Drive down one of the left two lanes of 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle, and you might not notice something called the “Global Food Garden” that’s grown at the intersection with Bell Street. That’s where Geogy Chacko has opened a number of little restaurants, most recently the flagship known as FAR-EATS.
From his website: “Gone are the familiar names of Indian dishes. Gone also are the predictable wines. Instead you will find Geogy inspired marinades, ingredients, and sauces paired with an exciting list of carefully selected wines with over 50% from Washington.”
Chacko draws upon influences from Kerala, a state in the southwestern part of India, where beef is served (the state is 30% Christian, though note Halal meat is available) and a wide variety of spices are deployed. Heat is not the objective; Chacko will cook to your desired level, but suggests medium-range spice to enjoy all of the flavors.
Don’t despair if you don’t recognize dishes on the menu (somewhat confusing in its sections like “soup,” “shared,” and “saucy,” though these things are getting ironed out), as Chacko is frequently on the floor of the restaurant and is happy to help with descriptions and recommendations. He’s full of information, and when you listen to him, you realize there’s great potential for culinary education at FAR-EATS.
I enjoyed a chance to try a wide variety of dishes and found the flavors fascinating. Read on for photos and further information…
Curried mussels: Penn Cove mussels in a soy curry cream sauce. From the soup section, this Indo-Chinese dish has ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and Parmesan cheese.
Cilantro calamari: chickpea batter-fried calamari with cilantro aioli. These are not intended to be crisp. Nice dipping sauce.
Regular naan. Perfect for sopping up the sauces.
Mango prawns: jumbo black tiger prawns roasted with elephant garlic and glazed with mango chutney. Perfectly cooked.
Tamarind white: cubes of white fish (swai) marinated in tamarind chili paste and flamed in the tandoor.
Lamb chops: mustard vinaigrette-marinated lamb chops cooked on an open flame. Not bad, but perhaps my least favorite dish of the meal.
Goat chili: chunks of goat stewed with red beans and “mountain spicing.”
Chicken pistachio: breast of chicken finished in almond pistachio cream sauce. The chicken is a little tougher texture (which I actually prefer) than in the butter chicken.
Butter chicken: tandoor-cooked chicken tikka smothered in a tomato-butter sauce. The chicken is a very soft texture, partly due to the yogurt marination, but also because the tandoor is 500 degrees, searing the chicken so the juices stay inside.
Eggplant Bombay: fillet of eggplant layered with spinach, mushroom, paneer–grilled and finished in a tomato-butter sauce. Interesting flavors.
Kabuli flat bread, stuffed with almond, cashew, cherries, and raisins. A little sweet for my preferred style of naan.
Malabar chicken: cubes of chicken curried with fresh roasted coconut and herbs. Note that this is not made with coconut milk/water, but with roasted, shredded coconut.
Malabar lamb, similar to the chicken dish, but tried this one at a high spice level (though it wasn’t too spicy).
Mango cheesecake with Alphonso mango and ginger blended in. Lighter than it looks.