Despite the French Laundry and Per Se kitchen credentials of Spice Kit Chef Fred Tang and founder Will Pacio, hounds were disappointed when the restaurant first opened a couple months ago, offering what it called "authentic Asian street foods made with farm-fresh ingredients." Initial reports were that the food skimped on flavor.
But balabanian gave Spice Kit another try recently and was more favorably impressed. The menu is built around fillings that can go in a Vietnamese sandwich, a leafy wrap, or a salad. Chicken banh mi is "very tasty, flavorful, and far superior to the salad I had the other day." Tofu banh mi is good too, with "very strongly seasoned, tasty" tofu. Vegetables are superfresh, but there could be more of them. Vietnamese iced coffee, on the other hand, isn't strong enough. Roasted pork and homemade pâté banh mi is awesome, says hhc, the Niman Ranch pork nice and juicy, paired with a small smear of pâté.
Still, even after a recent try, vulber feels the value doesn't measure up: "If I'm going to pay all that extra money for sustainable ingredients, I want to notice an improvement in taste, and not just a placebo feel-good effect."
Sandwiches are $7 to $8, and other options include five-spice chicken and grilled pork belly.
Spice Kit [SOMA]
405 Howard Street, San Francisco