Thai and Danielle Dang’s comeback is almost complete as HaiSous, one of the year’s biggest restaurant openings, finally debuts tonight in Pilsen. Chicagoans may be familiar with the husband and wife team from Embeya in the West Loop, where Thai was chef and Danielle was beverage director. Over at HaiSous, the couple took a very hands-on approach in building and designing their first restaurant. They’ll serve a special coursed-out dinner this week before unveiling the regular menu on June 27.
The couple has plenty of motivation to make HaiSous thrive. A nasty departure from Embeya and the various lawsuits filed against their previous employer partly fuel their fire. Away from the courts, HaiSous is huge victory for the Dangs.
“We think of others before we think of ourselves,” Thai Dang said. “So when we built this restaurant, we built it for the people who worked with us—the locals.”
The space once housed a dive bar, one of the locations in Richard Gere’s 1996 movie Primal Fear. Fabric sconces, recessed lighting, and a few accents from Thai Dang’s homeland have transformed the space.
The open kitchen is the heart of the restaurant and where most eyes will focus. The kitchen’s surrounding walls are black to highlight the open flames. Guests can sit at the chef’s table if they want to be closer to the heat. The kitchen will also supply the banh mi and other items for Cà Phê Dá, the Dangs’ neighboring cafe that should open in a month. The cafe/bar aims to stay open until 2 a.m. daily.
The Dangs want HaiSous to be a departure from the large restaurant groups that dominate Randolph Restaurant Row. Check out the photos below and sample their DIY attitude starting tonight.
HaiSous, 1800 S. Carpenter St., hours not posted yet. Weekend brunch to be added.