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Feb 26, 2006 06:41 PM

Spices on 8th -- Atrocious service!

  • b

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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  1. 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

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

      1. re: Baycyd

        How'd you like the food?

        1. re: nooodles

          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

            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

              "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.


              1. re: vietgourmand
                Boquerones Fan

                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

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

                  1. re: vietgourmand

                    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

                      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

              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

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

        2. 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!

          1. Is Spices II any different/better?

            1. 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!

              1. 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.