Given that it has been a couple months since my first visit, I wanted to give Spice Kit another try. I actually met one of the owners through some mutual friends and they suggested I come back. In fact, he told us that we should never go to a restaurant immediately after an opening, because most restaurants are usually still working out their kinks. Since it was Pdho and myself, we were able to order more food to try this time around. Not only was I anxious to have Pdho taste the food, but I was hoping that his pictures would provide a better representation of the food than my poor photographing skills did the first time I went on my own.
We started out with the Steamed Pork Buns which I thought were pretty good the first time (even though the picture didn’t do it justice). The pork meat was tender, juicy and extremely flavorful. The pickled cucumbers and scallions added a nice contrast flavors with the hoisin sauce. Additionally, I thought the bun to pork ratio was just right. A definite must try!
The Ssam, which we ordered with beef short ribs, was new to me. I liken it to Korean burrito where tortilla, beans, and salsa are replaced with rice paper roll, bean sprouts, cucumbers, kimchi and some special Ssam sauce. No doubt, considering how stuff it looked (particularly with rice), it was very filling, but I was pleasantly surprised with how tasty it was. The beef short ribs was especially delicious, being well-marinaded and nicely cooked. There was a good balance of protein, vegetables and carbs, and I truly believe it would easily feed me for two meals.
I revisited the Banh Mi with Roasted Pork, and it was much better this time around mainly because it was richly filled with deliciously seasoned roasted pork, perfectly pickled carrots and a hefty helping of pate. It was fantastic! The first time I had the sandwich, I felt a little bit cheated, because not only did the Banh Mi lack the filling warranting its $8.25 price tag but it also failed to satisfy my appetite. This time around, the baguette to filling ratio was much more in balance. The bread was nice and crunchy, and even though neither of the proprietors are Vietnamese, they have done a great job of taking this Vietnamese sandwich to a more refined level.
The Beef Short Rib Rice Bowl was essentially everything in the Ssam without the rice paper wrap. Although the Ssam is good, I think I prefer it prepared this way… mainly because it’s not as messy to eat. However, all the ingredients are there and when mixed together, it still is just as delicious. I really have to say that the best part of this dish are the beef short ribs. The meat is so juicy and tender! It’s truly excellent!
All in all, I’m quite happy with the concept of the eatery and quality of the food. It definitely caters more to FiDi crowd that surrounds this place especially during lunch time, but I’m very grateful that they stay open until 8:30pm so I can stop by on my way home from work to grab a quick and tasty dinner.
405 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94105
PAFO Ratings for Spice Kit:
Price 1½ stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars