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May 6, 2011 01:38 PM

Pop-up restaurants

Has anyone been to Malafacha night at Sitka & Spruce? How about The Shophouse at Licorous or the San Luis Potosi dinners at the Varsity Inn? Spring Hill seems to have stopped doing a special menu on Monday altogether.

Are any other restaurants doing this sort of thing in Seattle right now? I still miss my weekly trips to Tako Truk, but the Madison Park Conservatory is a worthy consolation prize.

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  1. Dinette has been doing themed prix-fixe Sunday Suppers (that have nothing to do with their regular menu) on an irregular basis for several years now. They send invites to an email list (sign-up is on their website,

    1. Shophouse is full of really tasty treats and the cocktails, of course, are darn good. They are serving a few items on Wednesdays at the Columbia City Farmer's Market if you like to walk and eat.

      5 Replies
      1. re: tsquare

        Another view of Shophouse - Overpriced, Under-seasoned and Disappointing. After doing some research, we were very excited to try them and had hoped it would approach some of the Thai food we had while living in LA. We were disappointed in finding a great idea gone wrong with bland, under-seasoned food and prices that didn't fit in with the portions. We would have been fine with the portion had the food been decent. It wasn't.

        We could have gone on an off night I suppose... who knows.

        We REALLY wanted to like this place/concept.

        1. re: tykapfh

          We thought the food was pretty good and fairly reasonably priced for the portion sized. It was quite similar to the food we had in Thailand-light, refreshing, simple. It was nice to have, especially in contrast to the heavy hand that most local restaurants use on their 'Thai food'

          1. re: dagoose

            I ended up going tonight. The fried rice and congee were excellent, the former featuring a nice balance of sweet, savory, pungent, and sour and the latter being contrasting with fried chicken and pickled radishes. The pork spare ribs were also tasty, but nobody was a big fan of the fish cakes. They tasted almost entirely of the spices, defeating the purpose of using salmon rather than a cheaper, milder fish.

            Nothing was terribly spicy, but I didn't find the dishes bland. The flavors are well balanced and there is a lot of emphasis on contrasts (subtle or otherwise). Now to get around to visiting Sitka & Spruce on a Monday.

            1. re: lavaca

              I also had the shrimp paste fried rice (khao kluk kapi), and I thought it was delicious. Well-balanced and full of textures, but I can see how some may find it underseasoned if they have a different set of expectations.

              I was born and raised in LA, and I've never seen khao kluk kapi offered in a US restaurant until I tried Shophouse. I think the beauty of pop-up restaurants and their ilk is that they allow chefs, cooks, and culinary artisans to make food without the restrictive condition of catering to a wide demographic. These are dishes that for whatever reason are deemed too "out-there" or "niche" for mainstream diners, and thus restaurants don't think it's worth the time or effort to have it on their menu. Of course, Chowhounds like us seek out interesting eating experiences, so it's a natural fit for us.

              I just moved to Seattle, so if anyone knows of similar pop-up restaurants or underground dinners, I'd love to hear about them.

              1. re: humanbagel

                I know of some people doing underground dinners. If you email
                You may be able to get on their list.

      2. Tell us more of this Varsity Inn business...I enjoy very much the San Luis Potosi recipes from Kennedy's Cuisines of Mexico.

        Varsity Inn Restaurant
        1801 N 34th St, Seattle, WA 98103

        1 Reply
        1. I was just reading about Little Uncle at La Bete. Basically another company took the name Shophouse. From the Stranger ...

          Little Uncle is a pop-up Thai restaurant brought to you by Lark sous chef Wiley Frank and his wife, Poncharee Kounpungchart, also known as PK (and also a chef). Little Uncle used to happen at Licorous, before it closed (and became a new bar called Canon); Little Uncle also used to be called Shophouse, before national burrito chain Chipotle expropriated that name (for their new Asian concept). Whatever: Little Uncle has a new home, on Monday nights at La Bête. If you go eat Little Uncle’s superlative Thai food, you will not regret it. (La Bête, 1802 Bellevue Ave,, 5 pm–11 pm


          31827 Pacific Hwy S Ste A, Federal Way, WA 98003

          La Bete
          1802 Bellevue Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

          1 Reply
          1. re: klsalas

            Little Uncle f/k/a Shophouse has opened a small take-out stall with a few tables at 1509 Madison. My family and I stopped by today, and enjoyed everything we tried: steamed buns with beef cheek; kao soi; and (the special) dungeness crab sauteed with yellow curry powder, chinese celeray, egg and crab viscera. This last dish made for the best lunch I've had this year, IIRC. Sure, it's not "Thai hot," (though you can add chili as you wish), but it's full of seasonal items and good flavor.

            We had been missing them at the farmer's market this year; they confirmed today that they are out of that scene.