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Thai E-sarn

Noticed today driving home that Tom Yum Koong II in Arlington Heights has been replaced by Thai E-sarn. It's not open yet. Does anyone have any more information about this place?

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  1. Sorry, no info, but with that name I'm wondering if it might specifically be northern Thai cuisine. Which would be pretty incredible, if you think about it, that the Arlington food scene is now developing to the point that we're getting specific regional Thai food. I hope that this works out -- I don't want to have to trek over to Thai North if we have an alternative in our own back yard.

    1. I saw signs today proclaiming Grand Opening on Monday, Sep. 23. "Free appetizer sampler."

      1. this was mentioned on the monthly closings thread- you may want to find that. i think it was suggested that the menu would be the same or near.

        1 Reply
        1. re: opinionatedchef

          Stopped in yesterday to get a menu....nothing unique that I could see...

        2. Stopped by for lunch today, the interior looks nice but I never visited TYKII so I don;t know if anything has changed. Looks like the normal extensive Thai menu, nothing special but they have a good amount of dishes available for lunch and they all come with either Tofu Soup or Salad. I had the salad with my lunch and it was just lettuce and some julienned carrots with a small tomato and a home made dressing. I ordered the Duck Noodle Soup and the soup itself was OK, the noodles were cooked well, not mushy at all but the duck was dry. There was one slice that was OK. The service was very nice and I'll be back to try some more dishes.


          1. Tried it for lunch last week. Just not good. Ordered the crispy chicken basil and it was anything but. The chicken was cooked to death, then covered with bread crumbs and fried. Just awful. Plus there was no basil in the dish.
            The entire experience was totally blah. Absolutely nothing special here and the lack of enthusiasm from the waitress sealed the deal that we won't be back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Walthamfoodman

              Thanks for taking one for the team, sorry it was so lame.

            2. Went back today to give them another chance and this time I tried the Spicy Squid lunch portion and it was excellent, well cooked squid in an excellent sauce that was spicy enough to justify the two peppers on the menu. The Tofu soup that's included was just so so. The only drawback was that the deep fried squid was drenched in the sauce so any crispiness went out the window. Despite that it was a very nice lunch.


              1. Decided to go back to try one of their lunch boxes. I asked about the name and was told that E-sarn (Wikipedia calls it Isan) is a distinct region of Thailand with their own regional cuisine. They do have a "special" menu in Thai with the local dishes listed and they are working on an English version. She said that if you like spicy dishes you would like this. If you read Thai, ask for it now.
                I choose the Spicy Basil lunch box with Chicken ordered with fried Goyza. I ordered it as listed, 2 out of 3 peppers, and I would give it 1 1/2. Nice kick but not overwhelmingly spicy. Salad was the normal salad that it's a choice when you order from the regular menu. The Goyza was crispy and very light with a soy dipping sauce. The Spicy Basil was OK with the standard veggies, not the most exciting thing on the menu but there was plenty of food and the veggies was fresh. Service is very nice nad friendly.


                7 Replies
                1. re: Ferrari328

                  That sounds promising. Too bad I can't read Thai, though. I hope they get an English version out soon.

                    1. re: Ferrari328

                      Most excellent! Though we've lived for about 3 years within walking distance, we only recently tried it and were pleasantly surprised! We enjoyed the papaya salad (we asked for spicy and it was fairly so) and the pla rad prik (fried fish filets in a spicy garlick-y sauce). We haven't been back yet, but between Szechuan's Dumpling and Thai E-Sarn, we're pretty happy with our Asian dining choices in our tiny corner of the world.

                      1. re: Ferrari328

                        Thanks, that looks intriguing. Must try soon.

                        1. re: Ferrari328

                          Went there for lunch today and tried a couple of dishes from the special menu with my wife--the Yum Pla Dook Foo (spicy crispy catfish salad) and Larb Woon Sen with pork. The salad had a nice chili kick with a strong dose of lime juice with a lot of crunchy texture from the fried catfish bits. The fish must have been shredded fine, because there were no distinguishable morsels of flesh. Quite refreshing on a hot summer day. The Larb had a fairly complex amalgamation of flavors from the fish sauce, cilantro, mint, and lime juice. Not as spicy as the catfish salad, but nevertheless carried its own weight in pop.

                          So, first impressions were quite good. There are a number of other dishes I'd like to try on the special menu, so this will be my go-to place for Thai in the near future.

