We started off with an appetizer of Shu Mai (#5, $5.99), steamed instead of fried. I have a generally high opinion of Opart Thai’s dipping sauces, so I dunked my first piece without a thought and chomped away. Mistake. All I got was saltiness followed by a heavy onion taste. A second try, this time without the soy sauce, wasn’t much better. There simply wasn’t much shrimp in the Shu Mai. I appreciated the thick slices of cucumber that were served with the appetizer — they helped clear the palate.
We ordered a couple of milder entrees for dinner because, as I’m finding, not everyone wants to improve their tolerance to spicy food. That’s a shame because I think Opart Thai House shines best when the dishes are hot, hot, hot. The Pad Paak Roum Mit (#64, $6.99) was about as far from hot as you could get. It was healthy mixture of bok choy, baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in a slightly sweet brown sauce. It was the kind of dish that made you feel prim when you really, really wanted to be bad.
The Pad Kra Praow Pla (#108, $8.59), a mix of Thai basil, peppers, peapods and sole, would have been improved had the fish been fried crispier. The light breading started to get soggy soon after it was served, and any other virtues present in the dish were lost. I know they whip those dishes out of the kitchen fast, but this one needed a few more minutes of care.
The most satisfying thing I had all night was my Thai Iced Coffee (#117, $2). The coffee was dark and bitter with a sweet, frothy layer floating on top. At that price point, I dare you to find something as tasty at Starbucks or even Dunkin’ Donuts.Opart Thai House
4658 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-2043
For those of you counting at home, I’m at 36/120 dishes. You can follow the other eat-the-menu entries here.