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The Spice Table lunch - Perceptor's Photo Report

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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

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: Perceptor

        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

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

      2. re: bulavinaka

        i really didn't like their fried wings.

        but the catfish sandwich was great.

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

        1. 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.

            good eye J.L canon 40D

            1. re: Perceptor

              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.

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

          2. 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

              well said Bert.......

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

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

                1. 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

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

                    1. re: aching

                      How would you rank them in order of your preference?

                      1. re: Porthos

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

                        1. re: Porthos

                          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. 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

                          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

                            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

                              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

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

                              1. re: Perceptor

                                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

                                  Try the shrimp chips next time.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    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

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

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        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

                                  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

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

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

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

                                    1. Beautiful pics, Perceptor! Thanks for sharing. :)