In my quest to find a reliably good, not-too-expensive place to eat on the UWS (the closer to the Met the better), I decided to give Epices a try a couple of nights ago, with my parents and BF in tow. I am happy to say we picked a winner (thanks to all you hounds!).
The restaurant is cute and homey, service prompt and efficient. We ordered an epices salad and crabcakes to start - the salad was tasty and fresh with an interesting dressing, crab cakes were just so-so (too much filler for me). My mother and I both ordered the b'stilla as our entree, which was uniquely delicious - a phyllo pie filled with chicken and various spices. I could have done without the sprinkle of powdered sugar on top, although it grew on me after a few bites. BF had the grilled platter of lamb chops and merguez sausages (both excellent) with terrific frites on the side. My father had a nice earthy saffron shrimp and scallops dish that he thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall, I think this is an excellent choice for a pre-opera meal. The prices were a bit higher than I was expecting (everything was $3-$5 more than it was on menupages), but still fairly reasonable and certainly on the inexpensive side for the neighborhood. Portions were very generous - I could have done without the appetizers entirely and still been full. Nothing life changing, but if you're in the mood for something a little different and you're on the UWS, give them a try!