Hip, young Thai comes to the South Coast of MA - Spicy Lime in New Bedford
Allow me to recommend a place for anyone checking out the historical New Bedford Whaling National park or hopping a ferry to the Vineyard, get lunch in Downtown New Bedford. No Problemo is now a local legend because of their spot on SoCal Mexican fare; The Green Bean is a refreshing and uber hip Vegetarian/smoothie/coffee lover's oasis and place to hang out, and Cafe Arpeggio and On a Roll serve up good deli fare. But for something really special, check out Spicy Lime. I started going here with my family when it opened, and just this evening brought my friends who go to UMass Dartmouth (about 5 miles up the road), who all left with takeout menus.
Located on the corner of Purchase and Union streets (same block as UMass Dartmouths Visual & Performing Arts building The Star Store) is this small hole in the wall.
First of all, there is reason enough to come to this place in the Thai Iced Tea ($1.95). I've had Thai Iced Teas elsewhere, but this could almost define it for me. It's perfectly sweet, looks like a sunset and the flavors are a magnificent balancing act. You distinictly taste the tea and coconut milk. It's one of those flavors you end up dreaming about. Two of us had had it before, and we convinced the whole table to one.
The appetizers don't serve many, but offer lovely bursts of flavor. The (vegetarian plus shrimp) Fresh Rolls and Satay, though, are actually big enough enough to get as a main meal for one. I had the Fresh Rolls this evening, and the combo of the mint and peanut are effervescent and divine. The salad (which you can get for free at lunch, or have to order separately at dinner) is addictive. Perfect fresh veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce) and an incredible peanut sauce on top.
Many newcomers inevitably go for the perennial favorite, Pad Thai. It's very good here, but I recommend the curries. You choose between meat, shrimp, or vegetables. The coconut milk broth in all is good enough to eat like a soup. My favorite is the Masaman curry, which is a lovely blend of pineapple and potatoes. The Green & Yellow curries are hearty but never overpowering. There's a delicacy to all recipes here.
The seafood is also superb. Considering New Bedford's status as one of America's premiere fishing ports, much of the seafood is off the boat fresh. The scallops are buttery and delicate. The mussels are perfectly garlic and gingery. They recipes don't mask the seafood, only add an infusion and accent.
Dinner prices range from $9-$14, but are generous and seem to fill you perfectly. Lunch is about $3 cheaper than all dinner items, offers the same quantities, and ends at 3.
The restaurant is run by Lita Sawang, her husband and her extended family. She's a young woman, but has already helped run family restaurants in Thailand and San Francisco, offers cooking classes in the area, so knows what she's doing, and it shows. She and her family obviously put a LOT of effort into giving the joint a hip, sophisticated, and young vibe, but still makes it accessible and available.
This is a great place, and just another addition to New Bedford's growing youthful culinary and artistic scene.