Namo Thai Cuisine Joins Northcenter Hub of International CuisineAddress: 3900 N. Lincoln Avenue
Northcenter’s hub of international cuisine along Lincoln Avenue south of Irving Park Road includes an Irish bistro, a sprawling sushi spot, a newly revamped Colombian grill and the only Hawaiian restaurant I’ve seen in the city. Now that Namo (3900 N. Lincoln Ave.) has moved into the corner of Byron Street, add Thai cuisine to that list.
The owners, the Rachatawarn sisters, said they wanted to create a spot where diners should “be prepared for the unification of tradition and authentic taste with a new modern interpretation.” The interior space lives up to that promise. The urban loft feel is offset by bamboo rice-winnowing baskets on the walls and fish catchers that surround the lights.
The not-overwhelming menu features the usual suspects: red, green panang and massaman curries with a choice of protein ($9-$11); papaya salad ($7); Tom Yum soup ($7); and noodle dishes served with or without broth ($8-$10). To my knowledge, there is no secret menu of regional delicacies that you need to research ahead of time.
I recommend focusing on the interesting list of appetizers, the sisters’ interpretation of Thai street food, and the restaurant’s signature dishes. If you enjoy the small plates dining trend, you could combine the grilled pork skewers ($7), melt-in-your-mouth chive cakes ($6), spicy meat balls ($6), “Sea Bags” seafood dumplings ($8), and mozzarella cheese crab sticks ($7) into a delightful buffet. Just don’t laugh when you order the Sea Bags – they taste better than they sound.
The signature entrees come with a heftier price tag ($14-18) but provide a rewarding feast for the senses. Lobster Pad Thai ($16) and Pineapple Duck ($18) are boldly presented, and it’s almost regrettable that they have to be disturbed (but you’ll get over that when you start eating). Other entrees were disappointing in both presentation and flavor compared with the signature dishes.