Four spots for Thai and sushi
Anna’s Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar By all accounts, a place that serves both spicy salmon rolls and rice noodles in a Laotian red curry should not be able to do both well. But this restaurant defies the odds, bouncing from Thailand to Indonesia to the Philippines to Japan to India with a good degree of skill. Settle into one of the banquettes, and beware the “chef’s signature” sushi: The fun, colorful rolls are dinosaur-size, and you’ve got a continent’s worth of other food to try. 813 W Lake St (312-344-1090). Average main course: $10.
Butterfly Sushi & Thai Cuisine This offshoot of the popular Butterfly on Grand serves a similar Thai/Japanese menu (think curries, noodles and sushi) in a dining room with a similar color palette (think monarch butterflies). The food is, for the most part, a reliable bet. Stick to the basics—fresh yellowtail rolls, a hearty pad thai (for a twist, order it with wide rice noodles), steaming udon and tom yum soups—and you’ll go home happy. 1421 W Chicago Ave (312-492-9955). Average main course: $8.
Indie Café This small BYOB Thai-Japanese spot in Edgewater serves artfully prepared dishes that stand out from typical neighborhood Asian spots. Gems include the signature Indie curry made with lemongrass, coriander and garlic; a heat-packing chicken- and prawn-studded smoked chili combo; and “Monte Carlo” maki made with spicy salmon, seared tuna and tobiko. 5951 N Broadway (773-561-5577). Average main course: $11.
Tamarind This cute South Loop spot is part slick, part casual, with soothing bamboo-decked green walls and a staff that’s eager to please. Jump around the massive, multicultural menu and you’ll find great dishes across the board, from Chinese soup dumplings to ponzu-drizzled sashimi to Vietnamese-style grilled lemongrass beef. Generous sushi cuts are tasty (but a tad pricey); the signature duck soup is a standout, but we found the Thai red curry a bit gloopy and not nearly as spicy as the menu warned. No matter; dozens of other dishes do the trick. 614 S Wabash Ave (312-379-0970). Average main course: $13.