mesa’s thai spices
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Mesa’s Thai Spices
May, 2010, Page 148
Photos by David Moore
Garlic pork ribs with mango sticky rice (back)
Fans of authentic Thai food will love this pretty little place, which wows with excellent service and superb flavors.
With parts of west Mesa and Chandler heavily influenced by Asian culture, it’s no surprise that many of the city’s best Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants are in the East Valley these days.
One of the shining stars among them is Thai Spices in the pagoda-style Mekong Plaza at Main and Dobson streets in Mesa.
Thai Spices, formerly Boca 7 Vietnamese restaurant, changed names and cuisines in late 2009, hiring a chef who hails from a couple popular Thai restaurants in San Francisco and delivers classic dishes with aplomb.
Pho-get about pho and try these hedonistic soups: hot-and-sour tom yum ($3.95 small, with chicken) and sweet, creamy tom ka ($4.95 small, with shrimp). Tender, spicy beef salad ($8.95) with crunchy onions and cucumbers struck all the right notes.
Entrée standouts included a multi-layered Massamun beef curry ($9.95) in thick gravy kissed with cinnamon and cloves, outstanding aromatic green chicken curry ($8.95) packed with fresh basil and vegetables, and outrageous marinated crispy garlic pork ribs served with leafy salad ($12.95). Chu Chee tempura fish ($15.95) also was heavenly, made with delicate, flaky fried basa that didn’t get clobbered under a smooth but sinus-clearing coconut red curry. (Hot and medium were similar, and neither was too painful, so go for Thai hot if you want a thrill.)
Left to right: inside Thai Spices; spicy beef salad
Thai Spices’ basil with shrimp ($10.95) was jam-packed with meaty shrimp and a cupboard full of spices. And the Yummy Duck Curry ($10.95) lived up to its name, delivering a creamy, pungent red curry sauce poured over roasted Peking duck, pineapple, tomatoes, peppers and basil leaves.
I found little fault with anything, from the freshness of the ingredients to the preparations. Shrimp and crab pad Thai ($11.95) could have been tangier (more vinegar, maybe). Larb ($8.95), a usually peppy ground chicken dish, was bland. And the breading on the Thai Spices catfish ($10.95) was spongy, though the thick red curry chili sauce was a delight. Portions are large, so ask for to-go boxes so you can finish up with superior mango sticky rice ($5.95) or house-made coconut ice cream ($3.95).
To top it off, the place is eye-catching – done up with red glass tiles, gold walls and granite tabletops – and it’s complete with exceptionally conscientious service.
What’s missing are customers. On both visits, the place was nearly empty. For selfish reasons, I’d like to see it thrive and survive.
: 66 S. Dobson Road, Mesa
: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
: Tom yum ($3.95 small, with chicken); tom ka ($4.95 small, with shrimp); spicy beef salad ($8.95); Massamun beef curry ($9.95); garlic pork ribs ($12.95); mango sticky rice ($5.95); coconut ice cream ($3.95)
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