Bamee So Ba w/Pork from Pot Pan
Item Purchased: Bamee So Ba w/Pork
Location Purchased: Pot Pan / 1362 N. Milwaukee Ave. / Chicago, IL
Price: $6.95 + tax
Purchased on: 02/22/08
Review: Somewhere in the middle of Pot Pan’s relocation that took place about six months ago, someone got the bright idea of turning a perfectly good neighborhood Thai restaurant into some kind of dimly lit, dance-club looking, faux chic hot spot of the new Wicker Park. They still have the same food with less of the crusty nighthawk clientèle. The look of the place will either outperform the food and disappoint you or cause you to think you are eating delicacies at seven bucks a plate. Quite honestly, before I even sat down, the place gave me that sensation you get when you walk into a movie late and can’t find your seat.
Before I rail against the plate of noodles I had, I should tell you that the Bamee So Ba is supposed to come with beef, not pork. I am of the opinion that beef pork and chicken are endlessly interchangeable in Americanized Thai food dishes. Some of you, I have been informed, may not share that opinion.
So there it is. I changed a menu dish. You decide whether my negativity should be attributed to the dish itself or to my desire to substitute one meat for another.
Let’s start with the good, shall we?
Portion size and price at Pot Pan are still spot on, despite the visual transformation of the joint. My heaping steaming mountain of lomein came on a gargantuan platter surrounded by fancy cut carrots and shredded cabbage. The pork was a bit dry, but still tasty and the dried mushrooms were the perfect consistency.
Ok, that’s enough. Now for the bad.
Mainly, my complaints center around what the menu says is a slightly sweet sauce. To “sweeten” a sauce apparently means to stir a bunch of sidewalk pennies in a wok with some soy sauce and sugar packets (paper included). The sauce’s flavor was not slight, but overpowering and unfortunately made its way into what would otherwise be a refreshingly crisp and tasty collection of ingredients.
Convenience and price are Pot Pan’s strengths, but I doubt I’ll complain when I have to walk a few more blocks or spend a few more dollars for something much better.
Luckily, this is Chicago, and Thai restaurants are a dime a dozen. It’s even luckier that there is only one Pot Pan.
Rating: 1.5 / 5
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