Photo: Courtesy of spoon thai

At Spoon Thai, simple presentation is no match for delicious Thai dishes. 

The thoroughly average façade and decor at this storefront, along with the low prices and lettuce-leaf-garnished platings, belie the excellence of the food at Spoon Thai.

The translated Thai menu holds the gems, despite some overlap with the by-the-numbers regular menu. Sweet, sour, and umami balance in dishes like jerky-like beef strips with tamarind dipping sauce, or a one-bite salad of dried shrimp, peanuts, and toasted coconut. Boat noodles ($7) easily feeds two, but even splurges like soft-shell crab ($16) are generous. Skip dessert.

Dishes We Liked: Neua daet diaw/jerky beef ($7.95), muang kham/one-bite salad ($6.95), kuay tiaw reua/boat noodles ($6.95), soft-shell crab ($15.95)

Spoon Thai, 4608 N Western, Lincoln Square. 773-769-1173. Thai.

New restaurant reviews, updated to reflect critics’ recent visits, appear each month in Chicago magazine, in Dine, as well as on our website. Listed restaurants are rated from one to four stars, where one is good, two is very good, three is excellent, and four is superlative. Spoon Thai stayed at two stars in the May issue, on newsstands now.