What a great city for Asian food! From super sushi restaurants to fantastic pho joints, we’re never more than a stone’s throw away from great noodles, rice dishes and other treats from the east. Selecting the top five Asian restaurants is a big challenge, but here’s my current cream of the crop (in no particular order).
Bamboo Garden: Chinese food in Seattle is primarily Cantonese, which I find a bit boring (and don’t get me started on the dismal state of dim sum). So I send you over to the Eastside, where you can find some spicy Szechuan fare. Bamboo Garden, with its “Walk on the Wild Side” Menu, just edges out Szechuan Chef. My pick: a dish called “The other parts of the pig” (pictured).
Joule: Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang make magic at this “East meets West” restaurant with strong Korean influence. I’ve enjoyed beef tongue kimchi, spicy beef soup, and chocolate covered liver mousse—and I’m always excited to see what they’ll work up next. Sit at the counter for an eye-opening and mouth-watering experience.
Green Leaf: There’s endless debate about Tamarind Tree versus Green Leaf. Tamarind Tree’s got a broader menu and classier atmosphere, so it’s nicer for a formal outing, but Green Leaf’s casual feel and sweet service makes it my charming choice. The lotus root salad and duck soup are among my favorite dishes.
Malay Satay Hut: I go bonkers for the bold flavors here. So many must-order dishes: roti canai, dry-curries baby squid, pork chops, mango chicken or shrimp, belachan green beans. Really, you can’t go wrong here. Avocado smoothies help counter the heat if you can’t handle it! (NOTE: Per my 3/25/10 posting, the quality has sadly slipped, and I’d no longer include Malay Satay Hut in this list of top Asian restaurants.)
Kisaku: Forget about spicy tuna and California rolls. When I’m looking for high-quality fish, I turn to Nakano-san at Kisaku. Order omakase and he’ll take good care of you. Bincho maguro zuke (soy-marinated albacore) and hotate konbu jime (kelp-marinated scallop) demonstrate the skills of this superb sushi chef.
Cross-posted on Examiner, where I was asked to tally this top five.