Recently we’ve been to two extremely different Thai restaurants. One is our neighborhood place here in Wrigleyville, Tac Quick (Eater 38), and the other is up in Edgewater, Indie Cafe. Both are very good but very different dining experiences. At one you’ll find some unique, authentic Thai dishes, the other is more mainstream. Oh and both restaurants are BYOB! Score.
A couple of weekends ago we had some friends in town from the ‘burbs who were coming down for a night out in the big city…dinner and a comedy show at iO Theater. Real country mouse coming to see the city mouse stuff. Anyway (now that I’ve properly made fun of our friends), we went to Tac Quick Thai on Sheridan right by the Red Line stop of the same name for pre-theater food.
Cheryl and I live right around the corner from this little Wrigleyville-border gem and it’s our go-to Thai place for a quick bite out and take-away. One aspect we adore about Tac Quick is their “secret menu” with more traditional Thai dishes. It’s not really a secret though since almost every review or Yelper post mentions it. Still, they don’t hand it out with the normal menu, you have to specifically ask for it.
I’ve got a couple favorite dishes from here. I always get their papaya salad (Som Tum Thai). It’s fresh, citrusy, and spicy. When I order it I ask for medium heat and believe me that’s plenty! My usual go-to entrée order has been their boat noodles but on this particular evening I tried something new off the “secret menu,” a braised bbq pork hock. Wise decision. It was fall apart tender in a sweet Thai bbq-flavored sauce. Delicious. They’ve got all the other standard Thai offerings, curries, noodles, soups, in case you’re not into pork hocks like me. I have a feeling Anthony Bourdain would like this place. I know I do.
Indie Café on the other hand is a sushi/Thai BYOB joint up in Edgewater on Broadway. Parking’s not too bad but it’s also right around the corner from the Red Line Thorndale stop. Now normally when I see a restaurant mixing two things like sushi and Thai (or Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian) I get a little skeptical (especially if it’s sushi and Italian). In this case it works. The sushi was really fresh and had clean flavors. Their Thai dishes were also really good. They offer the standard Thai you’ll find in pretty much any Thai restaurant but at Indie they do them almost perfectly. Which is good because I found the menu somewhat limited. Not surprising since you’ve got two things going on here (Japanese and Thai) but again, what they lack in number of dishes is more than made up for in the quality. Cheryl commented the pad thai and fried rice tasted exactly like the ones in Thailand (she used to travel there in her job before MBA school). They also have mochi ice cream for dessert. Not a bad finishing touch, if you like mochi ice cream.
Final offerings, if you’re looking for an adventurous, authentic Thai meal look no further than Tac Quick. If you’re looking for a really excellent and delicious presentation of classic Thai head up to Indie Café. Either way, you won’t walk away hungry (both have good-sized portions) and you won’t pay a king’s ransom either. Both are very moderately priced. I find Tac Quick a little quieter, no real need for a reservation even on Saturday night (easily sat 6 of us walking in), never seen them packed but they’re never empty either. There are always people eating. Good sign. Don’t know about weeknights at Indie but I can probably safely say for a Friday or Saturday night you may want to call ahead. The place was pretty full on the Friday night we went. Two great Thai options I highly recommend!