It’s December in Chicago, which means temperatures are dipping lower than Patrick Swayze’s white blood cell count. Time to get out your soups spoons, gluttons. Roy already pushed matzo ball. I’m gonna talk tom yum koong. Specifically, the tom yum at Opart Thai on Western, where they make soup so good I’d eat it if they served it out of Moises Alou’s cupped hands.
The soup, served in a sterno-heated, donut-shaped cauldron, is a drool-inducing flavor bomb. Snappy shrimp and big ass straw mushrooms float with lemon grass, cilantro, and thai peppers in a broth that’s more addictive than black tar heroin. Slightly oily, slightly gingery, freshly spicy, a bit of citrus acid, this broth is a combination on par with the great French sauces of the culinary world. All other Thai joints are rendered useless once this soup is consumed. Put this soup in a lineup with the city’s other tom yums and it’ll look like a Smurf farted on an Ansel Adams photo. Opart’s tom yum is the Crayola 64 Pack w/ sharpener. Everyone else’s is hand-me-down colored pencils. I’ve never met a soup I liked better.And note:
Opart does not fuck around. Order this soup extra spicy and expect to shit your pants the next day. Chicago Gluttons has proof of this. One of ours asked the waiter to “bring the pain,” an order which the kitchen gladly obliged. The soup, typically a beautiful yellow-orange hue, came out looking like Satan washed his hands in it. Shit was deeeep red. To avoid being overly graphic, let’s just say that someone jettisoned a pair of underpants the next day. It was a very spicy soup.
Next time someone orders the tom yum this way, I want to see this ticket hanging in the kitchen.