Pad Thai Scampi?

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 10:45pm  |  COMMENTS (32)

Spice_cuisine_sign You love pad thai, your in-laws prefer Italian and your kids will only eat chicken fingers. What’s a diner to do?

Simple, check out Spice Cuisine, a new Thai restaurant across from the A&P in Bloomfield, which specializes in authentic Thai, but devotes half of its menu to traditional Italian items and has a $3.95 children’s menu with the regular kiddie fare.

For owner Ruenboon Sarabhayavanija, who was born in Bankok, running a Thai restaurant is in the blood. Her sister Randy Ochajaroen owned Tuptim in Montclair for 10 years and her son Luck owns O Thai, a trendy Thai restaurant in Vancouver.

But Ruenboon, who also goes by the American name Sheri, added the Italian half of the menu because most of her family is tired of Thai food and only wants Italian. Chef Luis Gonzalez, who was a sous chef at Church Street Cafe in Montclair, can turn out either cuisine.

Salmon_in_panang_curry Don’t expect the lavish interiors of your Montclair Thai restaurants, and until they get a double door for the front, you may find yourself a little chilly in very cold weather. But you’ll love the prices. Pad thai and all the other noodle dishes are only $6.50, and most of the Thai entries are just $7.50. The pad thai was very good, but we were especially delighted by the salmon in panang curry sauce.  In addition to traditional Thai iced coffee and tea, there’s a honey-sweetened lemongrass juice. And save room for the fried banana, thai custard and fried ice cream desserts, which are presented beautifully.

We didn’t try the Italian side of the menu, which includes fried tilapia, chicken francaise, chicken marsala and shrimp scampi, and our children are too old to choose hot dogs over pad thai. You’ll have to check that out yourselves.

Parking on the street, or across the street in the A&P parking lot.

Spice Cuisine, 26 Belleville Ave., Bloomfield NJ. Open 7 days from 11:30 am to 10 pm. 973.748.0056.

32 Comments

  1. POSTED BY TotalFusion  |  January 30, 2007 @ 11:13 am

    Owned by a Thai woman whose family prefers Italian cooked by a hispanic chef!
    BTW, when was he a sous chef at Church Street? Until recently, the food there sucked. The new chef is great, but the wait staff, with the exception of the guy with the slight accent, is mediocre.

  2. POSTED BY todd  |  January 30, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    When I drove by the restuarant a few weeks ago, I did a double take when I saw the Thai/Italian sign. I thought, only in Bloomfield would you need to carry Italian in order to get people through the door. But now that I’ve read your review it all makes sense. I’m looking forward to trying the cafe now!

  3. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  January 30, 2007 @ 12:28 pm

    We tried it a few weeks ago and all thought it was good. We did the Thai half of the menu and the Pad Thai was very tasty, the Satay Chicken was great (but missing the cucmber sauce) and the masmun was not as fantastic as served by Sri Thai or Tup Tim but still good.
    For the money you can’t beat it. We’ll surely order from there again.
    If we try the Italian side we’ll post.

  4. POSTED BY Liz  |  January 30, 2007 @ 12:41 pm

    Note to all Thai restaurants in Baristaville: If there was a Thai willing to deliver, I bet business would be through the roof.

  5. POSTED BY Todd  |  January 30, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

    Liz, FYI – PatThai in Bloomfield right on Bloomfield Ave. (just east of the parkway) will deliver for $3 (plus tip). It’s a hole-in-the-wall kind of place but very good thai that is inexpensive. If you are just ordering for yourself, $3 may not be worth it. But for two or more people it’s reasonable.

  6. POSTED BY Liz  |  January 30, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

    Thanks Todd — will they come to Montclair?

  7. POSTED BY Sarah  |  January 30, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

    Pat Thai does deliver to Montclair, but do allow plenty of time for delivery – I think I’m right in saying that most of their food is fresh and made to order. My husband is a big fan, and calls them while he’s waiting at the Port Authority for his bus in the evenings! And it usually arrives not long after he does. They have a website – patthai.net. Bon Appetit!

  8. POSTED BY kate  |  January 30, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

    Tuptim in Montclair also delivers; I think they have a $25 minimum.

  9. POSTED BY sandy patuma  |  February 02, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

    Last week I had a dinner at Spice cuisine with friends ,pad thai was so good also chili lime shrimp,tom kla koong, esp. fried ice cream .The food tasting was great,entrees are affordable,we had a wonderful time on that day .

