Bring the heat

From left, Fon Yoosoongnern, Sai Hlape, Shonrell Hlape and Kai Hlape with the spicy noodles plate.

From left, Fon Yoosoongnern, Sai Hlape, Shonrell Hlape and Kai Hlape with the spicy noodles plate.

Photo by AMY BECK

Simply Thai is open Tuesday thru Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday thru Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

Ever since my friend Brett moved out to Spanish Springs, I’ve been able to see what the area has to offer in restaurants, and I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Added to the list of new restaurants I’ve enjoyed in the area is Simply Thai, which is tucked into a small strip mall, sharing space with a 7-Eleven. Don’t let that description fool you, as the interior was clean and relaxing, with Thai decorations and plants throughout. The walls are a soothing tan with high ceilings and dark wood tables. The atmosphere is classy but casual.

Brett and I were hemming and hawing over how hungry we were, but once we looked at the menu, we went a little crazy and decided we were crazy hungry. Lies might also have been told to one another that if there was extra food, we would just take it home, which allowed us to start with an appetizer, the salad rolls ($5.95). The salad rolls were basically spring rolls and are filled with carrots, lettuce, cucumber, tofu, basil and rice noodles. What stood out for me was how obviously fresh the ingredients were. The carrots and cucumber gave this a nice crunch, and the basil was sweet. They were served with a rich peanut sauce and a sweet and sour sauce that was tangy instead of the syrupy sweet taste that usually goes with sweet and sour sauce.

For entrées, we ordered the seafood curry ($15.95) and the spicy noodles with chicken ($9.95). The seafood curry arrived with mussels, scallops, shrimps, calamari and crab among a bed of sweet curry with just a hint of spice. The calamari was a little chewy, and I wished there had been more crab, but everything else tasted fresh.

When we ordered the spicy noodles, we were given a choice of spiciness on a scale from one to five. Thankfully, our waitress cautioned us on how spicy to order by explaining that she’s Indian and has been eating spicy food her entire life, but at a four level, she can’t taste the food. Now I like spicy food, but if she couldn’t handle a four, there’s no way I could, so we went at a three level. Dang, they really bring the heat at Simply Thai! The flattened noodles soaked up the spice and left my lips tingling. This dish was amazing, but if you don’t like spicy dishes, go with a one or two. The chicken was tender, and the noodles were laced with green beans, red peppers, basil and onions. Despite being a noodle dish, it didn’t leave me feeling heavy and sluggish because there didn’t seem to be too much oil.

To cool down our mouths from the spicy noodles, we ordered some Thai beers. I went with the Chang while Brett opted for the Singha (both $3.50). The owner of Simply Thai brought the beers out to us as our waitress was underage. The owner was very friendly and answered all the questions we had about the beer and the restaurant. He even tipped us off where we could buy our own Thai beer. The Chang was a light beer that soothed my burning mouth perfectly, while the Singha had a slightly maltier taste. Both were good and I would order either again.

Being friends with someone who lives in Spanish Springs gives me an excuse to come back to Simply Thai, but this place is so good, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive out to the area just to dine here.