For a restaurant named for its fish cakes, Belltown’s new Thai eatery doesn’t limit itself to the sea, offering delicious options even for those who pale at scales and tails.
Located on a sleepy section of Fourth Avenue, Fish Cake Factory opened in October under wife-and-husband duo Jo and Arnon Kaseter and chef Vimonsri Wongjaraen, who previously ran the kitchen at Bai Tong.
The menu plays on Wongjaraen’s specialty for Thai fish cakes, though diners shouldn’t miss her rich curries and spins on more traditional fare.
The menu: A first-timer might opt for the sampler plate ($16.95) of 10 two-bite cakes, ranging from crab cake with house-made tartar sauce to the traditional tod mun pla, made from ladyfish paste and kaffir lime leaf and served with a sweet chili sauce. (Ladyfish is a bony fish found generally in warmer waters that makes an excellent fish paste.) Fearful of fish paste? Alternatives include taro (vegetarian), pork and catfish cakes.
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Other entrees include garlicky black pepper prawns ($14.95), a fiery salmon panang curry ($14.95) and various stir-fried “delights” or curries with your choice of meat or tofu ($7.95-$10.95). A side order of tom ka chicken soup ($6.95, and can be split for two) or fried rice ($8.95-$12.95) makes for a filling meal.
Fish Cake Factory offers smaller, quicker lunch options, but lunch-goers can order from the dinner menu, too.
What to write home about: When the fish is fresh, the crispy trout salad ($14.95) can’t be beat. A salad of julienne carrots, green apple and red onion in a lime and fish-sauce dressing is heaped on a whole fried trout in what is surely the most healthful fried food I have ever eaten.
The setting: The restaurant’s handsome look is the work of Jo Kaseter, whose eye for interior design is reflected in the dark reclaimed-wood floors, stone-topped bar and charming touches of this neighborly joint.
Summing up: The sampler plate ($16.95), crab fried rice ($12.95), tom ka chicken soup ($6.95) and Lopez Island Creamery ice cream ($4.95) came to $41.80 before tax and tip.
Katrina Barlow: 206-464-3251 or firstname.lastname@example.org