Of all the winners of Michelin’s Bib Gourmand (you know, besides Twin Anchor), the one that most critics tended to blast was Thai Village. It seemed like an odd pick, especially since the list skipped by such beloved local institutions as Spoon Thai and TAC Quick Thai. So Steve Dolinsky’s latest list seems perfectly timed to help address those issues. Sure enough, both of those latter restaurants make his “Top 5 Thai Restaurants in Chicago.” He also admits that Chicago has not always been known for good Thai food. “For too many years,” he begins, “Thai food in Chicago barely resembled the incredibly vibrant, flavorful soups, curries and salads from Bangkok and Chiang Mai.” What changed? And who comes in at number one?
Great Thai food came thanks to a combination of “great grocery stores, people’s eating experiences in Thailand and a proliferation of food shows and passionate blogs.” Plus he points out the invaluable translation work by Erik M. on LTHForum, who helped start the whole secret menu craze.
But we are most surprised by his number one pick. Instead of the usually pat on the back for Spoon Thai (which does land at number 4), or Arun’s (which only makes his honorable mentions), he goes with Amarind’s. He explains: “Rangsan Sutcharit worked at Arun’s for about nine years, and he brings his eye for presentation to every plate, even if it’s something as simple as spinach noodles embedded with bits of crabmeat.” Looks like we have a new Thai place to check out.