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Apr 13, 2007 02:31 PM

going to tac quick for first time tonight

I am making my first trip to TAC Quick tonight. I have my translated menu in hand and am so excited. I read on this site to try the papaya salad (thai version), the basil chicken and the green curry with omelet. What are other standouts? Have big appetite and am total foodie. Traveling from loop out there (after a quick stop at binny's for some reisling), so hope I can find parking...any suggestions for dinner are appreciated!

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  1. interesting...I'm part of a party of four this evening(at the eponymous) of whom three have never been...

    I sent copies of Erik M's translated menu to my dining companions...but, TAC has their own developed with his expertise(I believe). Look forward to chalkboard specials and don't necessarily expect the in-house Thai menu to mirror the printouts.

    2 Replies
    1. re: aelph

      Be sure to check the chalkboard. Specials will be listed there and they are usually all good. (Grilled pork neck is a favorite of mine, and you probably can get it both as an appetizer and main course.)

      1. re: jbw

        The grilled pork neck is not presently available.


    2. I hope you have a copy of my most current translation, which is not the same as the one on my website.

      You will find it here:

      As for recommendations, you are on a good track. I am particularly keen on the papaya salad with briefly-marinated, raw blue crab (somtam puu ma). And, take note, the basil chicken to which you refer is served atop preserved (black) eggs, which are quite unappealing to the masses, so be sure that is what you indeed want. As for the green curry/omelette, it is quite good, yes, but the consistency of the curry itself can be a bit too thick at times. You might want to consider the red-braised pork hock as an alternative.

      Now, if, as you seem to suggest, you are interested in even more food, I'd recommend the fried chicken (kai thawt), or the isaan sausage (sai krawk isaan). Both are hugely popular, and with good reason.

      Lastly, be sure to glance at the Specials Board on the Eastern wall. Right now, the only thing I'd have you steer clear of is the "spicy curry noodle," as I found it to be thoroughly mediocre.


      8 Replies
      1. re: Erik M


        This is short notice, but what genres of dishes and how many would you suggest for a group of four? "apps", soup?, salads, etc?

        ...with full knowledge that the meal will be served a la minute or, rather, as it becomes available, and/or all at once...

        1. re: aelph

          Well, roughly 1-2 dishes per diner, if you'd like to include a soup.

          1 fried/grilled meat appetizer (sate, fried chix, sausage, etc.)
          1-2 orders sticky rice
          1 salad appetizer (fish maw, wun sen, etc.)
          1 soup (tom saep, tom yam, po taek (special request), etc.)
          1 dry-fry (phat phet, phrik naam phao, greens w/ fish salted fish, etc.)
          1 curry-fry or curry
          1 braised or stewed dish

          That's a pretty well-rounded lineup, and a generous amount of food for four diners.


          1. re: Erik M

            what is your fave dry and curry fry?

            1. re: ljero

              Depending, I have a few favourites...

              Spicy curry-fry with catfish (phat phet plaa duk)
              Chicken basil/preserved eggs (kra-phao krawp khai yiaw mua)
              Ch. broccoli with salted fish/crispy pork (kha-naa plaa kem/muu krawp)
              "Red fire water spinach" (phak bung fai daeng--a special request)


            2. re: Erik M

              I didn't get your listing until after I got back from TAC last night, but I think we did pretty good.

          2. re: Erik M

            thanks, Erik. was hoping you'd post on this one! anything else we'd be missing? what about the duck salad/puffy catfish/crispy on choy? do these things come with sticky rice? any desserts? I read once about the sticky rice over a banana in a bana leaf that sounded fabulous...

            1. re: ljero

              The three you mention were one time specials and are no longer available. If you want sticky rice, order it to eat with the fried chicken or the isaan sausage. The other items we discussed above should be eaten with steamed Jasmine rice.

              If you want something similar to the crispy ong choy, try the "fish maw" salad (kra-phaw plaa). It's a favourite of mine.

              As for desserts, I'd recommend the sticky rice with mango, which is presently on special. I loathe American bananas, so I'd never ever recommend the banana/sticky rice dessert you describe. ;)


              1. re: Erik M

                thanks, what else is currently on special that you recommend? I love sticky rice and mango! Thanks!

                Do I request rice with the various entrees or does it come with it?

