Opened in 1996, Thai Spice holds its own with the several good Thai restaurants in and around the Village. Located on the second floor of an attractive refurbishment of a former bank at the edge of the Rice Village. This area is a fun, small eating and drinking nexus with benjy’s, Antone’s and the truly Scottish pub, Kelvin Arms sharing the handsome building. Thai Spice is more than just a pleasant setting in which to enjoy some satisfying food, as it also offers value-priced lunch buffets, dinner specials, convenient takeout service, large portions, all with friendly and proficient service.
The menu is divided among Appetizers, Soups, entree-sized Salads, Fish and Seafood, Curry with Coconut Milk, Rice and Noodle Specialties, and Entrees or house specials. Each of the dishes is coupled with a description and peppers to indicate the relative level of spiciness. One is spicy. Two is hot. Three is “Madly Hot”, which can be suitably spicy.
The appetizers include a variety of rolls, soft and deep-fried and filled with crab meat, shrimp, vegetables or chicken. There is also chicken satay, fried calamari, crab cakes, rice dumplings and Mee Krob featuring crispy rice noodles. The curry dishes, all made with coconut milk, are very good. The flavorful curry sauces are populated with reliably fresh, crisp vegetables and quality, tender pieces of meat. There are yellow, green and red curries, with one to three chilis, respectively, plus Panaeng curry sauce and Massamun with peanuts. These are presented in a metal bowl accompanied by steamed rice. With the exception of the Yellow Curry, each of the curries is available with either chicken or beef. With these, and with most of the entrees at Thai Spice, the chicken version is better than the beef version.
Unlike some other Thai restaurants, the seafood dishes feature only fillets, in typical customer-friendly fashion, not whole fish. Among these is Crispy Snapper (a red snapper fillet with herbs and a chili sauce) and the Sauteed Spicy Seafood (shrimp, squid and scallops that are stir-fried with onions, chiles, green beans and basil). The Pineapple Fried Rice is made with shrimp and shredded pork with pineapple, onions and raisins in the fried rice. Among the house special entrées are the Bangkok Treat (sweet and sour chicken or pork with pineapple, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers), Drunken Chicken (with onion, bell pepper, chili sauce and wine), and Crusted Ginger Sesame Beef Tenderloin with grilled onions and Mushrooms. There is not much in the way of vegetarian dishes on this Texas carnivore-friendly menu.
For beverages, they serve the popular non-alcoholic Thai fruit drinks and iced coffee plus beers and wine. Unfortunately, too many of the wines offered are oakey chardonnays or tannic reds that do not complement the spicy food.
Thai Spice Clear Lake
300 W. Bay Area Blvd., Ste. 900
Thai Spice Pearland
9811 Broadway Blvd., Ste. 101
Thai Spice Cafe
777 Walker St. at Two Shell Plaza Downtown
Thai Spice Asian Gourmet
1420 S. Mason Rd. #170
Katy, TX 77450
Thai Spice Asian Cuisine in the Heights
460 W. 19th St.
Thai Spice Restaurant in the Rice Village
Thai Spice Express @ Mary Bates
8282 Bellaire Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77036
Thai Spice Buffet II
2520 South Voss @ Westheimer
Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.
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