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“Less expensive than you think once you factor in the labor that went into it”

HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen
Ranked #1,090 of 10,215 Restaurants in Chicago
Description: A true Vietnamese Kitchen by husband and wife team, Chef Thai & Danielle Dang. We offer authentic Vietnamese flavors that stem from the root of Chef Thai's heart. Expect exciting flavors, interesting ingredients, warm welcoming service, in a fun and accessible space.
Restaurant details
Description: A true Vietnamese Kitchen by husband and wife team, Chef Thai & Danielle Dang. We offer authentic Vietnamese flavors that stem from the root of Chef Thai's heart. Expect exciting flavors, interesting ingredients, warm welcoming service, in a fun and accessible space.
Reviewed 2 April 2018

We had been fans of Embeya in the past, so when we discovered that the chef had opened a new restaurant, we were excited to try it. The food is brilliant, and so gorgeously crafted that once you factor in the labor that went into it, as in, there's no way that you could reproduce this on your own, the cost is actually not that high. I've eaten way more expensive food that was not nearly this good.

They recommend that each person order two or three dishes, as portions tend to be on the small side. We went with another couple, and I had thought that I was suggesting dishes for the entire table, and giving a starting point. When the other couple wanted to order completely different dishes, it turned out that we probably had ordered a touch too much, but even so, going back, I couldn't think of anything that I would have wanted to omit, other than I'd have probably gotten the steamed rice instead of the fried rice. Not that the fried rice wasn't good, but steamed rice makes a better backdrop against food entrees that are so flavorful. If you get the vegetarian curry, be warned that it does not come with rice, so plan to order it on the side.

The green papaya salad is wonderful, and we also got the turnip cakes, beef ribeye, chicken wings, fried tofu, roasted cauliflower, and the aforementioned fried rice. Of them, the fried rice was the only one that I could say that didn't stand out in any particular way.

One oddity is that the table tops are warped. Apparently it happened after shipment from Vietnam, and the current situation is that the food slides toward the middle of the table. It's not an unworkable situation, as it doesn't have that far to go, but it seemed that it was a quirk worth mentioning. We were told that the table replacements have been ordered, so perhaps by the time you eat there, the table tops will be flat again. However, even if you have to chase your food, it will be worth the pursuit. :)

    • Value
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Thank AHW676
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 34 reviews

Reviewed 24 March 2018 via mobile

My friend suggested we try this restaurant because of its James Beard nomination. I’ve had fancy Vietnamese French in Danang and thought this might be similar. The food was very tasty but the experience was somewhat disappointing. It was not the comfort food that I needed. The wings were forgettable and far too large and the egg noodles were gimmicky. The octopus dish could be part of a meal served in Spain rather than Vietnam. My favorite part of the meal was the Japanese old fashion.

Thank JKNY71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2018 via mobile

Decent experience. Right up there with hundreds of other good experiences at so many Chicago restaurants. Overly hyped in my opinion. Prawn summer roll light on the prawns. The scallop ceviche was very good. The deep fried fluke was excellent! Adequate service - waitress more mechanical than genuine. Avoid the exotic fruits (tamarind). No Vietnamese beer? Not sure I would go through the 40 minute traffic hassle to return again.

Thank SamAdamsGhost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2018

We have dined twice at Hais Sous and while I understand why this restaurant is very popular, there are better and cheaper restaurants serving Vietnamese cuisine in Chicago. My daughter spent a semester studying in Ho Chi Minh City, a.k.a. Saigon and she loves Vietnamese cuisine. I have asked her to go back to HaiSous with me a few time and each time she takes a pass. She would rather travel up to Argyle street and eat there.

This restaurant has a very impressive bar and you can sit by the kitchen and watch the cooks at work. The staff is very attentive and service was quite good. With all the accolades heaped on this restaurant, I expected better from the chefs. I have read the reviews given HaiSous by Phil Vettel and I love how the owner's overcame adversity and set backs to open this restaurant. Clearly the people at Michelin are impressed with this restaurant when they gave it a Bib Gormand award but they do a disservice to all of the other top notch restaurants that serve great Vietnamese cuisine. I guess they don't care for servers whose first language is Vietnamese.

I would tell you to try their Sunday brunch. The Pho is excellent and the Banh Xeo was quite tasty. If you have a chance, please have the Lychee Danish for dessert, you will not be disappointed.

If you feel uncomfortable with a Vietnamese restaurant where the staff's first language may not be English, this restaurant is for you. If you love having a cocktail before dinner or enjoy the upscale bar scene, you will like this place. If you are looking for superlative Vietnamese food, look elsewhere. This is very good Vietnamese food but by no means is it the best that Chicago has to offer.

    • Value
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1  Thank Ted K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2018 via mobile

One of the worst restaurant dining experiences I've ever had in Chicago or world wide. Ever! From the moment we walked in we felt unwelcome and unwanted. We were a party of 4 that lives in the West Loop (somewhat local). The 1st impression people get from a restaurant is the welcome from the front desk. Nico at the front desk was snippy, surly, and down right rude. He completely started the night off on a sour note. He should not be working in any industry that he has to interact with other actual humans. Horrific people skills! What followed was the most below average Vietnamese meal I could've imagined. The couple we were dining with had just got back from Vietnam. My girlfriend and I have eaten in the "Little Vietnam" area of Chicago several times. This was completely below enjoyable in comparison. We ordered 9 different menu items. Not one was memorable. Except the ones that were inedible. Those I will remember in my nightmares. Short rib- chewy and tasteless. Pork chop- gummy and awful tasting. I'd like to describe the rest, but I feel sick just thinking about them. I have to mention our server was very good. That poor guy needs to seek employment at a non-sinking ship immediately. The only redeeming highlight was the dessert. Our server personally tweaked the desert order to accommodate our tastes. The poor guy was forced to because they were out of the dessert we ordered. Thanks again Hai-Sucks! Finally the last insulting blow was on the way out. We stopped at the bar (which was open and still serving) to order some drinks. We were told in a very dismissive and insulting tone that we could maybe get a glass of wine or a beer but "that was it". Really?!? There are still full tables and people inside. It was not late or near closing time. Guess what? We walked 5 minutes down the street and spent money elsewhere. Read my other reviews so you know I'm a reliable source. I STRONGLY ADVISE: DO NOT GO HERE. I can't believe this place is being considered for a James Beard. Add the anticipation of dining at a place that was considered for that award and you get even more compounded disappointment. I'm sorry we will never return. The 4 of us will tell all of our (local) friends not to go here, then they tell their friends, and so on. I implore YOU not to go!

2  Thank MarcBaschetti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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