  10. POSTED BY eddy  |  February 02, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

    Now my fevorite thai restaurant in bloomfield is Spice Cuisine, thai food there is so delicious .

  11. POSTED BY John  |  February 03, 2007 @ 10:16 pm

    It’s nice to see people mentioning Pat Thai Restaurant in Bloomfield. Their food is amazing! They just got a nice little write up in the February issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine. You can read it here: https://www.njmonthly.com/issues/2007/02-Feb/coverstory/index.htm

  12. POSTED BY KJD  |  February 04, 2007 @ 2:46 am

    It was one of those nights. The ones you cherish. I read about Spice, here, today and went with my family, seven of us including extended family, tonight. This is a small store front restaurant but the food is equal to the larger Tuptim and Thai Chef restaurants. (With much more affordable prices.) Where else can my wife and I get the Thai food we enjoy and still be able to make the kids happy with salad, mozzarella sticks and french fries. Try the lime infused coconut soup, the red curry and ask Cheri (the owner, manager and server) for the homemade fruit, red bean and black bean ice creams. Everything was delicious. This is a small restaurant that tries hard and gets almost everything right.

  13. POSTED BY Susan  |  February 04, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

    I have eaten a Spice several times, with dinner from the Thai side, and enjoyed it veyr much each time. The food is excellent “home-style” Thai and each dish was very well prepared. The curry sauces I have found superior to those at the more expensive local Thai places, and the rest of it excellent as well, especiallyh the Pad Thai.
    The desserts at Spice are especially good – the Thai custard is the best I have had anywhere! And the Taro custard is a unique dessert somewhere between creme brulee, flan and custard – a must have!
    The atmosphere is homey, the prices are quite affordable and the service is very friendly!!

  14. POSTED BY Gina  |  February 07, 2007 @ 9:42 am

    I have to admit when I first seen the sign “Thai, Italian, & American” I thought the food wasn’t going to be authentic. Boy was I wrong!!
    In the past 2 weeks, I ate there 3 times. Me and my husband are a big fan of thai food, so the menu prices allowed us to eat there so many times.
    Cheri, the owner, is very friendly and makes you feel at home (even the first time we ate there).
    The food was delicious and the portion sizes are good. The thai custard (homemade) is excellent!
    Just writing about this, makes me want to eat there tonight 🙂
    Both Pat Thai and and Spice Cuisine will continue to get our business!!

  15. POSTED BY Marisa  |  February 08, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

    Spice Cuisine is a welcomed addition to the Bloomfield restaurant scene. The Thai food is outstanding and Sheri could not be any sweeter. We try to go every couple of weeks. And for the price, you just can’t pass it up!

  16. POSTED BY boom  |  February 13, 2007 @ 1:30 am

    Spice Cuisine new restuarant at Boomfield , the food there is excellent ,friendly service also the best thai dessert I love thai custard there. I give 7 Stars *******.

  17. POSTED BY suzanne  |  February 17, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

    Wow, are we glad we found this restaurant, thanks Barista!
    We only ordered from the Thai side, and it was very good. We have been travelling out of baristaville for years now to get really authentic Thai (that’s well priced) and now we can stay local. Loved it, just wish they could kill the flourescent lighting and add a little more ambiance. We will be back.

  18. POSTED BY lida  |  February 19, 2007 @ 11:29 pm

    Love the Thai food! It was delicious! I especially like the veggie spring rolls and veggie lad na! Can’t wait to go back. Great service and prices too!

  19. POSTED BY Anne Prince  |  March 10, 2007 @ 9:01 am

    9 of us went there last night for a delightful dinner – we started off with 2 sample plates of appetizers and a fried calamari that were very good. Great dipping sauces!
    We asked Sheri what she would recommend for dinner – I had the crisy whole fried fish which was nice and tender, not greasy at all – there were a few pad thai’s ordered, some curries, a pretty decent variety – we all shared tastes of each other’s entrees and agreed that all were good.
    We finished with ordering 1 of each dessert which turned out be be just a taste or two of each item but that was enough to finish off the dinner nicely. I loved the fried bananas and the black and red bean ice cream (all homemade!) Also, the thai custard which was like a creme brulee was really nice as well.
    So….for 9 people it came to $24 each (tip included!) for an excellent meal. Sheri couldn’t have been nicer with her recommendations.
    BTW…we did see Mr. Barista leaving with a large take out bag – hope you enjoyed your dinner as well!

