A Favorite Thai Place Adds Location to Its Menu

Thursday, Nov 20, 2008 11:22am  |  COMMENTS (24)

I first heard about Spice Cuisine from Baristaville’s sign king J.C. Aviles in early 2007. At that time, the little Thai restaurant in an out-of-the-way Bloomfield location was positioning itself as a place where you could get Thai food and Italian. Since then, the Italian side of the menu has been abandoned, but Spice has become, both for my real and my Baristanet families, one of our favorite places to go out to eat in Baristaville. It’s my Cheers, and also the place where we said goodbye to Katie before her grand trip out West.
Let’s stipulate that the food, and the prices are excellent. It wouldn’t be a favorite place otherwise. But the main attraction is the restaurant’s owner Sheree (aka Ruenboon Sarabhayavanija). Lesson to any entrepreneur, food or otherwise: the secret ingredient in any new enterprise is connecting with your customers. She does it so well that my family has long called Spice “Sheree’s place,” as in “Do you want to go to Sheree’s place tonight?”
Well, good news: Sheree has a new place, and it’s not in a dark corner of Bloomfield. She’s moved, metaphorically speaking, from Baltic Avenue to Boardwalk.


spice%20II%20from%20window.jpg

This is the scene that people who went to the Tony Bennett concert at the Wellmont saw last night when they got out of the concert at 9:30. A warm little restaurant done in reds and ochres: fancier that Sheree’s old place, but still down to earth. Spice II is located at 399 Bloomfield Ave., in the spot formerly occupied by Pinatas, and before that, Deja Vu. Last night she filled it with friends, family and business acquaintances. J.C. Aviles, who is making Spice II’s new sign, was there. So was her new landlord.
Prices are a little bit higher than at the original Spice, but they are still a steal by Montclair standards. Most standard Thai dishes (we were served a delicate Ginger Chicken and a robust Massaman Curry) are $10 with chicken, $12 with shrimp. Soft-shell crab (prepared with either green curry, basil sauce or garlic) is the most expensive thing on the menu at $18. Pad Thai and other noodle dishes are $9 with chicken, beef or pork, $10 with shrimp. You also don’t want to miss Sheree’s appetizers, especially the curry puffs, and desserts. And the Thai custard is comfort food that will get you through any recession. I’ve already requested it, instead of cake, for my birthday this year. Click here for a coupon to get a free appetizer or dessert.
Of course, the best addition to the menu IMHO is the Barista Soup. This is a somewhat spicy broth-based vegetable and seafood soup, which is as delicious as it is healthy. It’s $7.50 and good for a full meal, at least for somebody watching their calories. Of course, you’ll blow the diet if you decide to redeem your coupon and add some curry puffs. That’s up to you.

Spice II is at 399 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair. 973.509.2110/2117. Open seven days a week.

24 Comments

  1. POSTED BY Spot The Looney  |  November 20, 2008 @ 11:53 am

    Best of luck, Sheree. We Bloomfielders still love you.

  2. POSTED BY complainerpuss  |  November 20, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    “This is the scene that people who went to the Tony Bennett concert at the Wellmont saw last night when they got out of the concert at 9:30.”
    The concert ended at 9:30? If I remember right, tickets for that show were $125, plus an additional 20 bucks in convenience fees and service fees. Sounds to me like a pretty hefty price tag for 90 minutes of entertainment. But hey, at least the show ended early enough for people to grab a bite to eat. I’m glad we now have a reasonably priced dining spot so close to the theater. Would make sense for them to offer special pre or post-theater specials.

  3. POSTED BY robin  |  November 20, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

    Joey Thai devotee here.

  4. POSTED BY marlweiss  |  November 20, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

    Spice Cuisine and Sheree are both wonderful. Besides the warm atmosphere, delicious food and very reasonable prices, they bring piping hot food to our house quickly (and often). And I will continue going to the “Baltic Avenue” location.

  5. POSTED BY Anne Prince  |  November 20, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

    Man, I am so sorry that I missed last nights opening. Sheree, we’ll be by to see you really soon. All the best in your new location.

  6. POSTED BY katie  |  November 20, 2008 @ 2:20 pm

    How much more money must I spend at Spice before I can order some Pad Katie?

  7. POSTED BY kissmygrass  |  November 20, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

    “Well, good news: Sheree has a new place, and it’s not in a dark corner of Bloomfield. She’s moved, metaphorically speaking, from Baltic Avenue to Boardwalk”
    Am I the only bloomfielder that takes offense at the writer’s comment. C’mon, Bloomfield is not THAT bad and Belleville Ave is not exactly a “dark corner” (especially with an A&P direcly across the avenue):[

  8. POSTED BY Keith W.  |  November 20, 2008 @ 6:12 pm

    I’m with you, kissmygrass… though amused rather than offended; I guess to a Montclairite, Belleville Ave. might be pretty dark and scary. 🙂

  9. POSTED BY gail  |  November 20, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

    Sheree – Congratulations & can’t wait to visit you and have some green curry!

  10. POSTED BY KatebirdRex  |  November 21, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

    We’ll probably continue going to the Belleville locale because it’s so homey and close by… but I’m glad to see Sheree’s success is allowing her to expand–she is lovely, the food is delicious, and we wish her the best!

