Spice Kit is a contemporary Asian fusion eatery located in the modern Orrick building in the Financial District. When it first opened, it caused quite a stir in the foodie scene in San Francisco. Who could resist the lure of eating a meal created by names associated with the giants of the culinary industry such as Will Pacio, formerly of the French Laundry and Per Se, and Chef Fred Tang of the Ritz Carlton?
Spice Kit is not a fancy dine-in restaurant nor a "mom and pop." The decor is contemporary and minimalist. It has a very high loft-like ceiling and plenty of casual table for sitting down. Or go out in the sun and eat your meal al fresco at the lovely courtyard.
The menu is short: chicken, beef or tofu which you can choose as a fillings for bahn mi, Ssam (wrap) or plate (same as the wrap minus the rice paper.)
On my first visit I could not resist ordering almost half of the short menu:
LOTUS CHIPS: $1.50 They were like Asian potato chips. Supposed to Be crispy but what I had was a mixed bag of not so crunchy and greasy chips. Some of the chips were slightly burnt. Glad I tried them but will not get them again.
BEEF SHORTRIBS SSAM: $7.50: AKA Korean Wrap. This wrap resembled a burrito but instead of tortilla the kimchi rice was wrapped in fresh rice paper. The kimchi rice did not overwhelm the dish. The generous pieces of beef were marinated in Korean marinade sauce and was very tender. Other ingredients were cucumber, lettuce and beans sprouts. This wrap was humongous! It's was like eating a hand-held bibimbap.
PORK BUN 2 for $5 or $2.95 each: Thick, juicy, tender pork belly in an Asian bun with hoisin sauce, pickled cucumber and green onion. Fun to eat and delicious! Smallish appetizer portion. I can eat 6 of these in one seating!
If I wanted authentic pork bun, I would to a more traditional restaurant in Chinatown or a fine dining dim sum restaurant. If I wanted Bibimbap, I will go to a Korean restaurant where I can get my bibimbap in a hot stone pot plus ban chan.
So, in my book, Spice Kit is not only okay but good. The dishes are creative, filling and tasty. The prices might be higher but the portions are generous and ingredients are of better quality --than say, Chinatown.
And for this reason, I decided not to try the banh mi at Spice Kit. Working not far from Saigon Sandwich, I just could not get myself to not only pay $8 for a banh mi when I know I could get an super-delicious authentic banh mi in the TL for a little over $3!
Spice Kit is a good lunch place and I will be returning to try the tofu Ssam and eat more of the pork buns!
CHECK: $15 for 2 pork buns, Beef Ssam and Lotus Chips
Foodie Girl's Rating: 3 Stars
Key:0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Some are good. Some are okay. Some are bad.
3 Stars: Like! I will return!
4 Stars: Love! I will be dreaming of you at night!
5 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)