Food & Drink

February 13, 2014

Eats Beat: In Fort Worth, forget the sweets — bring on Spice

The new Thai restaurant in the medical district is the latest from a familiar restaurant family.

Yes, Valentine’s is that budget-buster of a day for wine and chocolate sales.

But when the chocolate is gone, there will always be Spice.

Spice is the new Thai restaurant from Fort Worth’s Thanpaisarnsamut family, partners in two Thai Rice ’n’ Noodle locations, Thai Select and Thailicious.

The West Magnolia Avenue space is simple for now, but there is nothing simple about chef Pakawalee “Jang” Comvieng’s best menu yet.

Comvieng’s cooking is devoutly Thai homestyle, true to the family’s background in Chanthaburi on the Gulf of Thailand coast southeast of Bangkok and Pattaya.

“We don’t do ‘fusion,’ ” said Apiradee “Amy” Thanpaisarnsamut, half of the brother-and-sister combo behind all the restaurants.

The family’s original restaurant, Thai Rice ’n’ Noodle on Camp Bowie Boulevard West, was simple and inexpensive with counter service.

Since then, Comvieng has gone to Thailand to learn upscale dishes from top chefs, Thanpaisarnsamut said.

Spice is still inexpensive at $10-$12 for lunch or dinner, but specials ($19-$25) include duck with basil and peppers (“ga prow” or “kra prow”), salmon in panang chili-coconut curry, snapper with tamarind sauce or a grilled Thai-herbed chicken.

Thanpaisarnsamut said she wants Spice to develop as “a little fancier” than Thai Select, but right now the space is plain. It’s in the developing 400 block of Magnolia, in a former tent-and-awning shop.

The family also hopes for a Southlake location someday.

Spice is open daily for lunch and dinner at 411 W. Magnolia Ave., 817-984-1800. The website, spicedfw.com, is not working yet.

• If you haven’t made a reservation for Valentine’s night, you’re nearly out of luck.

Chop House Steak & Seafood in Pantego was the best-known restaurant with tables available by midweek.

One strategy: See a movie first.

After 9 p.m., you might get a table at Lucile’s Stateside Bistro in Fort Worth, one of the Mac’s steakhouses, Prime in Mansfield or Howard Wang’s in Southlake.

After 10 p.m., try A F + B, the new Kona Grill location in Fort Worth or one of the Del Frisco’s restaurants.

Or delay till Saturday, although most steakhouses are booked that night, too.

• Another idea: lunch.

Every fine-dining restaurant is available at lunch Friday, including Ristorante La Piazza, steakhouses and the lunch-only Zodiac at Neiman Marcus.

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