Monday, November 5th. 2001 Volume 67, Issue 53



Nit Noi gives patrons a 'little bit' of Thai food in large area


Maurice Bobb

Rice Village has seen its patronage skyrocket in the last year.

Many urban professionals traipse its eclectic shops as if the area itself were not of this city but a transplanted oasis for those with a
taste for something different.

As a result, many businesses within its radius are flourishing, especially restaurants that cater to the burgeoning trend to break from
the ordinary.

Take Nit Noi, a journey through Thai cuisine located at 2426 Bolsover St.

The restaurant's owner, Alice Vongvisith (who first operated Nit Noi, which means "little bit" in Thai, in the Philippines in the
mid-1970s), decided to bring her blend of curry spice to Houston in hopes of living the American dream.

Within weeks, Nit Noi saw its popularity spread like a virus, only this time no one wanted to be cured -- they just wanted more.

The decor is bare-bones minimalism, devoid of the kitschy accoutrements of high-end establishments that spend more energy on image
than food.

Nit Noi, though, somehow manages to incorporate an intimate feel in a large space -- not an easy task, considering the sheer volume of
patrons eating at one time.

In the beginning, there was no menu.

Vongvisith would simply greet her customers and tell them what they should eat.

Unfortunately, I enjoyed no such special treatment, but found the menu to be thorough enough for me to navigate without help.

Ever the adventurer, I opted for the Crispy Sea Rolls, which come loaded with lettuce, bean sprouts, cilantro, tomato and special house

The rolls are a tasty invite to all the spice Thai food has to offer.

For the main course, Vongvisith makes what she calls "Alice's Special" -- shrimp with garlic sauce, red bell peppers, green onions and
cashew nuts.

Order this, and the waiter nods as if you've passed some kind of impromptu exam.

This take on shrimp is wholly enjoyable and can be quite addictive, so don't rush into it.

In keeping with the latest trend toward overindulgence, the portions are a bit large, so be prepared to take a doggy bag for leftovers.

Because I ventured to dine during the lunch crunch, there was no time for dessert, although the options sounded interesting: glutinous
rice and Thai custard with or without ice cream.

Feel free to try this, if only for the sake of adventure.

After all, if Vongvisith makes it, chances are it's something to lick your chops for.

Till next time, bon appetit!

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