SPIN Modern Thai
Had dinner a week ago and lunch today at this place, and both meals were really very good. For starters at dinner, we found the Tod Mun to be very tasty. We ordered a bunch of the tasting plates, of which the best was the Sous Vide Beef Tongue and the Thai Red Snapper. They also had a Salmon cake special that was delicious.
The portions of the tasting plates are more than sufficient for two to share comfortably, and depending on the appetite and how many starters, 2 or 3 of the tasting plates would be enough for dinner for two people.
For lunch starters, we had curry Pork Belly Bun, which is a slider with sous vide pork belly. Rich, and very tasty. There are two to each order, and 1 is enough for a person for an appetizer, I think. The Basil Eggplant, to which we added chicken, was really excellent. The eggplant was fantastic, and it will be a fine dish without the meat, if you so want. We also had the Pork Garlic Peppercorn and the Panang Curry; both were really good, but the eggplant dish surpassed them.
The dishes in this place are more like what you get at Uchi and Uchiko than at a traditional Thai place. They provide chopsticks, which is, of course, not traditional Thai, but works really well here because of the nature of the dishes. The care that goes into each dish is pretty evident; what was fried was fried just right without dripping excess oil; the octopus in one dish was just soft and perfect.
went for my first lunch the other day, and i don't think they've hit their stride for this time slot.
both things i wanted were unavailable: the pork bun app was out, and the ramen has been taken off the menu to make adjustments.
so, i went with the duck. it's different from the duck curry on the dinner menu.
the meat was very tender (there was some bone and gristle, which i didn't catch before putting it into my mouth, but that's okay, it happens).
the size was so small, though, and the only veggies in the dish were onions and red bell pepper.
it's one of my peeves when restaurants use both of these instead of other veg. and there were so. many. onions.
the fried egg on top of the rice was a lovely touch, and really added some oomph to the dish.
i just wish there had been more of everything, including some contrasting flavors and textures with actual vegetables.
all entrees come with a soup. it was a miso with scrambled eggs like hot & sour. it was quite tasty, with lots of seaweed, and i saw some herbs or seasoning of some kind at the bottom when i finished it. whatever it was, it was excellent.
here are some crappy camera phone pics.
they may have changed the pad thai recipe, but i really liked it because it was wrapped in a thai omelette.
i got a can of sprite, and with tip, it came to $14. that's a lot for a casual lunch, for me.
went tonight with two coworkers who had never been.
we each had 2 beers (bottles only, on draft).
they also carry wine, and do two sangria-type cocktails.
we shared everything and split the tab three ways.
it was $120, with a generous tip.
Coconut milk marinated pork skewer and chili dipping sauce
--the guys loved this. they were 4 small skewers; good for sharing.
Salmon sashimi, toasted rice, sliced grapes and nampla lemongrass vinaigrette
--this is one of my favorite dishes, and one i keep getting every time.
--it really isn't enough to share if there are more than 2 of you.
Yam Baby Octopus
Grilled baby octopus with shallots, scallions, cherry tomatoes and celery leaf in chili lime sauce.
--this was the one dud. there wasn't a lot of octopus. it was a very small dish. also, the flavors may have been masked by all the other bold spices and textures of the other things we ate first.
Pad Cha Spider
Crispy tempura-style fried soft shell crab, with chili and pickled green peppercorn
--another one of my faves. the two guys made a lot of noises that sounded like "yum" and "wow" while we were stuffing our faces.
and two things not on the internet menu:
duck in red curry, with pineapple and grapes.
--this came in a tureen, with 3 pieces of grilled bread, which was very odd.
--it was extremely tasty and we all loved it, but it's more of a lunch dish for 1 than something suitable for small plate dining with others, which is the style of the menu.
breaded pork loin
--this was incredibly rich, and probably one of the best tastes of the night. very fatty (but in a good way) pork coated with seasoned breadcrumbs, tossed with a spicy curry-ish sauce to moisten it.
for the Larb Sake, there's only enough for me, i'm not sharing that dish! :P
for the Yum Baby Octopus, i thought this was kinda boring too when i started eating it. then one of the waitresses stopped by and said i was supposed to mix it all together first. it was definitely better after i did that... plus the octopus is super tender so i really Wanted to like the dish...
my waitress had asked me how i found out about this place. i'd responded saying i'd heard great things from Chowhound. she replies with, "well, thank whoever that is for recommending us..." she seemed to think it was an actual person, so i repeated Chowhound a couple more times in case i wasn't enunciating... she just stared blankly... >:/
Wow, the octopus is supposed to be tender? When we tried it, it was like trying to eat a pile of rubber bands - so chewy that we just ended up swallowing, unchewed. This was not my first time having rubbery octopus, so I thought that's just what it was like. Now I'm bummed that I didn't say something.
