A new Southeast Asian (Singaporean and Vietnam) wine bar has opened up at Little Tokyo a little more than a months ago called Spice Table. The name gave me an instant dejavu of Jean-George NYC’s Spice Market (that I wasn’t impressed with), so I was wary. Is it likewise a chichi, overpriced, parody version of the Southeastern street food? or a more authentic samplings of the Southeast Asian flavors presented in a chic way. Nonetheless we tried it on our birthday, which is one week after its grand opening. The place was very packed, so I guess the initial hype was good.
Modern loft rustic interior with a touch of Asian motifs.
Paté & baguette (7) and Chili Prawns Satay (12). I was expecting some Asian take on the pate, but it’s as Paté & baguette as it gets (still very good)! They fill you up pretty quickly, I wished it’s half portion (and half the price). The prawns are pretty spicy, and you have to peel them like you do in Asia.
Fuzzy squash, lap chong (Chinese Sausage), dried scallops (8). Three very familiar Chinese ingredients cooked in a way I never tried before, yum! The Fuzzy squash are almost like pickled cabbages, salty and crispy. It would be great with a bowl of rice. Lamb Belly Satay $10 is a bit normal.
Catfish Claypot (12) Tasty! The perfect clay ‘burn’ flavor is deep in the meat, the glazed green onion sugar soy sauce is tasty though a bit predictable (in Chinese flavors).
Oxtail & short rib stew (15) Very hearty and full of subtle flavors. Again I didn’t know why we didn’t order rice. This didn’t blow me away as I expected to, even though the short rib is very tender. Perhaps it’s because of the Catfish Claypot that also has a sweet flavor, I was a little sweet-overloaded (even though that’s what Southeast Asian flavors tended to be).
Otah (spicy mackerel & coconut grilled in banana leaf) 14. The aroma is amazing, like it’s grilled from firewood. I was expecting a fish inside, turns out it’s fish cake. The texture is soft and pillow-u, very tasty with strong coconut, lemongrass infused flavors. A pleasant surprise of the night.
Kon loh mee (egg noodles, choy sum, ground pork, char siu) 12 I have to say this is the highlight for me. It’s a simple Singaporean noodle dish, but it’s well done! The egg noodle are cooked perfectly and lye-flavor free, with awesome chewy textures. The char siu are juicy, meaty and tender. This is exactly what I expected from this place: traditional common Asian food cooked masterfully.
Kaffir lime custard, lychee (5) After all sorts of strong flavors, a refreshing taste is much needed. This is a perfect end of a night of pungent flavors.
While eating, I kept feeling that a lot of the dishes we ordered could stand on its own with a bowl of rice, and be a meal already. So it felt like 3-4 meals in one. Overall it is on the pricey side, I would come back more often if it’s slightly cheaper. I heard that they have lunch now, and offer very yummy Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), I hope I can try it someday. I enjoyed this place way more than Spice Market for sure (which felt like a circus).
114 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012