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HaiSous, Thai Dang's Vietnamese Restaurant, Finds a Home in Pilsen

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Ex-Embeya chef's highly anticipated restaurant is heading to 18th Street

HaiSous rendering
HaiSous rendering
Courtesy of HaiSous

Details are slowly coming to the surface about the highly anticipated restaurant from Thai and Danielle Dang. HaiSous will occupy 1800 S. Carpenter St. (the corner of Carpenter and 18th Streets) in Pilsen, a former dive bar visited by Richard Gere in "Primal Fear." The husband-and-wife team were more recently at Embeya, before setting out on their own for the 115-seat, Vietnamese concept opening early fall.

Inspired by Thai's roots and recent visits to Vietnam, Dang says the menu will offer authentic Vietnamese dishes and cooking techniques, including an open-flame clay pot grilling method seldom seen in Chicago. Wood and charcoal grills will add flavor to house specialties such as Món Ăn Đặc Sản (Vietnamese BBQ with grilled prawns and charred pork cheeks). Smaller plates, or Món Ăn Chơi, range from grilled clams and corn with scallion confit to Thai's signature green papaya salad. Larger options feature whole fish of the day with fresh herbs or shrimp, spicy crab, and crawfish boils in ginger-lemongrass broth.

Danielle not only oversees the restaurant's beverage program — which will offer signature cocktails. cider, beer, and an extensive sparkling wine selection — but also the architecture via her recently launched design firm Den of Lions. "It was important for me to frame the action in the kitchen and give the guests the full experience with a direct viewport," she said, in an official release, about the eight-seat chef's counter in front of the open kitchen. The restaurant will also feature a textured wood wall, a bamboo ceiling and fixtures imported from Vietnam.