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Spices on 8th -- Atrocious service!

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baycyd Feb 26, 2006 06:41 PM

Just back from late lunch at Spices on 8th. Worst service we can remember. Got 2 dishes we ordered wrong, one of them 2x. No apology. Asked 2x for more tea/water, but no luck. No one came over until we left, when surly food server came over and smacked down bill. Never, ever going back. Beware.

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    nooodles RE: baycyd Feb 26, 2006 06:56 PM

    Ouch. I am very sorry you had bad service.

    I have noticed service is bad when the owner isn't around, but it's usually passable. What you experienced sounds really bad.

    Not that you should be forced to go back, but if it'll make you feel marginally better I'll make a note to tell the owner next time. He's VERY exacting. Whenever he's here, service is spot on. You can tell visibly that his staff is trying to do everything right. Too bad that isn't the case when the cat's away.

    11 Replies
    1. re: nooodles
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      Baycyd RE: nooodles Feb 26, 2006 10:51 PM

      Thanks so much... the owner really should know. Best, Cyd

      1. re: Baycyd
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        nooodles RE: Baycyd Feb 26, 2006 10:58 PM

        How'd you like the food?

        1. re: nooodles
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          vietgourmand RE: nooodles Feb 26, 2006 11:15 PM

          you didn't ask me, but the food at Spices is awful. They just do not know how to make Chinese food the way it should be made. When a food is labeled xyz, I expect it to be close to xyz, but that's not the case at Spices. Most disappointed on my recent trip.

          1. re: vietgourmand
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            nooodles RE: vietgourmand Feb 26, 2006 11:20 PM

            Spices does not do Chinese food the way most places in San Francisco do Chinese food.

            IMO, this is a plus. There are a million dim sum and Cantonese seafood places. I go to Spices when I crave something different.

            I will say I had one HORRIBLE dish there before: walnut prawns. They were disgusting, but I would never have ordered them if someone in our party hadn't insisted because that's not the type of cuisine in which Spices specializes.

            I'm curious what you ordered. All the Szechuan dishes, and a few Taiwanese ones, I've ordered have been good in the past and increasingly well fine-tuned each time I've gone. To me, Spices is working hrad to improve its dishes and is doing a fine job by offering something no other restaurant in SF does.

            "When a food is labeled xyz, I expect it to be close to xyz"

            What does "Chinese" mean to you?

            1. re: nooodles
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              vietgourmand RE: nooodles Feb 26, 2006 11:45 PM

              "Spices does not know how to make Chinese food" is a direct quote from my grandma. :-) (note: not "most places in San Francisco do Chinese food") She KNOWS how Szechuan dishes and a Taiwanese ones are made. (my bias? but then she lived there!) She thought when the food should be sliced in thinly, Spices delivered in CHUNKs. Light on oil? Spices drench them in oil.

              Cheers.

              1. re: vietgourmand
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                Boquerones Fan RE: vietgourmand Feb 27, 2006 04:37 AM

                I grew up in California and therefore I know California food. Chez Panisse does not know how to do California food. I mean, come on, don't they know that an asparagus feuillete should never come with new onions and orange vinaigrette? There's only one right way to do regional cuisine and I have decided how that is.

                1. re: Boquerones Fan
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                  vietgourmand RE: Boquerones Fan Feb 27, 2006 10:34 AM

                  Only one-person's opinion :-) Enjoy Spices as you see fit.

                  1. re: vietgourmand
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                    nooodles RE: vietgourmand Feb 27, 2006 10:45 AM

                    Exactly. Can't force someone to like what they don't like. At least most people here are willing to try something once.

                    Where do you (and your grandma) go for Szechuan food?

                    1. re: nooodles
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                      vietgourmand RE: nooodles Feb 27, 2006 06:27 PM

                      She goes to Hunan, but then she also knows Henry.

                      BTW, I'd agee with you that chicken is better at Hung Ky...

                      (I heard of a new Vietnemese place, Lucky Charm in SSF, is terrific. Ever been there?)

            2. re: vietgourmand
              Atomica RE: vietgourmand Jul 14, 2006 04:03 AM

              I have tried both places. Nothing on their menu appeals to me at all. It seems like they just want to bamboozle my tastebuds with heat and nothing else.

            3. re: nooodles
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              vietgourmand RE: nooodles Feb 26, 2006 11:35 PM

              BTW the xyz that I was refering to was a stir fry lamb dish.

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          baycyd RE: baycyd Feb 27, 2006 12:58 AM

          It was hard to say ... since 2 of the dishes came out wrong, and one of them came out wrong twice. I was so put off that I didn't care. My husband said the food was so-so, but he was put off by how cute the food servers thought they were... talking to each other and completely ignoring the patrons. The food would have to be Le Colonial for us to go back!

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            Maya RE: baycyd Feb 27, 2006 04:24 PM

            Is Spices II any different/better?

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              Civil Bear RE: baycyd Feb 27, 2006 04:36 PM

              Sorry to hear that. My wife and I were there Friday night and everything was very good, including the service. We had the salt & pepper calamari with fried basil (just a bit too salty), a good portion of spicy cucumber salad, a very tasty mound of Kung Pow Shrimp lined with broccoli (almost all shrimp), Chef Cow's Sizzling Beef (nearly all beef), and an order of dry-fried green beans. My only gripe was that the waitress recommended we order a vegetable even though the KP Shrimp came with broccoli. We had enough leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

              I also agree with noodles in that their strength is that they are different from the 300 Cantonese restaurants in San Francisco. You have to love spicy food though!

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                Mike Lee RE: baycyd Feb 27, 2006 07:11 PM

                Just my opinion as well but I agree that the food was only so-so. Maybe it was the hype from everyone that thought Spices was the place to go for good and spicy szechuan food. I think someone pointed out before that Spices doesn't do szechuan but really a taiwanese take on szechuan with less spice than what people are accustomed to if they know real szechuan food.

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                  prettypithy RE: baycyd Mar 1, 2006 05:51 PM

                  I have been a loyal Spices patron for years now, so I can say with some certainty that the service is not top notch. If you are looking for a humbled servant with exquisite knowledge of the wine list (or a wine list period for that matter), friendly service patter and prompt attention to every detail of your dining experience, DO NOT GO TO SPICES. If however, you are seeking reasonably priced, wonderfully spicy cusine served in a delightfully energetic atmosphere, Spices may be the place for you.

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                    mwd RE: baycyd Jul 14, 2006 02:05 AM

                    I dig the two Spices off Clement Street, especially the long beans and the tan tan noodles (or dan dan -- I can't remember what they call 'em). The service can be ridiculously non-existent. For some reason, the service doesn't bother me, though. They discriminate against everyone equally. It's not like some fancy place where if you opt out of sparkling water, they stop paying attention to you. I agree with whoever's grandma, that this isn't Szechuan, certainly not as I grew up with it. I'm not Chinese. I'm just a Jewish kid from Long Island, who ate little but Szechuan many nights long ago. Still, it's closer to NY Chinese than much of what I eat in SF. (This isn't an East Coast/West Coast pizza kinda comment, by the way.)

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