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The Spice Table lunch - Perceptor's Photo Report

Perceptor May 24, 2011 01:34 PM

have had a few fantastic dinners at Spice Table since opening in March..... recently they started their quick service lunch...order in the front, pay, get a number, and food will be delivered to your table... for lunch the main attraction is their offering of gourmet banh mi inspired sandwiches... i've tried almost all of their sandwiches and all of them are great with very different taste and textures... my favorite is their cold cut which has Vietnamese ham, paté, house made headcheese, garlic mayo, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños all inside a fresh baguette baked in the back... I understand the usual banh mi sandwiches are in the $2-3 zone in the usual banh mi stores but the moment you try this you will understand the refinement of taste that makes it worth the $7.5 that they charge...

check this place for a quick downtown lunch..... good stuff

Here is my photo report:

- Perceptor

The Spice Table
114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

  1. inaplasticcup Aug 15, 2011 09:19 PM

    Beautiful pics, Perceptor! Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. westsidegal Aug 9, 2011 08:35 PM

      beautiful food porn, perceptor, (and i mean that in the most admiring way)

      1. n
        ns1 Jun 16, 2011 09:16 AM

        Had the cold cut, good but not mindblowing. Pork belly sandwich though, wow. Best $11 sandwich ever. It’s like a bbq pork banh mi had a 1 night stand with a langer’s #19 and this pork bely sandwich is the bastard child.

        16 Replies
        1. re: ns1
          Dommy Jun 16, 2011 09:48 AM

          Yeah... while I appreciate the craft that goes into the Cold Cut... I think it got overwhelmed with everything else. It tasted mostly of pickle...

          The Pork Belly thought was EXCELLENT. Thinly sliced. I was with fellow hound Chef Lisa at the time and she pegged it as "vietnamese pastrami'... SO GOOD.

          But my favorite was the Catfish. It was more Po'Boy than Bahn Mi... but overall it made a much better sandwich all on its own! :)


          1. re: Dommy
            ns1 Jun 16, 2011 12:35 PM

            yeah there's A LOT going into the cold cut and IMHO you have to be a fan of each and every component to truly enjoy it.

            A friend of mine doesn't like pickled veggies, but I think the pate/head cheese would way overpower the sandwich w/e the veggies.

            GF doesn't eat the peppers, but I found them invaluable in cutting through the heaviness of the pate.

            1. re: Dommy
              New Trial Aug 9, 2011 01:35 AM

              Good peg! I tried the pork belly for lunch today and pastrami was my first thought as well--the cole slaw in the sandwich may have helped in that regard. "EXCELLENT" just about covers it. I also enjoyed an order of the shrimp chips as an accompaniment. I note they have also added a spicy potato chip as a third chip option.

            2. re: ns1
              Perceptor Jun 16, 2011 12:16 PM

              ns1..... i could not have described the pork belly sandwich better myself... hahaha... love it!

              1. re: Perceptor
                ns1 Jun 16, 2011 12:33 PM

                I'm dreaming about it now on the same level as the #19.

                I prefer the baguette to Langer's rye. And it's cheaper!

                Not sure which one is more unhealthy though...

                Oh yeah, those sweet potato chips were terrible. Oversalted, soggy, not fresh/crisp. Waste of $1.75

                1. re: ns1
                  JAB Jun 16, 2011 03:52 PM

                  Try the shrimp chips next time.

                  1. re: ns1
                    peppermonkey Jun 16, 2011 04:32 PM

                    Random banh mi lady in Saigon in front of our hotel was the best sandwich ever: freshly baked sesame seed bread straight from her own bread machine, 3 types of meat, one tasting just like langers pastrami, homemade pate, fresh veggies and just whipped mayo...best ever

                    1. re: peppermonkey
                      ns1 Jun 16, 2011 05:22 PM

                      funny, my VN banh mi experience was "omg, i miss CA"

                      1. re: ns1
                        peppermonkey Jun 23, 2011 02:04 PM

                        Yeah we had a few bad meals in vietnam. You really have to know where to go. This lady was just by chance. But the Anthony Bourdain soup lady was legit. Unbelievable.

                2. re: ns1
                  pharmnerd Jun 17, 2011 05:53 PM

                  Reminded me of Langer's too! I too liked the pork best of what I tried (cold cut & catfish), but IMO the Mendocino Farms pork belly banh mi is better overall. I'll still keep ST on my regular lunch rotation though.

                  Mendocino Farms
                  444 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                  1. re: pharmnerd
                    ns1 Jun 17, 2011 05:57 PM

                    I'm intrigued but ciabatta bread as banh mi!?

                    1. re: ns1
                      pharmnerd Jun 18, 2011 07:54 AM

                      Yeah, I know, but damn it's good. Last I tried the pork belly filling was excellent. Worth a comparison at least, considering it's only a short drive away. I wonder if you can request it on a baguette?

                      BTW, excellent 'one night stand' description above.

                    2. re: pharmnerd
                      soniabegonia Jun 23, 2011 03:02 PM

                      For me, Mendo's pork belly banh mi is one of top 3 best sandwiches in LA. While I enjoyed Spice Table's sandwiches (I've tried 2 so far), i think they are quite heavy on fish sauce & pate... there's a pervasive liver flavor that I find slightly off-putting because I'm not a huge fan of liver. I don't mind a subtle liver flavor but I found ST's a bit strong for my taste.

