Saturday, September 15, 2007

REVIEW: Spice Thai- ***1/2 / $

Nestled in a strip mall with such illustrious neighbors as an empty front, a Christian ministry, a bad pizza joint, and a nail salon lies some of Rhode Island's best Thai food. Spice Thai remains true to its heritage and its name with some serious spice on the menu.

Spice Thai is primarily a take-out place, which means that the dining area consists of three to four tables with meager table dress. If you're on your way through town and you want someplace to grab a bite, it's an adequate eating environment. The rest of the walk-in area is pretty basic, with a few paintings hung on the walls and some dividers cordoning off the back part of the restaurant.

The service is lighting-quick and very friendly. Much credit to them goes for offering delivery; something that has been a stand-by of Asian cuisine in other places but has yet to catch on in Rhode Island. Delivery is dependent on whether they actually have the person there to do so or not.

Spice Thai's menu is headlined, whether they like it or not, by the most well-known Thai dish in America, pad thai. Well, they've got nothing to worry about. It's some of the best I've had on the road. Well spiced, well cooked, well everythinged. I was impressed with first taste and have remained impressed with each of the many times I've eaten it since. It's not as complex as the pad thai I've gotten some places else, and it's not as rich as the recipe I like to make for myself, but it's better than nearby Seven Moons. Unlike their more famous competition, Spice Thai is not at all shy about pouring on the spicy flavors. If you want it hot, they will give it hot. I liked this very much.

The menu is quite large. Not as big as your average 4,000-item Chinese menu, but still containing a few dozen options. Every single one of their appetizers is very well done. Salads and soups are larger than their prices would indicate, and if you get one of them and an appetizer, forget an entree. You'll probably be full. Their noodle and rice dishes are quite excellent.

Some of their dishes are hot as hell, but a bit watery in their texture. The Volcano Chicken will knock you down, but the texture is not wholly satisfying. Entrees, like the noodle dishes, are all offered with meat, seafood, of vegetarian. I have yet to eat one I didn't enjoy. Their Sweet & Sour was especially tasty, since its texture and presentation is entirely different from the style popularized in Chinese cuisine. It was a breath of fresh air, as it were.

There are no surprises with the food. It's all basic, well-tread territory. Spice Thai does it all very well and is willing to maybe scare you a little with the spice. They will cater to a duller palate, but they'll make it hot if you want. The fact that they deliver is also utterly fantastic. I'm not sure if that will be enough to guarantee success in the face of Seven Moons and Pagoda Inn, but I certainly hope so.

UPDATE 11/20/2009: It's getting a bit confusing, but Spice Thai has changed ownership again. It passed from the original owner/founder to a local affiliated with another thai restaurant. Apparently, the founder was associated with another place in Connecticut and didn't want the trouble of two businesses.

It has since passed back to the original family, with a sister running Spice Thai. The recipes are all different, but the pad thai tasted much closer to the original than the last recipe. If you disliked what happened after the first owners left, you would be well-served to give it another shot.

UPDATE 5/13/2010: It's been this way for awhile, but I just got around to updating the page; Spice Thai is gone. Kaput. Never to return. So very, very sad. Some of the best all-around basic Thai that I've ever eaten is now gone. Well, I wish the owners the best of luck with their other operation in Connecticut. I think it's Thai One, in Branford. Not Thai One On.

Spice Thai: ***1/2
Price range for two: $15-$30

Spice Thai
7661 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI. 02852
401-294-9888 (Delivery available over $15)

Monday through Saturday 11:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm to 10:00pm


Anonymous said...

September of 2009

New Owners have transformed this gem of a place into a total loss. This used to be my favorite Thai place in the state and I drove miles for it.

Tonight we had the worst experience from start to finish. Shawn, the cashier who later identified himself as the owner was so condescending when I asked if the rice he was offering came with the three items I was ordering.
His response..
" Uh... noooo... hence the reason for my question...."
Rude service and beyond sub quality food. The food bore no resemblance to the descriptions in the menu, not a hint of lemongrass or basil. The beef dish served on iceberg lettuce. Meager portions to boot. We ended up getting a pizza.

The cashier/owner/Shawn hung up on my husband when he called to let him know of our dissatisfaction.

It's really a shame, this used to be a great place. I always felt a sense of peace and respect in this little shop. It was always nice to see the different generations of the Thai family that owned it.

I will never go back to this restaurant and I feel like I was robbed of my hard earned money tonight.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It definitely went down hill when the owners changed. It is now much more expensive and the quality has definitely gone down hill. The cashier was very rude to me one night - even my oblivious 14 year old commented on it. I will never go back. I will drive the extra few miles to East Greenwich.