
    got back in for lunch yesterday, happy to say this spot is within my range for lunch hour. About a mile east of Franks Shrimps, an easy drive down 79th. I was the only person eating in around 1 p.m., noticed a carry out order or 2 going out the door.

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    Glimpse of their Lao-Isaan Menu - some crossovers to the regular menu on the website:

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    Lunch special verification:

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    Went with Masuman curry and white rice - I wanted the brown rice, meant to ask for it, just forgot:

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    Thought this was a good version(i am no expert but I make this dish at home - this version was sweeter and more balanced than mine. I asked for it "hot" and these folks do not hold back on the couple dishes I have had here. Spicy Thai Lao eggroll - veggie is becoming one of my favorite things. I love the noodles inside, and the crunch..

    Really happy to add this spot to my weekly lunch rotation - . Next visit - Beef-Pad-Tamin as the entree choice for the lunch special - Also the cucumber salad.
  • Post #21 - May 8th, 2014, 7:41 am
    Post #21 - May 8th, 2014, 7:41 am Post #21 - May 8th, 2014, 7:41 am
    Jefe wrote:
    Those eggrolls are so freaking good that I could not resist burning my mouth inhaling the sucker. My favorite egg roll ever.

    That still unnamed spicy beef curry/stir fry was, again, what I walk away craving. The bits and bobs of rough chopped aromatics- galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaf, as well as whole mustard seed, really demonstrate the home-made quality of Kaew's cooking.

    I'm in love with this place.


    Feeling the same way about Spicy Thai Lao. The eggrolls are fantastic, always kicking myself for not ordering another one after I have rationed out the first one to savor each bite as long as possible. I go veggie-spicy.

    Your description of the Beef Pad Tamin is also right on. One of the better things I have eaten this year, the rough chopped herbs, spices, etc. made this dish pop. I asked for my version "medium" heat after learning from my 2 previous visits they mean business when they say hot. Even at "medium" this beef dish was a scorcher, but great.

    Beef Pad Tamin with brown rice - lunch special:

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    craving this place almost daily.

    I was the only person eating lunch there yesterday approx. 1:30.
  • Post #22 - May 8th, 2014, 9:34 am
    Post #22 - May 8th, 2014, 9:34 am Post #22 - May 8th, 2014, 9:34 am
    That beef tamin is probably my favorite food discovery of the year. The rest of the menu I've had has been solid (although I've found a couple dishes a bit too sweet for my tastes, like the mackerel and the masaman) , but that particular dish is transcendent, redolent of "green" and woody herbs and spices, and an assertive heat (I like this one searingly spicy). It's going to be hard to get me not to order it every time I visit here. Unfortunately, I get into this habit of finding one dish I really, really like at a restaurant, and then I go to that restaurant for that reason only. The beef tamin here is one of those restaurant/dish combos.
  • Post #23 - May 9th, 2014, 5:31 am
    Post #23 - May 9th, 2014, 5:31 am Post #23 - May 9th, 2014, 5:31 am
    No longer will, having to schlep out to Midway, be a schlep. Not when dinner comes next here. I'm pretty much ditto to all that above. My favorite Thai meal in some time. So many things worked for my wife and I. She does not eat flesh, and their insertion of tofu for beef in the pad tamin did nothing to denature the dish. In fact, I have not seen veg integrated so well into curries since the late, lamented Thai Grocery in Uptown. I have to say, she was pretty giddy with he veg eggroll too. Several hours after the meal, my lips still pleasantly tingled.

    If I had to rank, the very first things out, the eggrolls (chicken for me) and the jackfruit salad would be my favorites, but that may be a result of their heat searing the dishes into my palate. Only one dish was a little less, and that was the fried chicken. We all know so many great Thai fried chicken spots around town. This was not one of them. So. Can't wait for another excuse to schlep.

    BTW, that Mexican chicken place around the corner looked interesting. Anyone every try?
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #24 - May 14th, 2014, 8:42 pm
    Post #24 - May 14th, 2014, 8:42 pm Post #24 - May 14th, 2014, 8:42 pm
    The more I come here, the more I love this place. Today is my fourth visit, and I finally got a chance to try the Thai egg rolls, the beef jerky, the kow tome (brought home for breakfast tomorrow, although I snuck a snack in), and, of course, that beef tamin again (I just can't stop. I'm already addicted to it.) I can't believe these egg rolls are only a buck a piece. The dough is a bit lighter than any other egg roll I've had (a good thing, in my opinion), and the touch of Thai curry flavor really stood out for me. It's not a heavy Thai curry flavor, as I was expecting, but a nice, light touch.

