by Cheryl Baehr
Gut Check is counting down the 100 dishes in St. Louis that you must eat right now.
My relatively limited exposure to Thai cuisine typically leads me to a plate of pad thai and some spicy papaya salad. However, my predecessor, Ian Froeb (now food critic at the Post-Dispatch), said that I had to try the khao soi at Fork & Stix (549 Rosedale Avenue; 314-863-5572), the Northern Thai restaurant located on a small side street just east of the Loop. Froeb also included this dish in his Gut Check 100 -- as I would soon find out, for good reason.
When I walked into the tiny, sparsely appointed restaurant, I wondered how such an unassuming spot would deliver on its highly hyped food. One bite of the khao soi convinced me that a place doesn't need bells and whistles to deliver world-class cuisine. The khao soi, a noodle soup, is a specialty of northern Thailand. Its vibrant, marigold colored coconut broth is at once delicate and rich with warm curry flavor, filled with silky noodles, grilled chicken, cilantro and chili paste. For texture, the khao soi is topped with crispy fried egg noodles, the Thai equivalent of putting oyster crackers in soup. It's pure comfort in a bowl, as soulfully satisfying as grandma's chicken soup -- if grandma were from Cheng Mai.
Previously: #93: The "Smokehouse Club" Sandwich at Bud's Smokehouse #94: Cafe Natasha's Yogurt Dip #95: Macarons at La Patisserie Chouquette #96: The Libertine's Fried Chicken #97: Pork Belly at Element #98: M'Lwee at Baida #99: Breadbasket at Juniper #100: Bucatini All'Amatriciana at Pastaria