There's something to be said for the beauty of the space inside Rice & Spice. Structural lamps overhead echo the famous shapes of architecture and stylized costume hats. Brightly executed wall pictures mix swirls of color with detailed symmetry on one wall, while a sort of monster painting on another wall provides a totally different vibe.
Somehow it all works together, even with the adjacent bar area's glowing lights and another wall covered with a barely-covered oversized bas relief sculptress of a beautiful woman.
Oh, and it's a restaurant. With good food.
Many of the Thai restaurants in the area are rather bland places. Sure you can explore the beauty of the food, but the tables and the space are just background. At Rice & Spice, your eyes start the feast when you first walk in the door.
Small placemats await on polished wooden tabletops. Substantial cutlery wrapped in equally substantial cloth napkins. Tea served in individual porcelin pots (and unexpectedly western-style cup/saucer sets). Soundtracks of reasonable music round out the space, loud enough to hear yet not so loud as to intrude on conversation.
We have been to this eatery a few times now, and have a lot of experience at other Thai restaurants. Appetizer of larb (chicken with chilies) was a bit zippier than some, but still good. Beef noodle dish (pad see eaw) was nicely balanced, more interesting than the same meal elsewhere. Curry dishes here are good -- they have a pair of curry sauces that they mark with two-pepper spiciness ratings: red curry (wonderful!), green curry (less spicy than elsewhere). They also offer panang curry and ka-ree curry (each with a one-pepper spiciness rating). Fried rice dishes were good.
This establishment may be having a tough time (as they are slightly more expensive than some of their competition), but the visual enjoyment of making a $2 extra investment in a beautiful space is worth supporting. Great food on a formica tabletop has its place, but so does the chance to be reminded of the difference between "dining" and "eating."
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.