Feb 182011
 

I’m on a quest to eat every menu item at Opart Thai House. You can catch up on things from the beginning or continue on to the latest installment: whittling down the menu.

Pad Tuah Lun Tao | Opart Thai House

Pad Tuah Lun Tao

When it’s cold and snowy, I start craving fresh veggies. The Entrées section of the menu seems to emphasize dishes that feature one main vegetable, so I picked Pad Tuah Lun Tao (#67, $6.99). This dish was chock-full of lightly sautéed peapods in a slightly sweet brown sauce. I wish I’d told them to skip the tofu and double-up on the peapods instead. They were bright, perfect and very satisfying. I kept thinking that this dish would be better with some salted cashews — what does it say when I’m reworking OTH dishes in my head?

Pad Prik Lard Khao | Opart Thai House

Pad Prik Lard Khao

The Pad Prik Lard Khao (#60, $6.99) was my attempt to make a dent in the rice dishes. I ordered this combination of shrimp, onions and hot peppers medium spicy, hoping for a milder outcome with the mixing. However, I’m not sure why this was considered a dish because the components came served on top of the rice instead of being incorporated into it like the Fried Rice dishes. The only difference it seems is the rice doesn’t come in a separate box. Baffling but tasty in a hot, savory way.

Crab Rangoon | Opart Thai House

Crab Rangoon

I’d had a taste of the Crab Rangoon (#21, $4.99) with the Sample Plate (#23), but was encouraged to try it again on its own by a Twitter follower whose handle escapes me. I may not remember names, but these Crab Rangoon will stick with me for a while. You get eight generously sized pieces that are perfectly fried. They’re stuffed with cream cheese but you can actually see and taste crab inside, too. I especially liked the sweet dipping sauce that came with it. It’s the standard sauce but with hot peppers, onion and bits of ginger. As with the majority of OTH sauces, I want a vat of it to take home.

Pla Koong | Opart Thai House

Pla Koong

I hadn’t had something from the Salad section of the menu since my first order, so I sprung for some Pla Koong (#39, $8.59) to balance out the fried cheese of the Crab Rangoon. This was billed as fresh shrimp with lemon grass and Thai chili with hot & sour dressing. There were precious few vegetables in the mix — only three cucumber slices and one piece of tomato by my count — and a surfeit of shrimp and sauce. Soupy, too. It tasted pretty awesome — I’m a fan of anything with fresh cilantro and a kick. However, it was a stretch for me to call this salad. I know that Thai salads tend to be meatier, but I was hoping for a shout-out to American sensibilities. Guess I need to get over that.

My quest to eat the menu continues! The next entry will include my dining adventure with @Hurdler4eva. If you’d like to join me in eating everything on the menu at Opart Thai, I can always use the help. Leave a comment or send me a Tweet!

Opart Thai House | Dining Room Opart Thai House
4658 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-2043
(773) 989-8517

Follow the eat-the-menu entries here.

  6 Responses to “Whittling the menu at Opart Thai House”

  1. See you soon!

  2. In an area positively congested with excellent Thai restaurants, you chose the mediocre at best Opart to work through the menu? Boggles the mind.

  3. Interested to hear which you consider to be better. I’ve had take out from all over the area and eaten up and down Western, and haven’t found Thai that’s knocked my socks off (Arun’s aside). Figured I’d do this experiment with OTH since they have a comprehensive menu and they’ve received a lot of accolades lately, including a Bib Gourmand mention from Michelin.

    The process of doing this has made me better educated as far as what I like in Thai food. Though I haven’t liked everything I’ve tried at OTH, I’ve enjoyed the experience of expanding my horizons. Boggling, indeed. 🙂

  4. Usual suspects for good Thai are Spoon and Sticky Rice on Western, Roseded around the corner on Leland, and TAC Quick on Sheridan. My favorite is Aroy on Damen.

    Everyone has an opinion, and my opinion is that Opart is pretty awful. But to each their own. Happy eating and good luck with your horizons.

  5. Oh, I understand. I’ve had some awful stuff at OTH, but I’ve had some awesome dishes, too. They’re not consistent, but they are interesting. I haven’t had TAC Quick or Aroy, but will add them to the list, thanks for the recs!

    Also, have considered doing a longitudinal tasting of certain dishes across Thai restaurants in the area. So something like ordering all the possible Pad Thai dishes (because all Thai places will have it) that I can and setting up a blind tasting. But that’s a different goal — determining “the best”, eating the menu is more about depth of research into one place.

    Thanks again!

  6. Blind tasting is an interesting idea, and might be fun, but I don’t think it would yield any particularly useful information. First of all, each of these joints has their own strengths and specialties – things they do better than their competition. Second, Pad Thai might not be the best choice. Seems kinda like driving around town trying sweet and sour chicken to find the best Chinese restaurant.

    In any case, keep having fun with it. I guess that’s all that matters.

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