... and everything nice
BY SARA HOUGHTELING
In Victorian novels, blushing is a sign of overflowing maidenly passion. Lips tremble, cheeks flush, and eyelashes flutter. The Thai food at Spice, in Harvard Square, is made with skin-tingling seasonings that inspire similar fits of epicurean ecstasy. The subtle tickle of lemongrass on your taste buds, the roar of chili, and the twang of hot-and-sour sauce will make a blushing maiden of every last one of you. And if Spice’s delightfully spicy food doesn’t bring a blush to your cheek, then the attentions of the charming waiter Suwatana will. (Ask him about his favorite Finnish-Thai rock star.)
Spice offers some delectable alternative hors d’oeuvres in addition to the traditional triumvirate of beef satay ($5.95), spring rolls ($5.50), and Thai chicken wings ($5.50). The succulent " Dancing Shrimp " ($6.95) are served leaping out of an orange wedge, with accompanying pools of peanut and cucumber sauce. A tasty soy-and-sesame-flavored seaweed salad ($5.50) is dainty enough for even the most health-conscious of mermaids, and the shumai dumplings ($5.50) are a tender, decadent shrimp-filled delight.
Spice rewards pad Thai devotees with several inspiring varieties of this traditional noodle dish (chicken and shrimp, vegetable, or tofu all for $7.95; shrimp pad Thai for $8.95). Yet the restaurant’s venturesome offerings are equally ambrosial. The mango curry ($11.95) pairs juicy chicken with chunks of mango, summer squash, and bell peppers. Herbivores will relish the piquant vegetarian hot-basil dish served in a soup-like, three-alarm chili sauce. Though the dessert menu is limited, generous portions of ginger or green-tea ice cream provide a refreshing and unusual treat.
Shell-shaped lamps, enormous mirrors, and lovely airy windows relieve Spice’s relatively cozy floor plan; burgundy straw place mats and vases of pert pink carnations add a nice touch. The only drawback: no liquor license. Perhaps you’ll stay pure maidens after all.
Spice, located at 24 Holyoke Street, in Cambridge, is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Dinner hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday from 5 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 4 to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m. Call (617) 868-9560.Issue Date: June 14-21, 2001