          3. We had a fantastic time at TAC last night.
            Like good geeks we brought our printouts and cross-referenced with the in-house translated menu and chalkboard specials.

            started with muu ping: a hit...reminiscent of tiger cry, but with a thicker, very sweet sauce

            somtam puu: I think I was the only one didn't help that we thought we were ordering the raw blue crab prep...just a bit on the stinky side for dining companions and also way too hot for most at the table...I was fine with the heat...didn't find it all that spicy, really.

            The salted crabs added an intriguing funk to the crisp papaya: it actually made me recall dining in Galveston or Kemah, TX as a kid gorging on fried oysters or shrimp with the pervasive perfume of the lifecycle of the gulf wafting up from the breakwaters. Almost as if someone pried up a morsel of rotten, gunky crustacean from between those same boulders, seasoned it, then said...hey! try'll like it!

            not to everyone's taste

            I'm glad we took the plunge

            naem nuong: a miang, I'm guessing...rice paper wrappers we were encouraged to fill with charred, flavorful pork meatballs, rat shit peppers, sawtooth herb, basil, and something else leafy and green that I couldn't identify...almost like a kind of grass...everything drizzled over with a hoisin sauce liberally-annointed with chile...a fun, messy, tasty plate

            khao man kai: hawker food/Hainanese chicken/rice...another pleasurable moment...
            the rice burst with flavor, the chicken, the platonic ideal of stewed is what it is

            phat thai kung sot haw khai: I'm not a fan of pad thai(so often it's the worst example of re-interpreted Thai for misapprehended farang)...this version...need I say it? Another hit. The delicate mung bean noodles, the tender omelet into which everything was infolded. The waitress forgot to bring the sauce until we were halfway done and...we were enjoying ourselves to such an extent that we hadn't noticed...

            crispy on choy(blackboard special): wow! ...the height of tempura-y, crunchy, deliciousness...the accoutrement(shrimp, ground chicken, mint) were just gilding-the-deepfried-"lily"...

            mango and sticky rice in coconut milk sauce(blackboard special): how we shoved more in...I dunno...but, we couldn't resist...and boy! I'm happy we found room. The warm, comforting, saltiness of the rice contrasting perfectly with the juicy, sugary-sweet mango


            some quick asides: I forgot to specify the heat level for the table which led to one of the issues with the somtam puu...however...nothing(to my palate) was truly incendiary and only a couple three of our dishes were "spicy" anyway

            I also neglected to order rice(duh)...but, we were so into our conversation and exploring these new dishes that by the time we realized our misstep we were already into the Hainen chicken/rice.

            We, actually did, finally order some rice, there was a mixup in the kitchen so it never arrived(again...not a big deal) and our waitress did offer to put the order in again, but by

            a great meal all in all

            and thank you to Erik M and his work putting these translations together and generally making it easier to explore aspects of Thai cuisines beyond the same ol'
            same ol'

            at one point a couple plopped down at the table next to us, ordered pad thai for two, and once their noodles arrived, sure weren't shy about ogling the deliciousness of our own spread...

            6 Replies
            1. re: aelph

              Just a comment on the "heat level" rheo-stat...

              IMO it's better to just order "real thai"... whenever the chefs start cutting corners on "heat" you run the risk they start cutting corners everywhere and pretty soon you're eating ameri-thai...

              Also... what wine did you end up taking with you ? While I love riesling and gewurztraminer with TAC cuisine, don't overlook a high-quality german wheat beer or fine american wheat micro-brew. They are also incredible matches for this cuisine.

              1. re: Chicago Mike

                I'm well aware of the heat question...however, it's kind to have consideration for friends who are adventurous diners, but perhaps have a lower tolerance for chile.

                I picked up a honey wheat at the nearby, poorly-stocked liquor store.

                1. re: aelph

                  I dunno, aelph, when it comes to lager-style beers, which, IMO, are the very best alcoholic accompaniment to Thai food, that "poorly-stocked" liquor store just a few doors north of TAC is pretty damned good. I've never had a problem finding Sapporo, Kirin, Grolsch, etc. Hell, I've even seen Singha, the "big daddy" of Thai beers on occassion.


                  1. re: Erik M

                    I was looking for a decent vino(what looked halfway drinkable was way overpriced). Also, dining companions don't drink (much)beer...well, the one other(besides myself) who does won't touch Sapporo, Kirin, Grolsch...maybe Singha...I didn't see it. The honey wheat was fine. Maybe I should've just sprung for a bottle of Johnny Walker Black.