                          1. re: Ferrari328

                            We will not be back to this place that we can see from our house any time soon after a really disappointing dinner from the "Authentic Menu" last night.

                            But first the positive: the service was gracious, warm, and responsive throughout the meal, and the Singha beer was cold.

                            We had (shrimp) fresh rolls, green papaya salad with seafood (shame on us for ordering that on Sunday night....I guess), and chicken larb woon sen - all of the food was too sweet/processed tasting, there was very little heat (we weren't asked about preference and assumed authentic implied heat where heat is normally expected), and not fresh or aromatic at all in terms of produce / herbs - wilted brown iceberg lettuce, desiccated carrot garnishes, etc.

                            My spouse who is adventurous and open-minded about food and eats pretty much everything declared it "disgusting".

                            We were also put off upon entering by a combo of musty/moldy/chemical smells - not what we look for in a dining experience - ever.

                            Finally, there was only one other occupied table in the entire room last night, and we didn't observe any takeaway activity while there. Now I understand why.

                            1. re: rlh

                              Sorry to read about your bad experience. For reference, the raw vegetables that we got for Saturday lunch were all very fresh and the herbs were strong. Perhaps Sunday night is a bad time or they have a problem with quality control, which would be disturbing. We'll be going back another time to take another sample.

                      2. Stopped in last night to check out the new menu options with a friend who lives in Arlington. We got the spicy crispy catfish salad, green papaya salad with salted black crab, and beef nam tok. We also ordered spicy herb duck (or some such) off the specials board as our friend loves duck.

                        The green papaya salad arrived first and did have some zing as well as plenty of smashed crab bits to crunch on, so I was looking forward to the catfish. That was crunchy and pretty tasty but not particularly spicy, and neither was the nam tok, which had overcooked beef to boot. Given other reports I'm guessing they dumbed down the spice for us. (The duck dish, a pleasant prep with green beans, wasn't spicy either but we weren't expecting it to be.)

                        Thankfully we didn't have anything smelling off or being not fresh like the other Sunday report, and the meal was an improvement over the one other time we tried the place, but it didn't blow us away. If we end up there again we'll see if we can get them to prepare the catfish salad and/or a larb that has some actual heat; what we had was well below even our modest preference.

                        1. Stopped by for lunch today to try something else from the translated menu. I haven't found anything really exciting yet but today I tried the Larb Woon Sen with Pork and ordered it Thai Authentic and I think that's the secret codeword since it come out really well seasoned, not deadly hot but a really good mix of the basic Thai flavors.


                          1. Went back last night and tried the Pad Kha Naa Pla Kem (Chinese broccoli with salted fish) and Po-Taek (spicy and sour seafood soup) from the "authentic" menu. Given the recent postings I was pleasantly surprised by the heat level on the PKNPK since it was described as only "slightly spicy." Are they not dumbing down the spice because I'm Asian? The Po-Taek was not (spicy) hot but had plenty of sour and was chock full of lime leaves, lemon grass, and cilantro to make for quite a strong flavor. I wish it had more seafood in it, though. It was really mainly broth, a good accompaniment to a bowl of rice. Other folks in my group had items off the "regular" menu, none of which was noteworthy.

                            1. Placed a delivery order tonight.

                              Thai chicken wings were decent, but not crispy nor nearly as flavorful as what I'd eaten in Thailand. Done right, Thai Chicken Wings are unbelievably tasty (my favorites were from Baan Tha Klang's weekly market).

                              Larb Woo Sen (off the 'special' menu) ordered extra spicy was not Thai spicy (barely able to consume) rather 'Farang' (foreigner) spicy...spicy on the tongue but not overwhelming. But it was a really good mix of ground pork, red onion, glass noodles, lettuce and spices. Could barely stop eating it...it was most authentic Issan dish I've had here in the States (I spent a week in the Surin province and miss the food terribly).

                              Crispy Chicken Gra Pow (ordered extra spicy) was bleh, very Americanized with big fried chicken pieces, big pieces of bell peppers/onions, and very little spice. At least in the local restaurants I frequented, the fried chicken was chopped into bite sized pieces and the dish was infused with green and red Thai Chilis. Not here :(

                              Would I order again? Yes...but I'd stick to specific items in special menu (which is only found via Yelp's ordering app, not Foodler or Grubhub). Delivery was within 30 minutes with food piping hot and well packed.