  20. POSTED BY Kathleen  |  March 16, 2007 @ 11:07 am

    I’ve been there a few times and each time I go, it gets even better. It has a nice homey atmosphere with a wonderful and friendly staff. The food there is delicious. From their chicken satay, to their curry puffs, and onto the main dishes such as their pad thai and penang chicken. You’ll be missing out if you don’t try this place out!

  21. POSTED BY branka  |  March 22, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

    We went to Spice Thai for dinner with our 2 1/2 year old son and two friends this past Saturday. Cute and kind of kitchy atmosphere. The food was fabulous; the the owner was welcoming and and made great suggestions. I had a soft shell crab special cooked in a green curry sauce which was so yummy! And the prices were oh sooooo reasonable.

  22. POSTED BY christine  |  March 26, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

    Went there this weekend with 4 adults, 4 kids. Duck with tamarind was great — kids like the chicken fingers and fries. It feels like eating Thai at someone’s house. We’ll be back.

  23. POSTED BY Carly  |  April 13, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

    I live 2 blocks away from Spice, and though it took a bit of time, I’m now hooked. The bonus is that I can walk there;)
    I’ve loved everything I’ve tried, and the enviroment can’t be beat. This is a local place that will give you free treats while you wait for a to-go order, an owner that will chat with you and who remembers your tastes. These small places that deliver great personal service are few and far between, and I truly enjoy the treat.

  24. POSTED BY S&K  |  April 14, 2007 @ 11:27 am

    We had a family dinner there last night. 2 strict vegetarians, 2 omnivorous adults, 4 kids. Ordered from every part of the menu – mozzarella sticks, calamari, chicken fingers, chicken quesadilla, veggie spring rolls, pork chops, five thai main dishes, 2 desserts. Everything was super tasty except the chicken quesadillas which were not. All enjoyed the meal very much. Total bill: $68. Wow!

  25. POSTED BY Markus  |  April 27, 2007 @ 1:42 am

    Flashbacks of Thailand. I just came back from backpacking in Thailand & the curries in this Little Thai Joint is AMAZING. Owner is very friendly & accommadating.
    I don’t like to go into a new place & ask about everything on the menu so I told her to bring my the house favorites. OH MY…. this has to be one of the best tasting Thai restaraunts in the area.
    My only complaint is I’m sure I’ll have to wait in line the next time I go because when I pass by on some Fridays I already see them packed. Hint: I heard they do delivery but never tried yet.

  26. POSTED BY susie  |  May 11, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

    food is excellent ,desserts is yummy,service’s very friendly we’re so happy to have dinner there ; SPICE CUISINE.

  27. POSTED BY Verne  |  May 16, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

    Pat Thai in Bloomfield is closed. According to the website, patthai.net, they lost their lease. They’re in Lake Hiawatha.

  28. POSTED BY Debbie  |  May 17, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

    Pat Thai may be closed, but Spice Cuisine most definitely is not. In fact, I hear, they just made NJ Zagat guide.

  29. POSTED BY Patricia  |  August 06, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

    I love this restaurant. We go there all the time, the lady who owns it is very hospitable and we always get excellent service. The Thai Tea and Pineapple fried rice is amazing. I’d definitely give it five stars 🙂

  30. POSTED BY Mil  |  August 08, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

    Sheri is amazing. Food is great, and prices are even better. I come here maybe twice a week, no lie… Just love the welcoming atmosphere and the red snapper in ginger sauce is to die for.

  31. POSTED BY Jake  |  August 17, 2007 @ 11:23 am

    Went last night for the first time, and my fiance and I were both impressed with Sheri’s hospitality, and the food was really tasty and cheap to boot.
    We shared Tom Kha soup and a Thai salad, and I had the Panang curry,-vegetarian, while she had the Basil Noodles with Shrimp. The Tom Kha in particular, was very good, spicy and sweet, and not overly creamy.
    Also, Sheri came over to our table in between having our soup and our entrees with a free appetizer, a nice Vegetarian Curry Puff. She said it was because they were sorry for taking so long to bring our entrees which wasn’t even the case, we didn’t feel they were taking a long time at all.
    All in all, a nice experience, we will head back there soon.

  32. POSTED BY Joanne  |  August 25, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

    I stopped by this afternoon for take-out-
    the owner was friendly and I enjoyed my lunch

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