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Spices! 3 in downtown Oakland report

george | Mar 31, 2006 08:57 PM

Today was the opening day for Spices! 3 in downtown Oakland. (I am not sure about the exclamation point in the name of the restaurant, but it is on the menu) We were told that the menu is the same as the Spices on Clement. Five of us had lunch there – we had the sizzling lamb with cumin spice, dry braised green beans, rice stick stir fry with pork Taiwanese style and eggplant in garlic sauce.

All of the dishes were great. The serving sizes ranged from very adequate for the lamb to huge for the green beans. For perspective, my friends and I usually order one dish each at Shan Dong but here we wisely ordered 4 dishes for 5 of us and it was quite filling. The lamb and green beans were standouts. The lamb was exceptional – tender, flavorful and just the right balance of cumin and spices, although it could have use a little more heat for my taste. The green beans were actually better than those at Shan Dong, which are (were?) my favorites. There was complimentary hot and sour soup served. It was pretty lame – it needed more hot and more vinegar. It had a nice texture. Lunch for 5 including a tip was $43.

The place looks great, somewhat upscale. Given it was the first day, the service was okay – a little harried, but as there were so many wait staff, they were able to make up for what I feel are typical issues for any new restaurant.

One thing missing – there were no condiments on any of the tables. I would have splashed some vinegar in my soup or chili sauce on my lamb. As they were so busy and harried, I did not ask for any. One in our party had eaten at the Spices on Clement and said that the food at Spices! 3 did not seem as hot. I am sure that one can request more or less heat in the dishes, so it won’t be a problem in the future. Another observation: They provide what I have been led to believe are Japanese chopsticks – the ‘shorter’ ones. For some reason that I can’t explain, I would have preferred the longer ones or a fork, which I will ask for the next time.

Spices! 3 is open every day from noon to midnight. It was full for lunch today.

Spices! 3
369 12th Street, between Franklin and Webster
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 625-8883

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