Trying to complete my year-end posts, here are 10 Seattle-area restaurants I’d yet to report on:
- Restaurant Roux
- Crazy Pho Cajun
- Bar del Corso
- Chippy’s Fish and Drink
- Rain Shadow Meats
- Vios Cafe
- Good Bar
- Dumpling Generation
- Naan -N- Curry
- Violet Sweet Shoppe
Starting with Restaurant Roux, I can report that I enjoyed my dinner and regret that lunch service is no longer available, as Roux would be the ideal place for po’ boy sandwiches. That said, if looking for French Creole cuisine without a way to get to New Orleans, you won’t rue going to Roux. (Sorry ’bout that!)
Speaking of New Orleans-style food, I couldn’t resist a stop at the new Crazy Pho Cajun in the International District. (There’s been a Federal Way outpost of the same restaurant.) Look for the usual banh mi, vermicelli bowls, pho, and other dishes you’ll find at Vietnamese restaurants, but there’s also a Cajun section of the menu with gumbo, etouffee, and po’ boy sandwiches.
I was long overdue to get to Beacon Hill to try Bar del Corso, a pleasant neighborhood spot. The main draw is the assortment of wood-fired pizzas, but the small plates, salads, and salumi are also high-quality.
Hark! Another new Ethan Stowell restaurant. This time it’s Chippy’s Fish and Drink, somehow carved into the food-filled Kolstrand building in Ballard. A more casual affair, the quality remains what I’ve come to expect from Stowell, which is quite consistent (and quite high). Here are some samples from a media event I attended.
An Amtrak train trip gave me the perfect excuse to finally visit Rain Shadow Meats in Pioneer Square. This full-service butchery is very impressive, with gorgeous cuts of locally raised meats. It’s here that I came to a realization that despite my love of pork and my love of fat (in general), I’m not the biggest fan of porchetta. (Dare I proclaim that?) My porchetta sandwich was high quality, but I think the varying amounts of salt and fat in porchetta have led me to slight disappointment too many times. That said, I’m anxious to return to Rain Shadow sometime to try some of their other sandwiches.
Vios Cafe is the veteran restaurant on this list of ten. I ventured in (for the first time) for brunch one weekend, and enjoyed a cup of the soup of the day (some sort of bean soup, I recall) before tucking in to one of my favorite breakfast dishes: shakshuka. This one had a little chili pepper bite to it, but wasn’t as hearty and delicious as the version Tasty n Sons serves in Portland. Still, a pleasant place to enjoy brunch, especially at the front corner table with the light streaming in.
As “old” as Vios is, Good Bar in Pioneer Square is new. Housed in the old Japanese Commercial Bank space, you can see the massive vault doors right behind the bar. The setting is splendid and it appears to indeed be a “good bar” for a drink at any time of day. And some simple, good bites as well.
North of Seattle in Edmonds is the intriguingly named Dumpling Generation. To be fair, I’ve only had the following two bites, which were decent but not quite compelling enough to warrant a return visit. Still, it might be worth exploring the dumplings, noodles, fried rice, and more found on the elegant (really, it’s quite fancy) Chinese menu.
The Naan -N- Curry chain has made its way north from San Francisco, bringing Pakistani and Indian flavors to Renton. Friends from the Bay Area had raved about the food, so I finally had the chance to stop in for lunch. Specials include the usual meat choices of tikka masala, korma, tandoori, and the like, plus a number of vegetarian options.
Finally, for some reason I found myself in Laurelhurst one day and decided upon dessert at a vegan bakery. I’d heard good things about the Violet Sweet Shoppe (now also open in Phinney Ridge) and wanted to see for myself if I could satisfy my sweet tooth. The nice folks took time to explain their favorite desserts and what made them vegan, and it was a nice enough place to stay for a bite and a beverage.