Not so much Spice

Dinner tonight at Spice Modern Steakhouse, just a block down the street from Karl and Susan’s condo.  We called ahead, because after all it’s Friday night, and they said if we hurried right down immediately we could get a table.

So we jumped up, slipped into our shoes and hot-footed it to the restaurant.  They gave us a table on the back deck, overlooking Lake Eola, out in the evening breezes.  We did notice one important thing, though.

See the crowds filling all the tables?  I didn't, either.

See the crowds filling all the tables? I didn’t, either.

That’s right–the place is empty.  They just lied about needing to hurry in.  Karl and Susan live here; they’re regulars.  The hostess should know better than to lie to them.  Karl doesn’t forget. Strike One

The concept of this restaurant is strange. They advertise as a steak house, and they have a sushi bar.  I think they need to decide what they want to be, because they can’t do both.

We ordered.  There was much confusion.  They have chili.  Or maybe they don’t. They do!  No, they don’t!  Eventually, we got an order in, but then the waiter had to come back because he hadn’t gotten Gail’s order down right.

The wedge salad came.  It was good:

A big ol' hunk of lettuce, blue cheese dressing, tomatoes and bacon.  1950 is calling and it wants its salad back.

A big ol’ hunk of lettuce, blue cheese dressing, tomatoes and bacon. 1950 is calling and it wants its salad back.

We ordered the edamame, and liked it.  Steaming hot with just the right amount of sea salt.

We ordered the chicken-spinach flatbread.  It was so-so.

I ordered the warm goat cheese and cranberry spinach salad.

Warm goat cheese and cranberry spinach salad.

Goat cheese and cranberry spinach salad, not warm

I got a plate of pretty good salad, replete with cheese, cranberries, spinach and glazed walnuts.  Everything about it was good except for one thing—no warmth.  I think it’s just the cheese that is supposed to be warm, but it wasn’t.  Did the chef forget?  Did it sit on the counter too long and cool off?  I can’t tell.  I just know that I ordered a warm salad and got a cold one.  Strike Two.

Gail ordered a hamburger, medium rare.  She got a hamburger, well done.  Karl’s burger was medium rare, why couldn’t they both be? Strike Three, but not out yet.

The manager came over when Gail told a busser about the burger.  He wanted to make it right, but in his mind that meant cooking another burger.  Gail wanted to eat with us, no wait 10 minutes for another plate.  It took her quite a few tries to disabuse the manager of the concept of just replacing her meal and instead of comping it.  I don’t think he was really listening.  Strike four.

Karl wanted a slice of onion with his burger.  One, single, simple, whole slice of onion.  This turned out to be impossible to achieve.  They brought him a single ring of onion.  They brought him many rings of onion, but could not wrap their heads around the concept of a single, complete slice.  If you can’t master the simple things, how can anyone expect you to be good at the hard stuff?  Strike five.

I ordered a rainbow roll from the sushi bar.  They served it at the same time as my salad.  Who eats his entree and his salad simultaneously?  I eat things sequentially, like most people do.  Strike six.

A rainbow roll is a California roll with slices of various raw fish on top.  A California roll is comprised of crab, cucumber and avocado.  Spice uses krab, not crab.  That’s the processed fish substitute that costs less.  Because it’s worth less.  Or worthless.  Krab comes in either long sticks, presumably like the meat from a king crab leg, or all shredded up, like the meat you pick from a Dungeness crab.  The shredded up kind is much better, both in taste and in texture.  Spice used the long solid chunk version.  Why would a pricey joint on the lake use the cheap version of the cheap substitute of the real thing?  Because they don’t give a damn, that’s why.  Strike seven.

Four year old kids playing tee-ball don’t get seven strikes, and I’m sure as hell not willing to give a hip, slick and cool downtown lakeside hot spot seven strikes.  Spice Modern Steakhouse is out of the game as far as I’m concerned.

Spice Modern Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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