  11. POSTED BY AnnieR731  |  December 01, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    Exciting to hear about the new location, but I am with the other readers. Frankly Montclair has it’s share of ‘dark corners’ itself. Look around before throwing punches.

  12. POSTED BY allmodcons  |  December 08, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

    I guess I need to check up on baristanet more often. I totally missed this. We actually went to the original Spice two weeks ago and were surprised to not see Sheree, wait longer for our food (despite it being pretty dead in there and few deliveries going out), pay more for our food, get less food, and not enjoy our food as much as when Sheree was overseeing things. We figured she took Tuesdays off or something until we mentioned it to the friends that introduced Spice to us and they informed us of Spice II. We’ll definitely be swinging by Spice II this week, and from what we hear it is even better than Spice ever was!

  13. POSTED BY marlweiss  |  December 10, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

    My husband called the original Spice on Monday for delivery and was told they weren’t delivering that night. That was a first for us and such a disappointment. I hope for Sheree that means business is very good. I dreamed of Thai Basil Noodles that night. Yum.

  14. POSTED BY AIX225  |  December 12, 2008 @ 9:09 am

    Allmodcons and I finally went to Spice II last night, and guess what? We felt as if we were “home” again. Sheree has done an amazing job sprucing up the place, and the food was just as good (maybe even better than) when her focus was on Spice Cuisine. It looks like we’ve made the transition, and all it took was one fork-full of the flavorful and aromatic Pad Thai.

  15. POSTED BY marlweiss  |  December 12, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

    This time, we called Spice II and got our yummy food delivered by Sheree herself!

  16. POSTED BY jimmytown  |  December 12, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

    My girlfriend and I went to Spice II for the first time last night. Service was great. Sheree is a wonderful host, and the food was perfect.

  17. POSTED BY Mirolator  |  December 27, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

    Congratulations Sheree!
    Spice II is fantastic. Great location, perfect atmosphere, but the best part is the food.
    You must try the Tamarind Duck and the Mango Salad!
    We always leave here full and satisfied.
    Thanks Sheree.

  18. POSTED BY eblumrich  |  December 30, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

    I don’t mean to denegrate the other reviewers who have nothing but good things to say about this place, but in the interests of fairness and honesty, I felt the need to post my Spice II experience here.
    A few weeks ago, I decided to try one of the new thai places in town, and settled on Spice II- I phoned in, placed my order, and fifteen minutes later, I returned to my apartment with a beef red curry in tow.
    It was absolutely wretched.
    The meat was plainly spoiled, and had a gamy taste and a crumbly, powdery texture that usually comes from a piece of meat being freezer-burnt. The curry itself was tasteless and bland, despite my explicitly ordering it to be “hot.” The bamboo shoots were clearly from a can, and were mushy and unappealing.
    The worst part was the rice. After spooning a bit of the red curry over a pile of the rice, it was instantly transforned into a gooey mush.
    After eating two bites, I was nauseous and disgusted, and couldn’t continue. I tossed the rest of my 16-dollar meal in the garbage.
    This was the worst thai food I’ve ever had in my life- take the above glowing reviews with a HUGE grain of salt.
    Spice II- DINER BEWARE!

  19. POSTED BY LiLa  |  July 05, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

    My husband and I had lunch there and were disappointed. The food was bland. There was no depth of flavor. The chicken tasted old and freezer burned. The staff was pleasant but that did not make up for the experience. I have felt ill since the meal. I will stick with Tuptim or River Kwai (Totowa). Both have attentive staff and great food.

  20. POSTED BY lan  |  July 07, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

    We were just at Spice II last week for maybe the 15th time. I have never had anything but a fantastic meal. The food is consistently excellent – even when Sheree is not there (although the atmosphere is always better when she is). We have brought friends and family who have always raved about the food (and good prices). We can never order enough spring rolls for the table. One warning: If you order something hot (spicy), it’s HOT!

  21. POSTED BY missy&honey  |  July 26, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

    We were there this afternoon….for over an hour for lunch(Sheree is so hospitable you’re never rushed to leave)as usual everything was perfect, the soup just hot enough, the sampler for 2 delicious….and the fried calamari just right ! We were so stuffed we took food home. Its been a pleasure to follow sheree and her chef luis from Bloomfield to Montclair. By the way the live music July 12 was wonderful and the show coming up on Ausgust 16Th by the same duo ” Tom & Nick” is an added plus. I hope theres a table for us that night !

  22. POSTED BY katxleen  |  October 29, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    Hands down the BEST Thai food u will ever find in Montclair!! Other than the deliciously made food, the owner Sherri is a big reason to come. She makes everyone feel at home w/ her charm & her passion for this business reflects in her food. Things to try there…Shrimp pad thai (The only place I will ever have pad thai from now on!), thai dumplings, the grilled pork, the papaya salad, any of the curry dishes…seriously…try it all!

  23. POSTED BY AZbagoo  |  January 30, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

    returned here for a repeat visit. food and service still great and they seemed to have expanded their menu…really great vegetarian options.

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