**** (4 stars)
I’ve had many tasting menus and I’ve had many Thai meals, but I’ve never had a Thai tasting menu, so it what great fun to visit Arun’s, where you get to taste modern variations on many classic dishes.
We began with some of the very thoughtful cocktails, which were a cut above average, even in very cocktail-oriented Chicago.
The twelve-course menu begins with many courses that are just one bite, although it’s often a very large bite. One of my favorites was the first course, a betel leaf with a complex assemblage surmounted by coconut.
Everyone’s favorite course of the meal was the last of the starters, an extraordinarily flavorful lemongrass broth served from a miniature teapot.
Four main courses were served family style. The best of these was the Massaman beef curry. Also good were the lobster and scallop. The only real miss of the evening was the snapper in sweet Thai chili sauce, a fairly conventional Thai dish, and this one wasn’t as crispy or interesting as the traditional version.
We finished with two desserts, both fruit-based, that were a refreshing conclusion.
On the whole, we felt that every single course was beautiful, and quite a few were extremely delicious. A few didn’t quite live up to their exotic appearance but were pleasant nonetheless.
One of us had the wine pairing with the dinner. There were some interesting wines and some good matches, but if you’re knowledgeable about wine I think you will do better ordering off the interesting, extensive and well-priced list. The sommelier was quite personable and informative.
Our waiter was also very friendly, and the many members of the serving staff all took pride in their fine restaurant.
Arun’s Thai Restaurant
4156 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60618