                    1. re: aelph

                      If you head back anytime soon, skip the high tariff on Johnny Walker at the liquor store and ask Andy to share the bottle I gave him last week. ;)


                      1. re: Erik M

                        I wish I had the chutzpah to do so...

                        um...this last being my second visit to TAC(the first with a friend: 2 lunchers-the latter a vegetarian precluding deep fathoming of the translations-...for the nonce...I had the boat noodles...him, tofu something...and I do enjoy tofu...and veg dishes...don't get me wrong)


                        I look forward...especially after this last meal to returning

                        my aquisition of "authentic" Thai cuisines is heretofore of David Thompson/home cooking/Argyle supermarket(s) aquisition...and less restaurant experience...

                        again...TAC rocked

            2. Eric: thanks again for the recomendations. you be impressed with the way we eat our way through the menu! we started with the fried chicken, the issan sausage, and the grilled calamari. the fried chicken was one of the best fried chickens i have ever had. I loved the dipping sauce. I also loved the grilled calamari, although the dipping sauce was hot, hot, hot! we had a side of sticky rice with the apps, which I loved. next, we had two salads, including the papaya with salted crab (which had no crab but was just crab shells and was very fishy) and the crispy onchoy, which was fabulous! then, we had three entrees. unfortunately, they were out of the tilapia with mango and the preserved egg dish that i was so excited to try. but, we were not without other tiems to try! we tried the green curry dish, which was fabulous. I loved the curry, as it was spicy and a bit sweet, and it being wrapped in an omelette gave it more depth. i had the steamed jasmine rice as a side. then, we had the pad thai wrapped in an omlette. I liked that the pad thai was made with the glass noodles. It had much more flavor than I expected. then, we had the dish with the hard boiled eggs, tofu and pork, which was ok, but a bit bland. at this point, all three of us were in a food induced coma, but could not help ordering the mango and sticky rice (my favorite)--but they were out of it.. Sigh. SO, one had thai coffee and i had a coconut bubble tea with tapioca, which satsified my sweet fix. this was all washed down with a bottle of german reisling (spatlese) and alsace gewurtz. I took a grat bottle of lymar reserve chard, too, but the flavors were lost in the spice. I can see why sweeter wines match the food better, and may bring some singha next time. we will be back soon! thanks for your time. let me know what to order next time! :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: ljero

                Well, just to be clear, you weren't "short-sheeted" on the crab. The crab is present in the salad to lend flavour, mainly, not to provide real sustenance. ;)

                Anyway, I am glad that you had a good experience. You already have minced chicken/ basil & preserved egg on your list for next time, but I'd also suggest the fish maw salad, the catfish with green curry paste, the stir-fried Chinese broccoli with salty fish (off-menu request), and the red-braised pork hock. Whatever you do next time, lose the noodles; noodles *and* rice at the same meal is just too much. ;)


              2. Just came back from our first trip to TAC Quick. We are semi-regulars at Sticky Rice and like Spoon Thai quite a bit. At TAC we ordered the isaan sausage, the papaya salad w/ dried shrimp and the roasted duck curry, which was on the specials blackboard.

                The isaan sausage was very, very good. Not a spicy sausage at all like the northern Thai sausages on offer at Sticky Rice and Spoon --- this is an entirely different beast. Not to be missed. Learn from my mistake and don't take a big bite from the inviting fresh snappy bean-looking green chili peppers served with the sausage.

                The papaya salad looked beautiful. I enjoyed the freshness of it but unfortunately it is just a bit to spicy (hot) for my palate. My wife did not appreciate the fishiness of the dried shrimp (were they marinated in fish sauce ? interesting item for sure) --- I found them interesting but not overly delicious.

                The roasted duck curry is served in a peanut-curry sauce with tomatoes, basil leaves, pineapple and grapes. It is very similar in style to the duck curries with lychee offered at both Sticky Rice and Thai Spoon. The main differences is the overbearing peanut flavor in the TAC version as well as the western fruit (grape). I must say that I much prefer the Sticky Rice version to this one.

                Overall a very nice visit and great Thai cuisine. Went down well with an Austrian Gruener Veltiner. I will try to stay away from dishes at TAC qualified as "spicy" from now on. Very open to suggestions in this regard.