                      1. re: soniabegonia
                        bulavinaka Jun 23, 2011 08:32 PM

                        That pork belly banh mi at MF is one bad MF... When I announce that I'm heading over to MF to pick up sandwiches, the pork belly is automatic for my wife - no questions asked.

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          soniabegonia Jun 24, 2011 06:52 AM

                          Haha, agree with that! I always agonize over what to order because I so want to try the many offerings there but that banh mi almost always wins out. The last time I was there (MDR location), they had a spicy beef banh mi as a special and that was pretty awesome as well. I also really like their steak BLT... so good! Oh, MF, when will you open a store in Hollywood???

                          1. re: soniabegonia
                            bulavinaka Jun 24, 2011 05:26 PM

                            Bug them with emails! I know that some smaller chains like getting feedback from potential customers so they can get a feel where their next move should be...

                  2. aching May 28, 2011 09:50 AM

                    We went for lunch yesterday - split the lemongrass chicken and the meatball sandwiches. Truly delicious - what a find! These may be my new favorite sandwiches in all of LA. Thanks for the tip, Perceptor!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: aching
                      Perceptor May 28, 2011 11:19 AM

                      glad you had a good lunch there Aching!!! try cold cut sandwich + shrimp chip next time..........

                      1. re: aching
                        Porthos May 28, 2011 12:57 PM

                        How would you rank them in order of your preference?

                        1. re: Porthos
                          Perceptor May 28, 2011 01:40 PM

                          Cold cut, pork belly (but thats a special not on regular menu), meatball, chicken

                          1. re: Porthos
                            aching May 28, 2011 05:35 PM

                            I really couldn't pick a favorite of the two we tried. The chicken was more delicately flavored while the meatball was much bolder - but both were truly delectable. Next time I'm definitely having the cold cuts!

                        2. p
                          pharmnerd May 27, 2011 10:22 PM

                          Tried the pork belly sandwich. Thumbs up. Thanks for the photos, as the other sandwiches are next on my list.

                          1. aching May 26, 2011 12:38 PM

                            This sounds fantastic! If anyone was wondering, according to their website, lunch hours are Mon-Sat 11:30 to 3:30.

                            1. b
                              Bert May 24, 2011 03:27 PM

                              i had posted this in another thread, but it seems more appropriate here:
                              Totally different level of cooking and price from an ordinary vietnamese sandwich, but for my money, the hands down best authentic banh mi is at the Spice Table in little tokyo. House made pate, house made head cheese, house made garlic mayo, house made pickles, all on house made bread. Of course, for the $7.50 that it'll set you back you could have bought 3 sandwiches at some other places. But hey, we chowhounders appreciate both value and quality, right? If you ask me, this sandwich is a perfectly good value. For cheap and good, i hit up places like Ba Le. For simply the best banh mi i've ever had, it's the spice table, hands down.

                              The Spice Table
                              114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bert
                                Perceptor May 25, 2011 11:37 AM

                                well said Bert.......

                              2. J.L. May 24, 2011 02:45 PM

                                Thanks for the fotos. I've only been there for dinner. Looks like I'll have to try lunch there as well...

                                Just curious... Are you shooting with a Canon DSLR? The color processing looks Canon-esque.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: J.L.
                                  Perceptor May 24, 2011 04:41 PM

                                  good eye J.L canon 40D

                                  1. re: Perceptor
                                    J.L. May 24, 2011 10:41 PM

                                    Hmm... Maybe I should "borrow" Mrs. J.L.'s Canon 40D (she uses it for non-food photography) on my next food foray, instead of my usual PowerShot point-&-shoot... Clunky cameras are not my usual M.O. in eateries, but I must admit, the photos come out undeniably better.

                                    Mind if I ask you if you're shooting food with a specific Macro Lens, Perceptor?

                                    1. re: J.L.
                                      Perceptor May 24, 2011 11:03 PM

                                      J.L i dont use a macro lens i use my trusty 16-35L

                                2. Porthos May 24, 2011 02:43 PM

                                  I dunno. I love me some fromage de tete...but that meatball sandwich and the chicken sandwich look pretty damn good...

                                  1. b
                                    bulavinaka May 24, 2011 02:14 PM

                                    Love their sandwiches and curry wings, and great photo set as well! My dear wife gags at the mention of head cheese - she didn't even realize the sandwich she was eating had it mixed in there - it's that good...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                      Perceptor May 26, 2011 11:25 AM

                                      hahaha thats a good way to introduce your wife to food she gags on... and now she is converted!! :-)

                                      1. re: Perceptor
                                        bulavinaka May 26, 2011 01:24 PM

                                        I hope so - she often preaches to our daughter not to pick out ingredients that she doesn't like from various dishes (onions, olives, mushrooms) - try them together with everything else in the dish because it was meant to be eaten that way. I can't preach this to her because, well, the wife is always right. :)

                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                          Perceptor May 26, 2011 01:36 PM

                                          wise words from a wise experienced husband........ :-)

                                      2. re: bulavinaka
                                        kevin Aug 15, 2011 09:15 PM

                                        i really didn't like their fried wings.

                                        but the catfish sandwich was great.

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