The Spice Table
114 S Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 12/14/13
The Spice Table opened about two and a half years ago and quickly made its mark on the city being named one of the city’s best new restaurants by a handful of publications. Its most notable accolade was when chef Bryant Ng was named a 2012 Best New Chef by Food & Wine, propelling him and the restaurant into national awareness. While the restaurant still feels relatively new, it will be meeting a sad and unique demise at the end of the year to pave the way for a new metro station.
I revisited the restaurant one last time to sample Ng’s fiery Southeast Asian flavors. Influences from all around Asia can be found on The Spice Table’s menu, as well as a small but well-curated craft beer list (and wines!) featuring local brewers.
Poured tableside, this packed a punch.
Lamb Belly Satay cumin, galangal, turmeric
Both a bit chewy and tender, the belly showed off some strong lamb flavors complemented by a fragrant spicy sauce.
Spareribs Vietnamese caramel sauce, fried shallots
I thought these were outstanding. Tender and flavorful with a glaze that was slightly sweet and very savory, these were some good bites. Freshly chopped scallions and fried shallots provided some freshness and texture, respectively.
Black Cod yellow curry custard, chilies, lemongrass, kaffir lime, coconut milk
This was one of the off-menu specials of the day, sounding good enough to immediately order. Small pieces of cod sat in a smooth and flavorful curry custard. Lemongrass and kaffir lime provided some aromatic accents, while a lingering heat slowly built up with each bite.
Laksa rice noodles, laksa leaf, spicy coconut-seafood gravy
This milky soup was packed with flavor and more heat. Surprisingly, the seafood was cooked well even while bathed in a hot soup, providing sweet morsels to go along with the noodles.
Beef Rendang short rib curry, steamed rice, sambal, kaffir lime, peanuts
The beef was very tender with a pretty strong, compounding heat. Beef and chili flavors stood out while the coconut milk tempered the spice while adding extra richness.
Of my few visits, this was the best meal I had at The Spice Table. To say that I’ll miss the restaurant is probably an overstatement, but I definitely don’t want to see it go. The standout from this evening was really the Vietnamese-inspired ribs…those I will miss.