Usually, when a wildfire clears a forest, the natural disruption ends in a positive light of vibrant wildflowers blanketing blackened earth and attracting once displaced animals hoping to continue the cycle of life. Manee Thai mimics this succession after a year-and-a-half of shuttered doors following a fire of its own.
The comeback kid dusts its shoulders off, showcasing an entirely fresh face on the previous Avondale site. Visitors of the preceding Manee might remember a boring layout of booths, dingy gray matting and shabby yellow walls. The place filled, but the food was never extraordinary.
Visit today, and you’re lucky finding a table (reservations may help). We believe the addition of sushi to the previous pan-Asian menu plays a role in the bustle. While the BYO amenity courts first-night dates, the lack of space between tables revokes intimacy. Low lighting, uncluttered clamshell walls and Asian-inspired placements like orchids and royal elephant structures help ease the boisterous impression.
If you’re one of the unlucky few spontaneously popping in and unwilling to wait or tied up at home, carry out or delivery may work. The menu spans with 175 choices, some familiar (pad Thai and lad nar) and others, not so much (salmon chuchee: pan-fried salmon steak topped with a creamy and spicy chuchee, aka curry, sauce). And on the sushi side, more than 60 options amaze residents of the Northwest Side no longer inconvenienced with swimming upstream toward the Loop for raw fish.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez
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