The popularity of Thai cuisine has resulted in more and more such ethnic eateries springing up around Northeast Ohio. What sets Thai Spice in Westlake apart from the rest is that, not only is the Thai food authentic, but the menu reflects the Vietnamese heritage of the restaurant’s owners.
Lam Tran became skilled in preparing Thai dishes after years spent working in the kitchen of Lemon Grass restaurant in Cleveland Heights. When the owner of Lemon Grass retired, Tran and wife Lynn decided to open their own dining establishment. They chose a vacant Chinese restaurant site and opened Thai Spice in February 2009.
All of the dishes and sauces at Thai Spice are prepared to order, from scratch. One, two or three chilies on the menu depict whether the dish is mild, medium or hot. More adventurous diners can order their meal prepared “Thai hot,” with extra fresh chilies.
Appetizers include Siam spring rolls filled with chicken and vegetables and served with sweet chili sauce ($5.95), coconut shrimp ($6.95), slow-roasted baby spareribs with spicy barbecue sauce ($6.95) and fried wontons stuffed with cream cheese and crab meat ($4.95). Lemon grass soup, a Thai hot and sour shrimp soup with fresh mushrooms, is spiced with chilies, lemon grass and lime juice ($3.50). Also on the menu are a mild chicken coconut soup ($3.25) and glass noodle soup with bean threads, shrimp, snow peas and leeks in a clear broth ($3.50).
Sliced, grilled beef is served in a salad of fresh lemon grass, cucumbers and seasonal garden vegetables, with a side of spicy dressing ($9.75). Grilled shrimp is tossed in chili paste and served with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and lemon grass mixed in lime juice ($13.75). The chicken cabbage salad is shredded cabbage tossed with chicken breast, Thai peppers, basil and lime ($10.95).
Vegetarian entrees include vegetable pad thai ($8.95), tofu green noodle curry ($11.50) and Thai string beans with tofu ($11.75). The menu also offers a number of gluten-free options.
Roasted duck is a house specialty. Opt for it served in hot choo chee curry sauce prepared with coconut milk, with minced hot peppers and Thai basil, in house-made garlic sauce or with chunks of pineapple, tomatoes and red peppers in Thai chili sauce ($16.95).
Pho (pronounced “fuh”), is a Vietnamese noodle soup made with slow-cooked broth and served with fresh basil, bean sprouts and green onions. Add your choice of steak ($8.25) or chicken ($7.95). Desserts include homemade coconut ice cream ($3.95), mango served with sticky rice ($5.95) and banana bun with sticky rice and coconut milk ($2.95).
Thai Spice offers a variety of bubble teas. These drinks are made with tapioca “bubbles” slurped through a large straw. Fresh slushies made with exotic passion fruit, lychees, taro root, red beans and even durian are also featured. Wine and beer are available.
Thai Spice, 25099 Center Ridge Road, is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Dinner hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Major credit cards are accepted. Phone 440-835-9228.