Jan 272012
 

I’m on a quest to eat everything on the menu at Opart Thai House. Over a year and fifty-six dishes later, I’m nearing the half-way mark of this culinary journey through one restaurant’s repertoire. You can catch up on things from the beginning or continue reading the latest installment: adventures in take-out.

Pad Kra Praow | Opart Thai House

Pad Kra Praow

I ordered Pad Kra Praow (#82, $7.99) with tofu, even though shrimp, chicken and beef were alternative proteins. I don’t think it was the right choice for such a peppery dish because it didn’t do anything to tame the heat. Basil, which is the other main ingredient, didn’t offer enough counterpoint to make the burn go away either or to offer other interest. It hurt to eat this dish. I’m still uncertain whether I liked the pain.

Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls & Pad Kra Lard Khao | Opart Thai House

Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls & Pad Kra Lard Khao

My next trip back, I ordered a starter of Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls (#12, $5.99). These fingerling-sized rolls were lightly crispy in a way that didn’t destroy the seafood inside. I vastly prefer these flaky concoctions to egg rolls. They came with a sweet dipping sauce that could have used a bit of pepper.

The Pad Kra Lard Khao (#61, $6.99) was a great combination of basil, hot peppers and protein over rice. I was still a little shaky after my last entree, and ordered this one medium-spicy and with shrimp. I think I would order it again with more heat. The rice makes a difference.

Yum Neau & Stir-Fried Fish | Opart Thai House

Yum Neau & Stir-Fried Fish

Most of the salads are very meat-heavy, and the Yum Neau (#33, $6.99) was loaded with thinly sliced beef and just a smattering of green onions, red onions, and cucumbers. The beef was very tender, though, and the hot and sour dressing was the right complement to that much cow.

I actually preferred the salad to the sweet-ish Stir-Fried Fish (#109, $8.59) overloaded with sweet red and green bell peppers. I don’t know what the objection is to having a savory fish stir-fry, but I can’t seem to find satisfaction. Hot or sweet, or hot and sweet seem to be the only choices. At least this dish was sole instead of catfish, which I’m losing enthusiasm for.

Opart Thai House This brings my Eat-The-Menu Quest up to 56 out of 119 available dishes. I have more in a series of take-out choices coming up, so check back!

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

Follow the eat-the-menu entries here.

Jan 212012
 

I’m on a quest to eat every menu item at Opart Thai House. If you’re interested, you can catch up from the beginning of this adventure or continue on to the latest installment: jerky and sweet.

Opart Beef | Opart Thai House

Opart Beef

I’m not a huge meat eater, but I do like a lean, tender cut from time to time. The Opart Beef (#18, $6.99) appetizer is billed on the menu as a “tender beef marinated in Thai spices,” but the deep frying makes it tough and chewy, like jerky. It made me sad. As always, I like Opart’s dipping sauces. This one had a peppery, vinegary tang that was a good counterpoint to the beef. If they treated the meat with a lighter hand, this would be a good start to the meal.

Seafood Combo | Opart Thai House

Seafood Combo

The Seafood Combo (#59, $7.99) is an inoffensive mixture of seafood and rice. It’s the sort of thing I like after I’ve been sick for a while — not too flavorful, but enough protein to fill me up. The seafood isn’t overdone, which I sometimes find in risottos or seafood stir-fries. I wish Opart would forget to buy “crab stick” and leave it out of all their recipes. It’s unnecessary and adds a sweet note that soy sauce can’t always kill.

Fried Banana | Opart Thai House

Fried Banana

I finished this meal off with Fried Banana (#112, $3.50). I expected it to be overdone like a fruity eggroll, but this dessert surprised me. It’s essentially a chunky banana pudding in a light, crispy wrap. Makes me wish their dessert menu was more extensive!

Opart Thai House This brings my Eat-The-Menu Quest up to 51 out of 119 available dishes. I have a series of take-out choices coming up, so stay tuned.

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

Jan 072012
 

Though it’s been a while since I’ve written an entry on this restaurant, I’m still eating my way through every menu choice at Opart Thai House on Western. Why? Opart is a Michelin Bib Gourmand winner two years running, they have a diverse and interesting menu, and I really wanted to do a deep dive into all of the offerings at a single restaurant over a period of time. It will take me about two years to finish my quest.

If you’re interested, you can catch up from the beginning of the eat-the-menu entries or read this post for my inaugural 2012 entry.

Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh Spring Rolls

Started this large meal with an order of Fresh Spring Rolls (#6, $3.99) from the appetizer menu. I’m normally a fan of spring rolls, but didn’t care for the cake-y texture of the wrapper on these. As a delivery system for tofu and bean sprouts, it was strange and off-putting. Also, the jalapeno peppers seemed like an unnecessary afterthought on the way to dressing up the plate. It wasn’t their best effort and not my favorite appetizer.

Yum Plamuk

Yum Plamuk

I was better satisfied with the Yum Plamuk (#37, $7.99), a delightful mix of charboiled squid — perfectly scored into little curls, carrots, onions, greens and cucumbers swimming in a hot and sour dressing. For a salad, it was actually a little soupier than I care for, but that didn’t stop me from eating it up. The squid were oh so tender and the dressing burned so good. If you’re in the “I hate squid” camp, it’s probably because you didn’t start with dishes like this.

Pla Dang Rard Prik

Pla Dang Rard Prik

Opart has two whole red snapper dishes on the menu, and I finally broke down and ordered one of them. The Pla Dang Rard Prik (#101, approx $24), came with its skin caramelized from the sweet and sour sauce. An assortment of carrots, onions and bell peppers were cooked in the same sauce and ladled generously on top. One of the best parts of whole fish, for me, is the delicate cheek meat from the fish head, but this red snapper had been cooked too long for that cut. Other than that slight disappointment, it was well worth picking the bones of this monster clean — simply delicious. I can’t wait to order the other version, done in a spicy curry sauce.

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

This brings the eat-the-menu quest up to 48 out of 120 dishes. More to come!