Restaurant Review by Richard Gorelick (The Baltimore Sun)
Thai Yum tightens its focus
The restaurant formerly known as Ten-O-Six changes its name to reflect new cuisine

Owner/chef Tom Chungsakoon, right, is pictured with (clockwise from left) Baked Thai Tea Ice Cream, Coconut Shrimp, Coconut Scallop and Crispy Whole Rockfish. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / August 16, 2010)

The chef and the owners remain the same, but the Federal Hill Thai-American restaurant known as Ten-O-Six is now known as Thai Yum and, as its name suggests, will be exclusively Thai.

A big hit after its 1999 opening, in its heyday Ten-O-Six was especially admired for chef Tom Chungsaksoon's artful and ambitious fusion dishes, which might feature medallions of ostrich, sweetbreads or even wild boar. Then, for no particular reason, Ten-O-Six seemed to recede from the spotlight and never fully work its way back in.

In the e-mailed message announcing the change, Chungsakoon wrote, "Due to the increasing popularity of Thai cuisine, we refined our cooking to only center around Thai cooking." That sounds like a good idea to me, especially since Chungsakoon's Thai-only menu still promises moments of intrigue and drama: frog legs sautéed with garlic and chili paste, or scallops and Thai eggplant baked in a coconut shell.

Chungsakoon told me that the changeover, which became official July 4, will now allow the kitchen to lavish more attention on its traditional Thai sauces. He acknowledged as well that Thai cuisine will be more affordable for his customers, something he expects they're looking for in an unpredictable economy. He also mentioned another thing that wouldn't have occurred to me, but which might explain some of the problems the restaurant formerly had attracting new customers: There was the perception that the Thai food at Ten-O-Six wasn't really Thai food, but some kind of fusion. It always was real and recognizably Thai, though. The name change will certainly help clear that up.

Thai Yum (1006 Light St.; 410-528-2146; is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

By The Baltimore Sun / August 16, 2010