    The jerky--which I've never had before and I don't have a reference for from other restaurants--was significantly moister than I expected. Judging from the comments above, that seems to be a good thing. It was not something that I would think of as "jerky" normally. The meat was approximately the texture of skirt steak that you'd get from your typical taco joint. Just a bit more done, but not dried out. Assertively spiced, a little sweet, and it came with a ginger cabbage salad, as well as a sweet chili sauce, and another sauce which was not sweet at all, but more garlicy/shallotty. I wish I had paid more attention to the flavors, but my memory is failing me. Regardless, I loved it.

    The beef pad tamin was especially bang-on today, with galangal being much more forward a flavor than before (where I remember it being more turmeric heavy). What I especially like about this dish, now that I've had it three times, is the flavors of the galangal, lemongrass, turmeric, Kaffir lime leaves, really cut through and remain clear and clean, even if you order this dish spicy (which is spicier than many "Thai spicy" dishes I've gotten around town.) It's quite obvious all the pastes are made by hand here with their intense fragrance and immediate flavor. This is simply one of my favorite dishes, now, in the Chicago area. And I really don't think I would be hyperbolic in saying that it's one of my favorite dishes I've ever had, period. This is death row last meal material for me.

    I only had a chance to taste a few spoonfuls of the kow tome, but what I like about it is that it is fragrant, but not overbearing. The broth is fairly light, not over salted, not over MSGed (I would guess none. While I have nothing against MSG and use it as an ingredient in my cooking occasionally, the broth did not have the tell-tale MSG "sharp" taste to it. It tasted like a light, homemade chicken broth.) Very "homey", comforting, and I'm looking forward to having it for breakfast tomorrow.
  • Post #25 - May 15th, 2014, 7:45 am
    Post #25 - May 15th, 2014, 7:45 am Post #25 - May 15th, 2014, 7:45 am
    Binko wrote:The more I come here, the more I love this place. Today is my fourth visit, .


    sounds familiar. Been averaging about 2 visits a week for the past 3 weeks. Might bump into you one of these times, I was in on Weds. as well.

    I was the only diner for lunch during the 12:30ish time frame. WEnt with the Beef Pad Tamin lunch special with brown rice again, this dish as mentioned above is crave worthy.

    Image
  • Post #26 - May 15th, 2014, 12:33 pm
    Post #26 - May 15th, 2014, 12:33 pm Post #26 - May 15th, 2014, 12:33 pm
    Just got back. Went with the spicy veggie eggroll (+1) and the beef pad tamin, spicy, because of the good reviews. Awesome.....

    First time I was there I had the musaman curry. It was good but i enjoyed today's trip much more

    I'll be back
  • Post #27 - May 16th, 2014, 10:50 am
    Post #27 - May 16th, 2014, 10:50 am Post #27 - May 16th, 2014, 10:50 am
    Honestly, you guys are killing me. This thread may take the cake as making me the most hungry of any thread on LTHForum. Rainbow Thai and Katsu are both up there, but I have now committed to going here this weekend because my stomach just punched me from the inside for waiting.

    Well done, guys :)
  • Post #28 - May 16th, 2014, 12:29 pm
    Post #28 - May 16th, 2014, 12:29 pm Post #28 - May 16th, 2014, 12:29 pm
    The bonus for me is it's only 10 minutes from work so the trip fits into my one hour lunch break.
    I'm pretty sure I'll be back next week
  • Post #29 - May 19th, 2014, 7:53 am
    Post #29 - May 19th, 2014, 7:53 am Post #29 - May 19th, 2014, 7:53 am
    Had dinner here on Friday night, Beef Pad Tamin, a couple orders spicy veggie eggrolls, Lao jerky. Also tried their fried rice - all really good.

    Talking with George he mentioned that they will be expanding the dining room to add a few more tables, as well as offer beer soon. He mentioned Thai and other beers. Sounds good - while a stop at Durbins in the same strip mall is ok for a beer before and after, Id like to enjoy one with the great food here.
  • Post #30 - May 21st, 2014, 6:14 pm
    Post #30 - May 21st, 2014, 6:14 pm Post #30 - May 21st, 2014, 6:14 pm
    jimswside wrote:Had dinner here on Friday night, Beef Pad Tamin, a couple orders spicy veggie eggrolls, Lao jerky. Also tried their fried rice - all really good.

    Talking with George he mentioned that they will be expanding the dining room to add a few more tables, as well as offer beer soon. He mentioned Thai and other beers. Sounds good - while a stop at Durbins in the same strip mall is ok for a beer before and after, Id like to enjoy one with the great food here.


    Oh yeah, that also reminds me, when I talked to him, he said while they're waiting for the beer license to come you can bring your own. He said he's got the insurance and all that or whatever is needed.

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