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Mercer Island: anything good?

Is there any budget food place that's any good on Mercer Island?

Haven't found any pizza place much better than Domino's. I Love Pho was decent the first time, but sucked the second time. The two Thai places are nothing to write home about. Haven't tried Chinese yet, but heard they suck. Bennett's is way too pricey for what they give you. Even the Qdoba here is substandard... they're so stingy on portions compared to most other locations.

If there's any low-to-mid priced place that's reliably good on the Island, pls share!

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  1. I like Stopsky's Deli. In my blissful ignorance of "REAL" New York pastrami, I quite like theirs. YMMV (it does get mixed reviews here).

    I had dinner the other night at the Village Inn, which had pretty decent pub food and some tasty house cocktails.

    1. I have a soft spot for The Roanoake Roadhouse.

      1. Recently moved to the island, so here are my thoughts.

        Stopsky's is consistently disappointing. I love the bagels, and breakfast there was pretty good, but everything else has been pretty weak. They are trying to reinvent the Jewish deli, but you need your food to be at least as good as a cheap deli to do it. The pastrami was awful... The whitefish was like a tuna fish salad with cod... The pickles even tasted bad. I like the concept and the people there, so I'll keep trying them, but with lower expectations.

        The new Pho place, Phobulous, was really good on my first try. Haven't tried I Luv Pho yet.

        I like the north end sushi place, Sushi Joa, a lot better than the south end one.

        The fish & chips place is pretty good, and The Islander does "bar & grill" food pretty well.

        Mo's Pizza is good, but far better places are only 15 min away off island.

        Seven Stars Chinese is better than your average Chinese place, but anything in Factoria is going to beat it.

        Haven't been to the Roanoke Inn yet. Same for Bennett's although I've heard good things about both. Waiting to find a babysitter for those!

        Overall, there isn't anything on the island worth traveling there for, but most places seem decent if you want to eat out. All of it is at "Island Prices" though, so cheap it ain't.

        1. Alpenland!
          Best pretzels and pretzel rolls in the area on Thursdays and Fridays (maybe just Fridays). Solid wursts for lunch (and dinner?) on other days.

          1. Thanks for the various suggestions! I should try Alpenland one of these days, although it may not be my type of food. I have actually tried Phobulous once and it was indeed good... then again I Love Pho was good the first time and sucked the second time. If this Sushi Joa place is not too expensive, then I should try it.

            I didn't think much of Mo's Pizza. I actually heard Seven Stars is terrible. Fish and chips place... is it Freshy's? If so, I think the place is way overpriced. Their fish and chips are good, but a lot of their other prepared food isn't any good.

            1. I'm going to +1 everyone who said Stopsky's is a disappointment. They make a pretty good matzo ball soup, and they do a good bagel. But the place is claiming it's a DELI, and their corned beef or pastrami is just weak, as are their mustards. I've tried to give them a fair shake, but eating there 3 times and twice for the Sunset Supper @ Pike Place has convinced me they aren't worth the effort.

              Try a place called Bennett's. Honestly, there's just not much that is going on on the island in terms of food spots. We live here for the schools, easy commute, and like-minded professional neighbours, not the restaurants. Phobulous makes a pretty good pho. Pon Proem is a decent Thai joint. Beyond that, I'm really drawing a blank as to places I consistently eat at here - usually I make the drive to either Bellevue or Seattle.

              Skip I Love Pho. Not only is the food mediocre, but the owners are a couple of deadbeats.

                1. re: tstrum

                  Hard not to just agree with this terse negative assessment, but I will try to accentuate the positive. I wrote a roundup of MI offerings some years ago but can't locate.

                  I would agree that Stopsky's meats are very inconsistent at best, though they deserve credit for efforts at offering Jewish deli with decent ingredients. The kreplach is usually good, and the pastry items above average. Pricing is gouge-level however, and if Stopsky's is serving deli sandwiches but losing business to a QFC counter, it is time to re-evalute your QPR.

                  I think Bennett's used to be more inventive than it is now. It has settled on very predictable American bistro items at ordinary levels of quality.

                  Alpenland has some interesting German foodstuffs and decent deli meats (but definitely below the level of George's Deli, Bavarian Meats, etc.). However, I find its hot food items to shy away from teutonic flavor, catering more toward the American geriatric/comfort food palate. Have not tried the pretzel rolls.

                  I Love Pho is awful: watery soup broth, over priced baseline bahn mit, bad attitudes. Have not tried Phobulous yet.

                  Freshy's (F&C) is just OK, I would say. If it were located anywhere else it would be completely unremarkable. Both M.I. pubs offer pretty much Sysco bar food, with The Islander a needle mark above utterly standard, and the Roanake being closer to the level of public school lunch fare.

                  Sushi Joa, Korean-owned sushi joint, meh. The bentos give you alot of food, I suppose. Nothing really stands out, and I find even the Korean items to be deprived of chile heat and sweetened up to cater, again, to the wealthy, heavily geriatric audience. The other teriyaki joint by Subway is more basic and probably just as good for the fundamentals.

                  Pan Proem is decent for Ameri-Thai if you get 4 stars; Jasmine is geri/whitened to the level of outrage. Mo's, Roberto's, Island Crust, any of the "Chinese" are essentially excreable. I think everything else in the I-90 commercial zone is chain.

                  1. re: equinoise

                    The quality of a pho restaurant is inversely proportional to how "clever" the owner thinks he named the restaurant. Serious offenders: "Phobulous" and "What the Pho".

                    Is there even a point to eating in Mercer Island, when it's so convenient to either drive or bus off the island and be in high quality eateries within 10-15 minutes?

                2. Alpenland has apparently shut down as of this weekend. I believe the current owners only took over the business last year.

                  Anyways, I feel bad that a local business is closing but I can't say I'll miss them, because at this point Qdoba and Starbucks are about the only places on the Island that I go to unless I'm desperate.