However, do try the jail’s lobster phad phong karee. It’s simply wonderful.
At least now that Taste of Thai Town is occupying an abandoned Albany Park police station. (Slideshow time.)
Kind-of-a-big-deal Thai chef Arun Sampanthavivat is behind this conversion. And the first thing you’ll notice is the enormous shrine in front of the building. It’s a nice meeting point for your first dates. Perhaps a little inspiration for your Instagram feed. Or maybe it’s just an enormous shrine, which is okay, too.
Once you walk in, you’ll find a noodle bar on your right doing incredible things with spicy noodle soups and pad thai. To your left: a dining room with hand-painted walls celebrating King Rama V, modernizer of Thailand and just a really great Rama all around.
Further back, past some bright-orange walls, you’ll find a sunroom. Here, you and whatever assortment of pan-Asian-food enthusiasts you’ve assembled will open steaming baskets full of Thai-style shumai, Vietnamese sandwiches, snapper with pineapple curry and rotating specials like ham hocks with chilies and bok choy.
Oh, and one last thing to keep in mind: it’s BYOB for now.
Which should really test your knowledge of ham-hock-friendly wines.