Chicago is a great food city. Neighborhoods throughout the area are filled with restaurants catering to the newest trends. This includes Evanston, a college town on the city’s northern border, a destination for diners throughout Chicagoland.
Unlike Detroit or New York, Thai food is the predominant Asian cuisine in Chicago. Every neighborhood has reliable restaurants with similar menus.
Na Korn, a new Thai restaurant in Evanston offers beautiful and authentic interpretations of traditional recipes. Truly a departure from traditional ethnic restaurants, Na Korn’s difference is evident immediately. From it’s high-tech website to it’s house-crafted cocktails Na Korn strives to create an experience, a mini-vacation that is always available.
Bright and modern, Na Korn creates an inviting atmosphere. Colorful murals and distinctive light fixtures decorate the space. The attention to design further extends to beautiful and sophisticated food presentations.
I visited Na Korn at both lunch and dinner, and had a chance to try a selection of their bites, greens and entrees.
Among the appetizers, Taro Chicken is my uncontested favorite. It’s marinated in lemongrass-infused coconut milk, flash fried and served with chili-peanut gastrique, just delicious. Sadly, Coriander Crispy Shredded Beef Brisket was less pleasing. Dry and lacking in flavor it paled in comparison.
Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes is an interesting salad course. Although the out of season tomatoes were bland and unremarkable, the smoky eggplant melted in my mouth.
The entrees I tried were all enjoyable, particularly the ones featuring rice noodles like Coconut Milk Poached Black Tiger Prawns on the lunch menu and Jumbo Lump Blue Crabmeat on the dinner menu. For the less adventurous eater The Coulotte Top Sirloin is a perfect choice, with its coconut curry sauce decoratively presented next to the steak. Braised Pork Shank with pickled mustard greens was the most surprising entree, an enjoyable fusion of Thai flavors applied to staples of American Southern cuisine.
Na Korn means metropolitan in Thai. Appropriately named, the restaurant succeeds in giving patrons a sense of contemporary urban Thai dining. If you get there before the end of February, take advantage of the three-course prix-fixe menus offered as part of Chicago’s North Shore Restaurant Month.