We crave it viscerally and explicitly, like the feeling of sun on bare skin, or a lover's touch.
Dramatic, yes. But we're not the first to feel so impassioned about Andy Aroonrasameruang's crispy on choy.
We first tried the riotous jumble of tempura-fried watercress, mint, scallions, chiles, ground chicken and shrimp at TAC, the Wrigleyville restaurant where Aroonrasameruang worked for nearly a decade. We could eat the sauce, a love child of sweet chile sauce and nuoc cham, every day.
He's brought the dish ($12), along with dozens of other TAC favorites, to his new Lakeview BYOB, Andy's Thai Kitchen (ATK).
There's no "secret menu" here. So make a beeline to the "Don't Miss" section, where you'll find many of the dishes from TAC's second menu, like a fiery dish of crispy basil with minced chicken and preserved duck egg ($9.50), and Thai eggplant with green curry served over wedges of omelet ($10.50). An appetizer of kai tod, dark brown marinated and fried chicken ($8.50), is as sticky and finger-licking as ever. Grilled pork neck with spicy lime ($7.50) is even better than we recalled.
We never saved room for dessert at TAC. Here, we're glad we did. The pan-fried roti ($3), slick with butter and loaded with sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream, is a laughably rich, staggeringly delicious ending.
Andy's Thai Kitchen, 946 W. Wellington Ave.; 773-549-7821 or andythakitchen.com