View Full Version : Spoon Thai in Chicago

05-30-2012, 11:20 AM
My Wife and I had a taste for Thai food so we decided to try somewhere new to us. We settled on http://www.spoonthai.com/ , which has been reviewed very well on our cities' local foodie forum. Traffic was an absolute bear with the cubs game up North so it took us about 1.5 hours to get where it would normally have taken us 40 minutes, but oh well. The seating area had about 15 tables so it was not a very large space but the staff were very welcoming and friendly the minute we stepped in. The weather was absolutely beautiful so they had the doors open and a slight breeze wafted through the dining area. We ordered quite a few dishes to share and I must say that the service was fantastic.

We started with Name Khao Thawt, which is a deep-fried rice salad with northern Thai style pressed ham. This dish had all the elements of a great dish including: contrasting textures (crispy rice and soft ham), blending of flavors (sour, sweet and savory) and an incredibly fresh and clean taste. This was my favorite dish of the evening.
By chicagopete (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/chicagopete) at 2012-05-30

Next up we had Tom Yum soup, which is a sweet and sour soup with mushrooms and a protein. My wife selected chicken and we were both a bit disappointed with this one. The soup was too heavy on the sweet aspect and frankly, the Tom Yum soup I had at Next when they had the Thai menu blew this away. The two proteins to choose from are a bit bland in my opinion, chicken and shrimp.
By chicagopete (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/chicagopete) at 2012-05-30

Next up was a very tasty dish called Sai Krawk Issan, which is a fermented pork and rice sausage served with fresh ginger and peanuts. These grilled balls of porky joy were coarsely ground and incredible in both texture and flavor. They had a funk about them from the fermentation process and this was another winning dish.
By chicagopete (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/chicagopete) at 2012-05-30

I had heard amazing things about their Pork Neck Larb so that was next dish ordered. Slices of pork neck dusted with toasted rice powder and an incredibly fresh and vibrant dressing of lime and chili along with scallions and cilantro made this dish a flavor bomb. The pork neck was cooked perfectly, juicy and slightly chewy in a pleasant way. I really digged this one as well.
By chicagopete (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/chicagopete) at 2012-05-30

Rounding out the savory courses we decided to try the Red Thai Curry with chicken again as that is what my wife prefers. For me, this was a perfect rendition of a great red curry, fragrant, flavorful with spicy heat that built up after each spoonful. The only thing it was missing was a better protein such as a large chunk of braised beef cheek but that's just me I guess.
By chicagopete (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/chicagopete) at 2012-05-30

Desert time began with Indian-style Friend Banana. This dish from a presentation aspect was down right disappointing but from a flavor standpoint it delivered in spades. Imagine someone taking the dough from a funnel cake and frying a banana with it. Heaven!
By chicagopete (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/chicagopete) at 2012-05-30

Next up was a dish my wife ordered from the menu, Thai Custard. Now call me crazy but when the dish was presented with that one cashew sitting up right we both laughed. There was something phallic about the presentation but I must say for as unappetizing as this dish looked, it really was a flavor bomb. The only thing I could compare it to would be a much more moist version of a great bread pudding.
By chicagopete (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/chicagopete) at 2012-05-30

And of course, you cannot eat Thai without sticky rice. We had sticky rice with mango and this was a wonderful rendition, very straightforward but incredibly rich in flavor and sweetness.
http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/2507/thai8.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/826/thai8.jpg/)

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05-30-2012, 11:25 AM
Did they have to roll you guys out afterwards?!? I love Thai food. Looks like you guys had a blast!

05-30-2012, 11:30 AM

We were totally stuffed without a doubt. We have a tendency to order a bunch of dishes if it is a place we know we won't probably visit for a while and just take home a bunch of leftovers.

05-30-2012, 11:42 AM
Ah, that makes sense. I usually eat everything in site and call for a wheelbarrow with the check!

05-30-2012, 12:38 PM
Oh I love red Thai curry! I love mine to have peas, corn, and quail eggs. I could live off that stuff.

Andrew H
05-30-2012, 12:43 PM
That looks like a great meal, the red curry and the fried banana dishes both sound especially good. But remember, you can't compare places to Next or Alinea. It's just not fair. :razz:

05-30-2012, 03:12 PM
That looks like a great meal, the red curry and the fried banana dishes both sound especially good. But remember, you can't compare places to Next or Alinea. It's just not fair. :razz:

I know, it definitely isn't fair but it really does make me appreciate the amount of research that Chef Beran and Chef Achatz put into their food.