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“Great food - fusion of Vietnamese and Singaporean food” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Spice Table

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The Spice Table
114 S Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 620-1840
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Ranked #722 of 8,645 Restaurants in Los Angeles
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: 1st St.
Description: The Spice Table is located in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles and serves Southeast Asian cuisine.
Los Angeles, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Great food - fusion of Vietnamese and Singaporean food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2012

This is a great little restaurant on the edge of downtown that is incredibly tasty, and just a tad spicy! The food is unique and beautifully presented. There is a great beer and wine menu. The fried cauliflower, rendang beef and lime dessert are not to be missed.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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21 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    12
    4
    4
    1
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
“Just okay”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

The lowdown. Group of 4. Dishes ordered:

fried cauliflower - ordered based on Yelp reviews. not as tasty as i had hoped it would be
curry fried chicken wings - okay, nothing special/memorable
chicken livers - so delicious only b/c it was incredibly spicy.
satays - eh, i didn't like the way the lamb tasted
braised cabbage - i liked this dish, but it tasted very generic
yellowtail - okay, something light to balance out all the fried/heavy dishes
chicken curry - just mediocre. ive tasted similar at thai restaurants
oxtail - hubby liked this a lot. i thought it was just okay.
hainanese chicken rice - honestly, i was surprised at how tiny this dish was considering it was on the side of the menu which contained "large" dishes. other than the size, it too was just okay, nothing special.
kon loh mee - probably one of my favorite dishes of the night. wish it was bigger, but it was tasty.

I loved that they offer 2 oz beers. It gave me an opportunity to have a taste without committing to just one beer. The restaurant itself was cute, but I didn't like where we were seated. It was basically a hallway and there was a windy tunnel effect as we were sitting. One of the owners greeted us as we walked in. She seemed very nice and attentive.

Overall, I'm glad I tried it, but I don't know if I will return. I know reviewers are split about whether the place is worth its cost. (Our bill was about $225?) Some say they don't like paying this much for Vietnamese/Singaporean food. But for me, if the meal rocks, price doesn't really matter regardless of the type of cuisine it is. That's how I felt when I tried Animal. So Spice Table didn't cut it for me. So when reviewers say it is overpriced for mediocre food, I get it, I understand. For others who disagree, it's okay too! Our palates just don't line up. Either way, I recommend trying it at least once.

Visited June 2011
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“I wanted to love it.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2012

This restaurant received some good press so I wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, I found the menu really limited. Nothing on the menu really caught my eye. I obtained recommendations from the staff and ordered. (You order at the bar and then seat yourself.) My meal had an abundance of flavour. Unfortunately, after about half of my sandwich, I found it a bit too powerful.

Visited March 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Springs, California
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“Enjoyed the food.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2012 via mobile

It seems that people have strong reactions to the Spice Table both positive and negative.  

I ate dinner at the Spice Table on a Tuesday night.
Summary:  I loved the food, but hated the server. (yes I know it's a strong word.) 

I loved the food and so did my three dining partners all of whom are extremely eclectic adventurous eaters always looking to try something new, whether it be a nasty little chicken stand with delicious chicken or an unusual mole in East LA.  All of us have eaten from super high end to super low end all over the world.  My experiences with Asian food though are limited to my living in Japan and a lengthy trip to China, so no I am not a connoisseur of either Singaporean or Vietnamese cuisine although I have eaten both on many occasions throughout the US.  So realize this review is from an eclectic eaters perspective, but not from a person with an intimate knowledge of South East Asian cuisine.
 
Pros:  THE FOOD 

This is what we ordered:

1.  Beef marrow (a special) - fantastic
2.  sweetbreads (a special) - mmmm delicious
3.  black pepper crab toast - much more crab than expected
4.  Rib eye- tasty
5.  braised cabbage, bacon, dried shrimp - yum, but oily
6.  sambal fried potatoes - brilliant
7.  Hainanese rice - most mediocre item
8.  grilled bok choy, mushrooms, oyster sauce - better than expected
9.  peanuts and anchovies - surprisingly good
10. Otah - spicy Mackerel & coconut grilled in banana leaf - not my favourite, didn't like the texture of the fish, tasted kind of sous vide (like it was poached in a water bath)
11. Kaffir lime custard - loved it
12. soft serve ice-cream - tea flavoured - great

Cons:  THE WAITRESS

Boy am I pissed off, not a good counterpoint to the food:  Typical Overbearing, overly chatty and overly opinionated Los Angeles wanna be actress type, pompously acting as though she's the authority on this cuisine when it was obvious she was merely repeating parrot-like what she had been told by the chef or manager of the restaurant.  Don't assume your customers are idiots.  As Evelyn Waugh says "a little learning can be a dangerous thing."  We don't need to know that the soft-serve ice-cream is the chef's reinterpretation of "milk tea which is very popular in Asia" into the form of an ice-cream.  I had milk tea soft serve ice-cream in Tokyo in the mid 1980s. Don't make the food sound bigger and grander than it really is, just let us experience and enjoy it.

She made sure to inform us when one of my polite friends just happened to be holding his cell phone in his hand, that according to "Asian" custom it was impolite to use cell phones in restaurants, duh, yes it is in impolite in all cultures, and no he wasn't about to use it in the restaurant.  As she is saying this the table of 6 across from us was eagerly texting away since they hadn't been reprimanded yet.  And by the way, having lived in Japan, and I assume that Japan is still considered part of Asia, there appears to still be a preponderance of cell phone use at the table there, as well as in China!  To start the meal that way put a negative pall on the whole experience.

She also recommended that we order 3 dishes each which was unnecessary, we could have figured this out as we went.  It felt more like food pushing to me, not appropriate at a lovely place like this.
She also informed us that the chef would decide what order the dishes would come out in as the chef would curate it according to his liking.  Why explain this, why not just let us experience the bloody food.  It felt a little bit like we'd gone back to preschool.

Another Con:  Noisy, the environment is lovely looking in the back room with the high ceilings and the exposed brick walls (not so good in an earthquake though!), but boy do they need to add some more soft surfaces, all of our voices were sore after a night of having to shout at each other.  It eventually led to very little conversation as it was like sitting in an echo chamber.  As much as we liked the food, we all agreed that we wouldn't come back because of the noise and the overbearing waitress.  What a shame.

Why not hire some waiters/waitresses from Singapore and Vietnam, it would do the food more justice.  (I noticed on their website that they actually have a position at the restaurant called "Service Expert " - Ralph Waxman.  Pretentious, just fix the bloody service.)

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“THE BEST FOOD EVER.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

A friend of mine recommended the Spice Table to me, and I decided to go there with my husband and two friends on Wednesday night, before a show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Booking a reservation was super easy, as they had tables available at 6:30 p.m., which is when we needed to so we could make the show. Here is the bottom line: EVERYTHING WE ATE WAS PHENOMENAL. The restaurant was lovely, our waiter was really, really nice and completely helpful about our timing, but the star was the food! All of the dishes are meant to be shared, and between 4 of us, we tried quite a few things. Our favorites were the chicken satay, the spicy sambal potatoes, the beef randang curry and the kaya toast. We can't wait to go back!

  • Visited March 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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