If you’re looking for an exotic atmosphere and don’t care much about food quality, Basil Spice is the next place to go.
You can find the Thai restaurant on South Grand Boulevard next to an Italian cafe and a street crossing away from Wei Hong Bakery. During our time there, the staff was friendly but short handed. We moved from a table to a bench seat by the window– the seats ended up making my butt feel too big and sore for my liking.
Our dinner started off with summer rolls, also known as fresh spring rolls. Its white, almost transparent wrapping’s a lot lighter and chewier compared to its fried n’ crispy relative, the egg roll. Composed of rice flour, water and salt, rice wrap essentially plays a supporting role to the filling.
Usually spring rolls have pork or another type of meat in it, but this one’s refreshingly vegetarian. The lack of meat made me expect an unmet combination– I was disappointed when I found the filling to be mostly chopped up lettuce and rice noodles. The two sauces offered were pretty good though; one had a nutty, pad-thai reminisce and the other one a spicy sweet n’ sour tang.
I wanted to try something new, so I told the waitress, “[Number] Thirty-two, please” for some ba-mee mhoo dang. A sweet n’ sour sauce lays on the bottom of the bowl, covered by a nest of egg noodles topped off with crispy wonton skins, BBQ pork and lettuce.
If I had not known beforehand, I wouldn’t have known I was eating pork. I could smell the meat but the taste didn’t really come through. I’m pretty sure the mhoo dang sauce is the same as the dipping sauce for the spring rolls. The wonton skins were surprisingly good with the rice noodles and small pieces of pork– a rendezvous of complimentary textures– if you found one that wasn’t soggy.
Personally I don’t enjoy mixing my fruits and rice together, but my friends had mixed reactions (one liked it, the other was indifferent). The fried rice tasted like something from a generic Wok but with a chain restaurant price: a whopping 13 dollars.
My tastebuds almost couldn’t differentiate between the bites of pad thai, mhoo dang sauce and Mountain Dew. Basil Spice definitely is a crowd pleaser for those with a sweet tooth.
I would only go back to visit if the line for Pho Grand is too long.
Based on this experience:
★★ out of 5
$ range: cut-rate | fair | pricey ($45 in total)
Portion size: petite | just enough | generous
Tip: Don’t sit at the bench seats.