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Spice Thai

View Map2886 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 252-9959
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Editorial Review of Spice Thai

Most restaurant menus in this cosmopolitan city at least cursorily acknowledge the vegetarians and vegans among us, but it's a rare few that cater specifically to this picky population. A goldmine for the non-carnivorous diner, Spice Thai populates its menu with so many tofu options that one's tempted to imagine a secret hydroponic soybean garden on the rooftop.

The soy love starts with the appetizer options (most $5). Satay is no longer the domain of chicken alone, as a hearty portion of marinated and skewered tofu doused in peanut sauce and served alongside a cucumber salad proves. Less health-conscious veggies can indulge in the tofu sticks (served as triangular wedges, despite the name), a big handful breaded and deep-fried. Pescatarians will crave the hot, creamy crab rangoon.

Entrees run slightly above average, taste-wise and below average, price-wise ($6-$7). Try the heavy, greasy and delectable pad see eiw, its brown gravy accented by a liberal helping of spicy Chinese cabbage. The panang curry with noodles also stands out; the thick, slightly fried and crispy noodles are just right for delivering the spicy yellow curry to your gut, and the tofu in this particular dish is perfection: It's somehow soft and firm, yet you slice through it as if it weren't even there. Be warned: If you're a bit of a spice wuss, you may be in over your head with this dish, even if you want very badly to eat it all in one sitting. Though there is a separate "Vegetarian Menu," pretty much any of the dishes can be made meatless upon request.

Spice Thai has added sushi to its menu, but you can ignore it without missing anything. As for looks, it seems as if the decor will never be quite right, but with the speedy delivery, you'll never have to set foot inside.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman

Centerstage's Tips

Don't bother with the Thai iced tea…if you need something sweet, opt for the bananas in coconut milk (only $2) instead.

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4-10 p.m. Sunday-Monday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

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chicago, metromix