The Amazon and Microsoft workers who flood the streets of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood every day at lunch time have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to food choices, from polished sit-down restaurants to soup-and-sandwich shops to food trucks.
And now there’s the spunky, Asian-inspired Kigo Kitchen, where steaming yakisoba noodles and rice stir-fries are served for $9 or less. The restaurant was co-founded by Seattle native and company CEO Steve Hooper, who launched the only other Kigo Kitchen location last year in Boston, back when he was working toward his MBA at Dartmouth and thinking about how to bring the “fast-casual” dining concept made popular by chains like Chipotle to Asian food.
The menu: The menu features a lineup of “Chef’s Choice” dishes, including chicken in a garlic lemon-grass sauce on white rice ($8.49), tofu on yakisoba noodles with peanut-hoisin sauce ($7.49), pork with pineapple-tamarind sauce over brown rice ($8.49) and chili-citrus steak on baby Asian greens ($8.99).
But you can also assemble your own dish from lists of bases, proteins, sauces and vegetables that vary in price depending on the topping. Steak entrees are $8.99; chicken and pork entrees are $8.49; tofu and edamame meals are $7.49, and a topping of veggies-only costs $6.49.
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What to write home about: The tender pulled pork in pineapple-tamarind sauce ($8.49) delivered a beautifully balanced yet intense marriage of sweet and sour. What to skip: The chili-citrus sauce on my dinner companion’s tofu and noodle stir-fry ($7.49) is supposed to give you a “kickin” blast of spicy orange and ginger, but only a hint of orange came through. A dash of complimentary fire sauce, house-made with a multicultural blend of chilies, helped, though.
The setting: With a high ceiling and the restaurant’s logo splattered whimsically on the walls, Kigo Kitchen is exuberantly stylish.
Summing up: Yakisoba noodles stir-fried with spicy pork in a pineapple-tamarind sauce and baked tofu with yakisoba noodles in a chili-citrus sauce, along with a bottled tea and ginger-ale fountain drink came to $22.41 including tax.