701 Capitol of TX Hwy. S.
Austin, TX 78746
1310 RR 620 S., Ste. #7A
Austin, TX 78734
Vicky and Tut Vicha have produced one of the longest-running Thai success stories in Austin: Thai Spice! They have stores in Lakeway and in neighboring Westlake and the cuisine virtually never disappoints. Thai food is difficult for many Americans to fathom: some of the names are virtually unpronounceable. That’s why many restaurants have taken to putting photos of the dishes up on the wall. Can’t pronounce it, just point!
But as Richard Farnsworth’s Red said to Robert Redford’s Roy Hobbs in The Natural (regarding their restaurant meal), “I can’t pronounce any of this but it eats pretty good!” They might have been having Thai.
I think most everything at Thai Spice eats pretty good as well. The Thai Spice Egg Roll sizzles with crystal noodles, carrots pork and shrimp wrapped in a thin but delicious coating. And the classic Thai Cheese Roll is well represented at Thai Spice as well. The key is how they fry the cream cheese and the mixture of mushrooms and onions. This is by far one of the better Cheese Rolls in the city. And I’ve always been fond of the Royal Dumplings. The shells are made of steamed rice-an unusual variation on the theme–and filled with a pleasing blend of pork and mushrooms. This is a very cool dish.
If you like curries, then Thai Spice is worth a visit. Two curries really stand out for me: the Red Curry which is made from red curry paste, fish sauce, and coconut milk. While many red curries use kaffir leaves, Thai Spice’s uses bell peppers, bamboo shoots, basil, and eggplant. The result is a spicy but not nuclear taste treat. The Green Curry is also very good and it’s a labor of love. You make the green paste by pounding green chiles in a mortar along garlic, shallots, tumeric, shrimp paste and well, I hope you get the point. This dish rocks!
The stir-fried or Pad dishes at Thai Spice are remarkably tasty. I really love the Pad Kee Mao which is also often called Drunken Noodles because the dish often uses a dash of brandy. Broad rice noodles make up the base and add some peppers and tomatoes along with soy sauce and garlic and you have a show stopper. Also very tasty is the Pad Thai which mixes peanuts, rice noodles, eggs and bean sprouts. Add a little tofu and you have a seriously good entrée. And DO try the eminently tasty Charcoal Pork. The pork has a wonderfully seared flavor with just a bit of smoke. The texture is usually spot on and the sweet/sour sauce provides a delightful balance. You also have to partake of the Grilled Sea Bass. The flesh of the fish is flaky, tender, and achingly good. The basil sauce is the perfect complement. The dish is a bit hot, but in my opinion, that enhances the flavor.
Thai Spice in Westlake is at 701 N. Capitol of Texas Highway in the shopping center at the intersection of Bee Caves Road. They are open for lunch or dinner. And even if you can’t pronounce it, this is food you must try. Do not be deterred by a little grammatical tongue twisting.