Dish: Bollywood Yakisoba
Place: Root Table, Ballard
On the plate: Per the menu: “Stir fried Indian yellow curry with fresh egg noodles, chicken (beef or tofu), carrot, pepper, basil, green bean, mushroom and onion.” I ordered mine with beef, and in addition to the listed vegetables, this preparation included cabbage and broccoli.
Supporting cast/What to do: Just dig in.
Noodling around: Root Table’s Bollywood Yakisoba is a twist on the popular Japanese dish. Yaki means fried and soba means noodle (the generic noodle, not the buckwheat soba noodle). In Japan, the noodle dish is typically made with pork, stir-fried with carrots, onions, and cabbage. This version left out the typical Japanese flavoring from yakisoba sauce (a thicker, sweeter variety of Worcestershire), aonori (seaweed flakes), beni shoga (strips of pickled ginger), and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). To change it up and achieve the Indian fusion, Root Table added a few vegetables and yellow curry, which infused the dish with decent heat. The stir-fried egg noodles were cut short as if for a child, which I found frustrating to eat, but the flavors were good.
Given the Bollywood name, I was half hoping for a song-and-dance number with delivery of my noodles. That didn’t happen.
But in a Bollywood-like, melodramatic twist of fate slash reversal of fortune, my dining companion got the better noodle dish: Burmese Noodle Curry. Picture pretty much the same vegetables (she changed to chicken for the meat) in a yellow curry soup. The grilling of the chicken was a nice touch, adding smokiness, and the addition of crisp noodles on top added contrast to the soft egg noodles. As the menu said, the broth was rich, silky and delightful to finish. At $9, the Burmese Noodle Curry was good to the last drop, offering paisa vasool (“money’s worth”).
If you want more: There’s an interesting tapas menu full of potential starters. Lemongrass Chicken Lollipops, Thai Bruschetta, and Sweet Pumpkin Tempura are all tempting, with Cajun Calamari looking just a little out of place. But you might find the Root Fries ($5) most fetching. These seasoned, hand-cut root vegetables (think taro, sweet potato, and the like) are deep-fried and served with homemade spicy ketchup.
Be aware/beware: This is one of the most pleasant places for Asian food at this price point. No Bollywood tunes, but chill music to relax by, and an earthy, warm atmosphere. Carved wood-slabs form the table tops, and some of the seats are tree stumps–though they can get a little uncomfortable if you want to linger for too long.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on February 6, 2012.