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World-renowned Thai restaurant Arun's reopens quietly

March 11,2017 03:30

Arun's restaurant chef and owner Arun Sampanthavivat, left in 2005, says he has taken on a business partner for the first time, allowing him to return to cooking. (Chicago Tribune). Louisa ChuContact ReporterChicago Tribune. World-renowned Thai chef ...

World-renowned Thai chef Arun Sampanthavivat quietly reopened his pioneering flagship fine-dining Thai restaurant Arun’s in Albany Park on Feb. 10.“I wanted to reopen in time for Valentine’s Day,” said Sampanthavivat. 
He announced plans early in 2016 to close the restaurant (which opened in 1985) and sell the building by the end of the year. But in late December, he changed his mind, saying he would close only for a much-needed renovation. The chef explained his new decision was a result of taking on a business partner for the first time, which allowed him to return to cooking.New dishes include a five flower pork with a peppery turmeric curry sauce. “It’s a replica of a northern Thai dish served on a bed of watercress with kaeng hang le sauce,” said Sampanthavivat of the classic and complex spicy, salty and tamarind tart curry. 
The chef said he has also brought back fan-favorite dishes massaman beef curry and mee kati coconut noodles. “There’s a lot more focus on presentation,” he added, “Food as art.”How does he feel about the renovation? “Oh my god, extremely happy,” said Sampanthavivat. “We had a great contractor, so now we have beautiful new floors, ceilings and lighting within the same old structure.”The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner only and offers two prix fixe menus, $100 for 10 courses and $125 for 12 courses, plus family-style dishes.

The upstairs private dining room at Arun’s is still under construction, as is the website at this time. The chef expects both to be completed soon.His casual concept Taste of Thai Town remains.Arun’s, 4156 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-539-1909, www.arunsthai.comlchu@chicagotribune.comTwitter @louisachu



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