We’ve passed the one-month mark since Gov. Jay Inslee shut down dining rooms across the state. Some restaurateurs have been able to pivot, and embrace selling pantry items or adding takeout under an abbreviated menu. Some have added delivery, with chefs and owners driving dinners to customers themselves. Others, sadly, have closed their doors and hoped that they’ll be able to reopen on the other side.
If you’re able to during this time, please call your favorite restaurants to check in. See if you can support them in any way. Maybe they’ve started a wine club or set up a GoFundMe for staff. Maybe you can still buy a gift card. If they’re offering takeout, order directly from them. Tip big if you can afford to.
Just like you’ve settled into your new homebound routine, a lot of these restaurants have gotten things dialed in. While picking up food in Newcastle and Newport Hills, I saw curbside takeout, but I also saw signs limiting the number of people picking up food inside (and this was strictly enforced!). I had my card wiped down with a Clorox wipe after it was swiped and saw separate baskets for “sanitized” and “used” pens. I asked one person to just squiggle my name for me as a signature; he gave me a wholehearted thank you.
These restaurant owners and workers are doing their best to stay open and indulge us in our food cravings and our desires to skip doing the dishes for a night or two. Don’t forget to thank them.
And now, for three terrific options in Newcastle and Newport Hills. The unofficial theme for this week was pure comfort food.
5625 119th Ave. S.E., Bellevue; 425-590-9545; terryskitchenbellevue.com (Yes, they have a Bellevue address, but they’re right on the edge of Newcastle, so we decided this was fair game.)
Hours: 4-8 p.m. daily for curbside pickup; phone orders start at 3 p.m.
Terry’s Kitchen runs an abbreviated menu and has added a section of “comfort-sized” dishes designed to feed five to eight people. In addition, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. daily, its parking lot serves as an Eastside pickup location for dim sum from Jade Garden, located in the Chinatown International District.
Even with the abbreviated menu at Terry’s, there is plenty to choose from. The garlic chicken wings remained crispy after the drive home, as did the tonkatsu with rice and mac salad. The T’s Kitchen Sink Mix-Up is a comforting fried rice with hamburger, bacon, ham, hot links, peppers, onions and egg. It’s a slightly smoky dirty rice that goes perfectly with a side of T’s Chinatown Garlic Spareribs. These tender, crispy little ribs are addictive and wonderful even when reheated the next day.
Call in your order and give your credit card number over the phone. For pickup, just pull up to the curb in front of Terry’s. Someone will come outside and ask for your name, then they’ll run your food out to you with a slip to sign.
Tapatio Mexican Grill
6920 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., Newcastle; 425-747-0477, tapatiomexicangrill.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday; call or order online for pickup; limited delivery area
This family-friendly Mexican restaurant is also offering family-sized meals (and Michelada kits); there’s family-style nachos for four, enchilada platters, fajita platters and even vegetarian and vegan packages, portioned out for two to eight people ($20-$100). All meals come with family-style portions of creamy refried beans, Spanish rice, sour cream, chips and salsa. The basic package allows for a choice between enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas, rellenos, tacos, tostadas, or tamales; two items per person. The carne asada enchiladas remained perfect reheated, with tender steak and just the right amount of sauce. The chimichangas were still crispy, but sadly did not survive the night in the fridge. There’s no way to go wrong with chips and salsa — just don’t forget an additional order of guacamole.
There are two designated parking spots right in front of Tapatio for pickup, and the restaurant is limiting guests inside the restaurant. You can call in an order or order online; upon pickup, there are wipes as well as hand sanitizer available.
6969 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., Newcastle; 425-644-5546, yeaswok.com
Hours: lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, dinner 5-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Sunday; order online or call for pickup
Yea’s Wok closes between lunch and dinner, reopening at 5 p.m. However, the first available time for pickup is 5:30 p.m., which can cause a bit of a line to form. Word of advice: Don’t even try to enter the dining room if there is already a customer inside; you will firmly be told to wait outside. A line for pickup may form, and while you may be incredulous when faced with its length, I see it as a testament to people’s love for this little neighborhood spot.
One bite of the house combination fried rice, peppered with peas, carrots, pork, chicken and shrimp, transported me back to my college days in North Dakota, wolfing down cartons of fried rice from campus-area favorite Shangri-La. The General Tso’s chicken was still crispy despite a heavy breading and hefty amount of spicy sauce. The green beans with pork were wonderfully saucy; and although I requested the mapo tofu on the milder side, I’m sure the silky tofu and mushrooms would be just as wonderful with a much more major dose of peppercorns.