Boston Chowhound hits Seattle for a few days
Hit Top Gun to see how bad Dim Sum was around here. Congee was good..tasty w/ lots of ingredients. Chef's special shrimp plate was good but overpriced (4 shrimp in marnier sauce for $6). Shrimp purse was good since it was fresh off the fryer. Baked char siu bao was horrible...the sauce was a thick almost american BBQ sauce consistency. Got there too early on Saturday (10:30) and it didn't get busy enough for fresh food until 11:30 on Saturday. Food was roughly a notch below China Pearl in Boston.
Hit Ray's Boathouse in Shilso for dinner. Mussels in red curry sauce was very tasty. Dungeness crab cakes over pesto mashed potatoes was good but the cajun spiced red rockfish over corn polenta w/ pepper/ones so it was almost a chili sauce taste was better. The chocolate razzle dazzle cake was way too dry and wasn't worth it. The views were awesome as was the walk through what has to be the biggest marina I've ever seen.
Tried Jade Garden in the ID. Much better food. The char siu soh was awesome. The fun goh was very tasty as was the shrimp dumplings. The XLBs weren't worth it because all the liquid leaked out. Definitely a notch above China Pearl in Boston, but the place was a zoo. I wish it were bigger and the chinatown in Seattle always looks dumpy w/ horribly parking.
Tried Wasabi Bistro for dinner. Major thumbs down if you want sushi done properly. The knifework is worse than when I do it...uneven slices, weird shaped, etc. The amberjack was slightly fishy smelling (sushi should never smell fishy). The rolls (dungeness crab, wasabi, and one more I can't remember) we tried were good but smaller than expected. It seems like a "hip" place to hang out but that's about it. Probably should have tried Shiro down the street instead.
Had the chocolate chip brioche and cinnamon scone an Bakery Nouveau for lunch. Both excellent, but no surprise given the obvious amount of butter used...not that it's a bad thing w/ french pastries ;-) The red currant chocolate cake was also good w/ a nice taste of currant on top of mousse. Also checked out the farmer's market nearby. You guys are really spoiled...the stuff is a magnitude better than what we get in Boston :-P
Had dinner at the 3rd Floor Fish Cafe in Kirkland. Shrimp over polenta appetizer was tasty but slightly salty. The salmon over couscous and beets was good but the most memorable one the green curry seafood risotto w/ chunks of various types of seafood. The mango rice pudding was unmemorable...it needed a lot more coconut and mango flavor; it comes out upside down from the menu description w/ the mango chunks on the bottom and it would have been better on top.
Had breakfast at George's Diner in Kirkland. The corinthian omelette was interesting...almost a gyro in an omelette. Belgian waffles were fluffy and french toast was great as well.
Dinner was at Seastar in Bellevue. We were a bit underdressed after hiking Little Si mountain, so we ate at the bar. Service was a bit slow after the waitress forgot our menus and orders, but the calamari poppers were ok (they're calamari wrapped around tuna but the tuna tasted like spicy sausage). The planked salmon was good but somewhat small for the price. The tuna on pesto mashed potatoes was good but the tuna was probably a bit overcooked though the pesto mashed potatoes were a good concept. The banana eggroll sundae with vanilla/orange/caramel ice cream was very tasty if you like the taste of ripe bananas and caramel.
We enjoyed staying in Kirkland (last time we only stayed in Seattle at a flubbed Warwick Hotel stay and hated the dumpiness of Seattle).
Part 2 will be in Portland...
Spike, next time try Noble Court in Bellevue or O'Asian in downtown Seattle if you are looking for dimsum that is closer in quality to China Pearl in Boston than either Jade Garden or Top Gun. Better congee at Mike's Noodle House in CHinatown (Top GUn's congee is too greasy and not as silky as Mike's). Also for sushi try Nishino instead of Wasabi Bistro (or save your pennies for O-Ya in Boston). FOrget about finding xlb in Seattle.
I was wondering if Cafe Juanita was really that good...the menu just seemed ok but the presentation pics on their web site looked great. That was the night we hit Seastar instead.
FWIW, I think Seattle's food is far more creative than Portland's so far...two nights of just ok dinners that were fairly expensive :-P