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Restaurant tantalizes eyes and taste buds

For 15 years, Jasmine Thai has offered classic Thai food in an aesthetically pleasing restaurant next to Stein Mart at the corner of N Dale Mabry Highway and Fletcher Avenue.

Co-owner Chris Lertpanitch works the dining room while his co-owner and sister, Nunta Lertpanitch, cooks. Both are originally from Thailand.

On a recent visit, my companion and I started off with soups, mine accompanied by a Singha Thai beer. My companion said the vegetable soup consisted of "a light, yet flavorful broth that almost can't be seen through these large pieces of 11 different kinds of perfectly cooked vegetables." My chicken rice soup was equally generous.

We shared two entrees: basic sauteed mixed vegetables and a very large, imposing tofu garlic and hot pepper dish. The latter was extraordinarily tasty for tofu, which is generally pretty tame. With white rice, both dishes were perfect, as were the next day's leftovers (enough for two people). After dinner, our waitress brought us complimentary fried doughnuts with a vanilla dipping sauce.

While our meal was vegetarian, Jasmine Thai also has seafood, beef and frog legs among other meats. The restaurant boasts a $5 to $6 lunch menu and an entire macrobiotic menu.

-MICHAEL PATRICK WELCH

JASMINE THAI

13248 N Dale Mabry, (813) 968-1501.

HOURS: Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

PAYMENT: cash and all major credit cards accepted.

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