I’m a big Thai fan and always on the hunt for cheap and delicious Thai food. One of my personal favorites in the city is Spice. Yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes and I’ve heard the complaints before: small portions, crappy food, etc., etc. But I’m sorry, I have to disagree. I think it’s consistently good, I like the menu options, I like the portion size and most importantly, I like the prices.
Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of different dishes here and have enjoyed them all. Here’s a quick run-down:
- Crispy calamari appetizer – oh I love this one, if only for the honey-chili sauce. It’s pretty spicy (for me at least) and the serving size is just right for an appetizer. I wouldn’t miss it.
- Lemongrass Tom Yom soup – for $3 how can you go wrong? It’s spicy, it’s sour and it’s delicious. One of the best I’ve had yet.
- Chicken pad thai – the portion at first looks small, but really it’s quite a lot. This one dish can vary a bit from tasty to extremely tasty – it really depends on the amount of sauce they use. It’s a staple in general for me and a staple when I’m at Spice.
- Drunk man noodle – it was good, but quite honestly, it’s just not my favorite dish in general. However, for those who do like it, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.
- Green curry with beef – excellent, but I’m bias, I love curry
- Massaman curry with chicken – see above
- Panang Curry – see above
I must add that one of the keys to enjoying your dining experience at Spice is, in fact, the spices. Be sure to ask for the spices on the side and you’ll get three or four little dishes of spicy heaven. Add them to everything for an extra kick in flavor and heat.
Now I do have a few complaints. 1) the atmosphere – it’s too cramped for my style and far too loud. Do not, I repeat do NOT come here if you’re looking for some solid conversation (at least don’t go to the Union Square one hoping to easily talk with your party) 2) the portion size of the rice. The side of rice they give you may be a half a cup, and that’s just not enough to soak up your curry sauce. And then they charge you $1 for an extra side (1/2 cup) of rice.
But again, you can enjoy an appetizer and entrÃ©e for under $20, and that’s always a crowd pleaser. If you haven’t tried out this Thai staple, I suggest you do so immediately. And don’t forget the great lunch specials!The Basics Name: Spice Location: Multiple locations (East Village, Astor Place, UES, UWS, Chelsea, etc.) Who to Bring: Friends, a Date (if you don’t want to talk to them), Family (same reasoning applies) Price: Entrees are typically between $10-12. $$ Overall: Â Great flavor, great value. 5 Stars.