More than half of the new restaurant openings this season are around the Capitol Hill area and in North Seattle. Lots of fast-casual spots and restaurants set up with takeout in mind. The surprise newcomer this season is a Chinese restaurant along Lake City Way that has gotten buzz for its soup dumplings and handmade noodles. Read on.
For the carnivores among us, chef Heong Soon Park’s Meet Korean BBQ on Capitol Hill showcases just high-grade cuts, from wagyu beef to Kurobuta pork. The marinated meat, which gets its smoky aroma from the wood-fired oven in the front, is then finished at your table. Servers cook your meat tableside so you don’t have to. Park, who serves some of the best Korean fried chicken wings at his subterranean spot, Chan, at Pike Place Market, will also offer those signature wings at his new restaurant. With a large bar — nearly 30 seats — Meet Korean BBQ will expand its bar-snack offering for the happy-hour and late-night crowds in the coming weeks.
Tamales are seemingly appearing on menus more frequently all around Seattle, especially with the arrival of Plaza Latina Real inside HT Oaktree Market and spots such as Outlaw Tamales getting buzz. The latest place to give it a go is the Everett restaurant A & A Cafe & Tamaleria, with its expansion to Broadway East, hawking both savory tamales (pork, beef, chicken, jalapeno-cheese and squash-sautéed zucchini) and sweet versions (pineapple, mango or strawberry). They also have hard cider on tap.
Three blocks north sits Star, an Asian-fusion bistro that features beef tongue in ponzu sauce and miso pork, along with a lineup of ramen and poke.
For your sweet indulgence, Batch Baking Company on Capitol Hill makes its own version of Oreos, Nutter Butters and fortune cookies. They also make a mean chocolate chip cookie. Batch Baking’s Nutter Butters, by the way, are the second best peanut-butter-sandwich cookies in Seattle after the version at Dahlia Bakery. That Tom Douglas cookie is also a favorite of the late, great Nora Ephron.
A block south, Seoul Bowl, a fast-casual spot across from Seattle University, has set up a format that lets customers build their own Korean barbecue bowl, with bulgogi, spicy pork, Korean barbecue chicken or deep-fried tofu. You get unlimited kimchi and other toppings with that. Also, you can get sides of pot stickers and Korean fried chicken wings. Seoul Bowl, which started as a food truck, is one of the better fast-casual rice-bowl spots to debut in King County in recent months.
Sweet Alchemy, the sweet stop for organic ice cream, opens its third branch, in Chophouse Row in the former Kurt Farm Shop space.
Jardin Tea serves lobster and Cajun crawfish banh mis, and on weekends you can make reservations for afternoon tea service. Look for expanded hours once Jardin Tea gets its liquor license. The tea house is located north of Pacific Place.
Gyro & More has opened by Lake Union, near the Facebook office.
In West Seattle, the neighborhood seems overjoyed over the opening of Grillbird Teriyaki.
In North Seattle, the soup dumplings at Mount & Bao (10 for $12.99) have been drawing crowds, but don’t overlook its hand-pulled noodles in spicy sauce. The noodle house sits along the commercial strip of Lake City Way.
In Pinehurst, The Unique Cafe & Wine Restaurant does pasta and pizza, and on Fridays and Saturdays, it runs a $22 prime-rib special with sides and a choice of soup or salad. (The cafe sits a half-mile west of one of the best-kept secrets in the North End, El Parche Colombiano, which makes some of the best empanadas in Seattle along with the city’s best-value brunch dish, bandeja paisa.)
Green Tree in Greenwood does Vietnamese and Chinese food.
In Wallingford, Niles Peacock Kitchen & Bar focuses on stone-fired pizzas, from traditional pepperoni to a Nutella-and-blue cheese pizza.
In Fremont, 206 Burger Company does souped-up burgers like the “Seahawk” special (two patties, four bacon strips, two slices of cheese on a brioche bun). The menu proudly boasts that the Seahawk does not come with veggies.
Pizza Pi Vegan Pizzeria has opened near the Ave. Speaking of the Ave, many UW students have been hitting the Taiwanese spot Capsule Cafe. Nearby, Time Bistro does banh mi, pho and vermicelli noodles. A half-mile north of that Vietnamese restaurant, Calluna does European-inspired dishes, ranging from French onion soup and risotto cakes to roast chicken and wienerschnitzel.
Meanwhile, Homegrown sandwiches has expanded to University Village.
Green Lake Bar & Grill, which closed two years ago to make way for Lunchbox Lab, has come out of retirement and returned as Greenlake Grill; the menu is similar to that of its siblings, including Eastlake Bar & Grill and Lake Forest Bar & Grill.
In related news, the 29-year-old Serafina restaurant, after a major renovation, has reopened in Eastlake. In downtown, Piroshki on 3rd has reopened at Third Avenue and Cherry Street. (Note: These reopenings aren’t included in the tally of 23 new spots.)