Hey, I'll take credit for starting the discussion here :)
Quite a few of their dishes seem to be meant to be eaten with all the components together. The flavors combine to create a greater whole, and when it works, it's really wonderful. Same with a lot of the dishes at Uchi, Uchiko.
hehe, i'll make sure to say Rajat told me about it next time.. ;) though i MAY get the same response, lol...
i always tend to make the perfect bite when i eat at more upscale places, but she literally said "get that spoon and mix it all up..." lol, yes ma'am...
i guess i was forunate enough to get tender octopus. most places in the States tend to overcook octopus, which i can't stand... i'll prolly get it again whenever i go back, so i'll let ya know if it was rubbery the second time around... only place in Austin that consistently made perfectly cooked octopus every time was El Arbol (RIP)...
We went and throughly enjoyed it. Pasta dish(es) are regular meal sized, everthing else is Uchi-eque. We (2 people) ordered 4 apps, 3 mids, and 1 main (along with a split desert) and were stuffed. My ONLY dislike was the shrimp mid, which was served traditional style with the head-on. Not the worst thing ever, but the shrimp was really chewy with all the additional "parts"." Mayve traditional, but I did not like. Also, they were out of the two things that sounded best on the "large" menu (hence our app-centric order). I understand the desire to be fresh, but stocking the most popular items in sufficient quantities would be appreciated. All-in-all, a great dinner for 2 or under $100. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars (probably more if the weren't out of so many tasty-sounding things on the menu).
Made it out to spin tonight to have dinner and ordered the 5 items off the tasting list and split them with my dining companion.
The first course that came out was a sashimi salmon dish, and it just screamed "uchi/uchiko" and would have been right at home on the menu there. It was fantastic and was my pick for plate of the night. Was a pretty generous plate of food and I think it was like $9
Next course was a cooked salmon dish. It was a salmon patty breaded in panko and fried with a couple of sauces. This one was a miss for both of us. The sauces were good, but the salmon honestly seemed like something you could get out of your local freezer section on this one. It may have been a bigger disapointment considering the outstanding first course it had to follow, but I will not order this again if I return.
Third course was the octopus. The plating was gorgeous and I could tell there were some good flavors somewhere in there, but our dish was HOT. I dont mean a little spicy, I mean down a glass of water and a beer and still have tears in your eyes hot. It's quite possible we got a rogue chili or somehting that was hotter than the rest of the batch, because I honestly dont think they would serve anything that hot on purpose. We were unable to finish the dish, and I love hot/spicy foods.
The fourth and fifth courses came at the same time, Thai red snapper and tiger cry. The snapper was another home run much like the first course and the tiger cry was very good as well, though not quite at the level of the snapper/first course.
This place was EMPTY. We were one of only three tables there at 7:30 at night.
The staff was very friendly and I wish these guys well. The food overall was very good and I think it will get better as they go as well, and its pretty inexpensive considering the quality of the food. We ordered everything off the tasting menu and had a few beers for $65.
oooo they updated the menu since the last time i went.
the salmon larb is my favorite; the tangy sauce makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
the salmon patty sounds pretty blah.
i did get some heat with the sauces on the fried softshell crab, but nothing that harsh.
you probably did get a rogue pepper. too bad, i bet the octopus was delish otherwise.
what did you try?
so far i've had:
the larb (my favorite dish)
shrimp pad thai wrapped in a thai-style omelette (early days; not sure it's still on the menu).
sous vide pork belly (it's better now after the initial experimenting).
pad cha spider (this was great!)
my next time, i'll probably try the beef tongue, octopus, and tiger cry.
if i can pry myself away from the larb...
i was so excited to see the pad thai wrapped in the omelette.
one of my room mates was thai, and we would often eat one of his omelettes with rice for dinner.
total comfort food to me.
i haven't done lunch. the dinner menu is separated into what i would call small, medium, and large tastes (but none i've had so far are a standard sized entree). for the first section, it's in the $5 range, next is usually under $10 and the last is slightly over $10.
the servers usually recommend 2-3 dishes per person, and what i've eaten is in line with that.
iirc, lunch is around the $10 point. maybe someone else can verify.
This place is ridiculously underrated. We've been there a few times and really enjoyed everything we've had. I'll echo the comment that the care that goes into each dish is evident. You really can't go wrong with anything you order there.
And after you've explored the food menu... do NOT pass up the Ginger Vanilla Lemonade or the Coconut Panna Cotta for dessert. Silly good.