So, this evening I was out at my parent's house in Oak Park dropping some items off I'm storing for a friend and helping out a bit with an event they were holding this afternoon at their house.
As a result of the dishes from the event, and general exhaustion, we decided to go out for dinner. I suggested Amarind having heard about it from them, but only rarely having had a chance to eat there.
They were slightly reluctant, but in the end we decided to go (more on this in a bit).
We started off with two appetizers, the Moo Ping (sp?) a pork on a stick appetizer, and the shrimp cakes. Both were served with similar sweet chili sauce, though not the sauce at so many other places that seems identical to the ones for sale in most asian groceries.
Both appetizers were very tasty, especially the pork dish which was flavored very nicely.
Off to a great start we ordered a bottle of white wine (they have gotten their liquer license apparently) and ordered the Crab salad, "three flavored beef" and the roast duck.
Our waitress asked if we would like the salad before our entrees, and sure enough it arrived just as we were finishing our appetizers.
(our food arrived very quickly, even though the room was filling up with much larger parties, and each plate was plated beautifully with carved vegetables and the space filled with edible garnishes.)
Of our entrees, while the crab salad was very tasty (and made of real crab), and the duck breast was flavored strongly, cooked perfectly and very tasty, it was the "three flavor beef" that was the real standout dish.
All of the dishes were subtly flavored and made of clearly very fresh and high quality ingrediants. Nothing overpowering but each balanced and presented with flair.
On previous occasions, while my parents had enjoyed most dishes they had had less than great service at times, however now I am very happy to report that the service at Amarind more than lives up the food. As well, on a Sunday night we were actually lucky to get a table at 7:00pm without a reservation, and as we ate our appetizers most of the restaurant filled up with tables of 6 or more. At one table near us, whole fish were the centerpieces - something to definitely try on a return visit.
My verdict, some of the best Thai I've had in a very long time, and worth driving out from the city to have (and a must go to if you live nearby in Oak Park, River Forest, or that part of Chicago). Perhaps not the "authentic" food rumored to be available at Spoon (yes I believe the rumors, but haven't yet had a chance to sample it) but that is not the goal at Amarind - perhaps more telling would be to compare it to Aruns or Erewon. However with a less convient location, much less pretense, and much lower prices.
For our party of 3 with a bottle of wine our bill was about $85.
Amarind Thai Restaurant
6822 W. North Ave
Tues-Thus Lunch 11:30-3:30, Dinner 5:00-9:30
Fri-Sat Lunch 11:30-3:30 Dinner 5:00-10:00