Our latest Quick Bites brings us to Prospect Heights for the best Pork Blood Noodle Soup in town.

THE VIBE
Did you ever try the Pork Blood Noodle Soup at Plant Love House in Elmhurst? I did not and, since that restaurant recently closed to much local heartbreak, it seems I missed out on what by all accounts was an excellent eating experience.

But wait! Last December the marvelous and friendly Plant Love House family opened LOOK—full name "LOOK by Plant Love House"—-in Prospect Heights, which most definitely IS still open, features a "Thai Home Cooking" menu almost identical to the Elmhurst original, and is all around one the enjoyable places I've eaten this year.

The layout here is one of those barbell-shaped deals, with a bar and a few tables up front, a narrow hallway past the kitchen, and a cozy dining room in back with seating for about 20. There is also an outdoor area, but it wasn't yet open as of last week.

The decor is utilitarian with splashes of color, the art cornily old-fashioned Thailand boosterism, the smiling, bustling staff eager to share their excitement over favorite dishes and willing to patiently answer any inane questions non-Thai-food-pros such as myself might have.

THE BITES
Over the course of three visits last week I gleefully got through a sizeable chunk of LOOK's menu. "Look" apparently means "children" in Thai, but my server explained that the name serves more to emphasize the homey aspect of the menu rather than any dimming-down of the flavors.

And she was right. That Pork Blood Noodle Soup, or Guay Tiao Num Tak, for example, is thrilling in its intensity. It's tangy and sweet, it's spicy as hell, filled with all kinds of pig bits and chewy noodles, and is reason enough to travel to Prospect Heights from wherever you are sitting right now.

Other dishes I will definitely order again: the delightfully sour and full-on gamy Homemade I-san Pork Sausage; the Khao Kha Moo (Braised Pork Knuckle) plate, with its pile of fatty pig parts cooked in a "Chinese five spice broth" and served with egg, a mound of rice, an attention-getting chili sauce, and tangles of both bitter and pickled greens; and the Bamee Poo Moo Dang, which combines caramelized pork with minced crab on top of crunchy bok choy and soft egg noodles.

But really, everything's good here. A pair of platters—the Nam Prik Ong, which features crackling pork rinds, a ball of first-rate sticky rice, and a bowl of excellent ground pork and tomato dip; and the Khao Pad Man Prik Pla Too, with its whole fried mackerel, lively shrimp-paste rice, and a stinky but delicious cha-om omelet—require some build-a-bite effort, but offer ample rewards if you take the time to do it right.

If you're in the mood for chicken, the Zabb Wings deliver the fiery, crispy goods. And though the Gang Gai Khai-Kem suffered from mushy noodles, everything else about this green curry chicken soup was working well together, including a salted duck egg that is, in fact, shockingly salty.

And when you're offered the dessert menu, say "yes please." The Plant Love Toast certainly has its appeal—served warm, the slab of soft bread oozes melted butter from secret interior chambers, the whole thing topped with vanilla ice cream and honey and guarded by a row of banana slices. But no question the thing to get here is the Sizzling Brownie, a moist and fudgy treat with vanilla ice cream, marshmallows, and ribbons of caramel upon which your server pours cream and chocolate sauce at the table. Hence the sizzle. Yes, it's insanely sweet, but it's also balanced enough so that you can taste the individual parts.

THE VERDICT
LOOK by Plant Love House offers everything you'd hope for in a neighborhood spot (welcoming atmosphere, reasonable prices, enough variety to keep things interesting even after multiple visits), but the food can also be so unique and exciting that it qualifies as a destination restaurant as well. Go soon though. I was seated immediately for every meal, but I can't imagine that's going to last too much longer.

LOOK by Plant Love House is located at 622 Washington Avenue between Pacific and Dean Streets, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 10:00 p.m. CASH ONLY and NO BEER right now, though the latter should change soon. (plantlovehouse.wix.com)