The forecast for the weekend was for partly cloudy skies and cold temperatures. It is February. Partly cloudy skies — when it is not snowing — and cold temperatures are par for the course. So I decided to stay inside and keep the main area in the condo warm by baking cookies. Home made peanut butter cookies and home made butter cookies. And because I had also decided that I would mail samples to a few friends and to my brother, I had a reason to go outside so that I could go to the post office that stays open for long hours, even on the weekends. Much to my surprise, yes, Chicago did have partly cloudy skies, but the temperatures were not of the like that required a parka. I shall not thank Punxsutawney Phil yet.
After dropping off my loving from the oven, I realized that I was not far from Chicago’s Printers Row district. A short walk east and there was a particular Thai restaurant that I knew would appease my rumbling belly. Amarit, located at 600 S. Dearborn, was my destination. Eating some delectable Thai food was my objective. No, culinary satisfaction was my object. Wait, pleasing the palate was what I was going for. Well, the ultimate aim is the same, no matter how I describe it. I was going to be a happy man, one without complaint, one with a smile and no more hunger pains. So I entered Amarit with my usual anticipation, greeted the waitresses with Sawadeed, krub, took a seat, and was ready for action.
I ordered shu mai, which are ground shrimp in boiled dumplings. These eight tasty morsels served with spicy sweet and sour plum sauce and shredded carrots on a leaf of lettuce were perfect. As many times as I have been to Amarit, there has never been any indication that the restaurant has failed to deliver. This is evident in them getting the appetizers right. For an entree, I opted for pineapple curry shrimp. Clearly, Amarit ranks up there with Thai restaurants that believe in authenticity. The pineapple curry took me back to Phucket, mentally. Thick and not runny, and spicy enough to give a kick, the plump shrimp had a tasty pool to swim in before going on my fork and into my mouth. I keep telling myself to try some Thai dishes other than just the curry dishes. But why would I want to pass on mild yellow curry, lip-numbing green curry, spicy panang, or temperature-rising red curry? Needless to say, I was pleased thoroughly after my meal. I had considered dessert, but I had sampled a few of the cookies that I had baked earlier and simply did not have any more room.
I must say that for the many years that I have been going to Amarit, I have never walked away from the restaurant with a face displaying dissatisfaction. For any take-away orders, the food was never rushed from the kitchen upon my order and tasted like it has been rushed indeed. All dining experiences I have had at the restaurant proper have been so fantastic that I return at least once a month, every other month when I am busy and not in the Printers Row stretch of South Loop. The inside of Amarit is very accommodating for space and the service has been tops since I have been going to the restaurant. Amarit does tout itself as a Pan-Asian restaurant and when I look for pure authenticity, I tend to shy away from pan-ethnic eateries. The menu at Amarit has a stronger Thai base, with a whispering hint of Chinese, and that may be in part to the previous restaurant that was there — I cannot recall the name — was Thai specifically. Want to go to a Thai restaurant that will not empty your wallet or up your credit card balance noticeably? Want some of the best Thai food in Chicago? Want to walk away from a restaurant feeling like your patronage mattered? I recommend Amarit. You will not be disappointed. My appetite can vouch for that.