Dare to dream
Thailand native finds niche with Springdale restaurant
Posted: October 7, 2012 at 6 a.m.
SPRINGDALE Micki Fortin and husband Bruce moved to Northwest Arkansas after running a successful Thai restaurant in the Dallas suburb of Allen.
Micki, a native of Thailand, became smitten with the restaurant business while working in a Thai kitchen in the United States as a means to learn English. Bruce grew up in the business and knew that Micki’s passion for cooking and service would serve her well in a restaurant atmosphere.
In 2008, the Fortins opened Thai Secret located at 40th Street and Sunset Avenue in Springdale, behind Legacy National Bank. Micki crafted an ideal menu that features Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine, along with sushi.
The renovated building presents a spacious, stylish setting with minimal modern decor. It can accommodate private parties of up to 80 people.
Micki’s brother, At Kiatcharoensaree, who brings expertise from his experience cooking in Bangkok, accompanies her in the kitchen.
4093 W. Sunset #104, Springdale
11 a.m.-9 p.m Mon-Sat, closed Sun. Serving Authentic Thai cuisine, Japanese sushi, beer and wine. Extensive menu, high-quality ingredients. Lunch specials 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon-Fri. Take out available. Located on the corner of 40th St. next to Lowes.
Thai Secret serves common Thai dishes such as chicken satay, crab angels, Thai curry, Pad Thai and more. Helpful tags to help customers with their selections follow the Thai-named dishes. The Pra Ram in Jacuzzi is defined as peanut sauce curry, the Kra Tiem Prik Thai as garlic and pepper, Pad King Sod as heavy on ginger, Pad Prew Wan as Thai-style sweet and sour, and Gai Yang as Thai-style barbecued chicken.
Curry dishes are a house specialty and include yellow, green, red and massamun. All Thai entrees are served with steamed Jasmine rice. Chef’s specialties are dishes that are not common to other Thai restaurants, including Ped Kra Pao (crispy duck in spicy basil sauce), Kra Pro Lamb (Thai basil and lamb), teriyaki steak and duck curry.
The fried rice is offered as a familiar dish with a choice of chicken, pork, tofu, beef, shrimp, pineapple, curry or cashew. House versions include Phuket Island with shrimp, scallops, calamari, cashew nuts and peppers; a sweet, tropical version with pineapple; and Kao Pad Ga Pow with sweet basil.
“The sweet fried rice is very popular with the kids and is a big enough portion to share,” said Bruce Fortin.
The Kao Pad Ga Pow is a favorite of many repeat customers and has a distinctly fresh quality with the addition of fresh, organic herbs grown in the Fortins’ greenhouse.
“We try to grow most of the vegetables and herbs in our garden and greenhouse,” Bruce said. “We grow basil, lemongrass, Thai peppers and more, and pick them fresh every morning.”
The Japanese portion of the menu upholds similar standards of freshness, and the Fortins work with a company that specializes in fresh seafood. The company follows superior sanitation standards and delivers high-quality seafood that is continuously refrigerated.
Sushi specialties include nigiri, sashimi, house rolls, fishless rolls and specialty rolls. There are nearly 20 house rolls that provide customers with popular favorites including the spicy tuna roll, shrimp tempura roll, Philly roll and California roll. Other familiar options are the Rainbow, Volcano and Spider rolls. Fishless rolls offer cooked-meat versions of sushi with options including marinated, Thai barbecue and teriyaki beef.
The specialty rolls are calculated combinations that are unique to Thai Secret. Selections include the Secret Roll with crab and cucumber topped with strips of eel, shrimp, tuna and finished with a kabayaki sauce; the Sakara roll with spicy assorted fish, scallions and tempura crunch; and the Lolly Pop roll with tempura crab, salmon, avocado and kabayaki sauce.
Thai Secret is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Lunch specials of the most popular dishes that can be prepared to order quickly are available 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. All orders are served with steamed Jasmine rice and soup. For takeout orders, an egg roll is served instead of the soup for convenience of transport.