According to Urbanspoon, we now have 54 Thai restaurants in the area. I can’t think of a cuisine that has grown in its representation in the area more than Thai. And a great majority of them are worth trying, too.
One of the few geographical pockets without a Thai restaurant -- or without many nonchain restaurants at all, for that matter -- is the neighborhood near Orlando International Airport. Now Spice Thai is filling that void.
Spice Thai is in a Semoran Boulevard strip mall that is anchored by a Miller’s Ale House, which always seems to be overflowingly popular. That was also the case on the evening that I visited Spice Thai, but the much smaller newcomer was doing a pretty good business, too.
My guests and I started with appetizers of summer rolls and pot stickers. The rolls had lots of vermicelli and lettuce wrapped in the unfried rice paper, but unfortunately not much that could be identified as shrimp, as promised on the menu. Perhaps we were mistakenly served a vegetarian version.
The pot stickers were much better, loaded with lots of ground pork, pan-fried so the outside of the dumplings were seared and crisp. The garlic infused soy dipping sauce was a perfect accompaniment.
One of my guests had the Pad Thai with beef. Perhaps it was the meat that gave it a darker hue than other Pads I’ve tried (I usually have it with chicken or shrimp). But there was a lot of meat mixed in with the stir-fried noodles. I found the peanut sauce to be a bit sweetish, but with a couple of spoonfuls of the crushed red peppers that were in a dish on the table, plus some extra crushed peanuts, the dish was just right.
I had the Thai basil with chicken. The mix included big hunks of onions and green bell peppers in an unthickend sauce. No need to add any extra heat -- I had ordered the dish medium-hot and found it sufficiently fiery. The fluffy jasmine rice helped quell the spiciness.
Service was delightful. We were warmly greeted when we arrived and thanked when we left.
The storefront provides a small dining space that is bathed in a blue glow from some neon lights in the front windows. There are some televisions set about on the walls -- inevitable, no? -- but otherwise the decor is minimal.
Those of us who pass through this area only on our way to and from the airport forget that there are surrounding neighborhoods with lots of hungry people living in them. It’s nice that they have another non-corporate choice for dining.
Spice Thai is at 6125 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Most dinner entrees are $9.95 to $12.95. Here is a link to spicethaiorlando.com. The phone number is 407-855-4400.