The popular Facing East restaurant in Bellevue has opened a Taiwanese eatery near Seattle's Amazon campus with an under-$10 menu featuring salads, noodles, dumplings and sandwiches.
Every direction from the Amazon campus seems to lead to a dozen food trucks and restaurants. And just when you thought another lunch spot couldn’t squeeze into another nook, along comes QQ Taiwanese Bites.
Located two blocks west of the Spheres, this Taiwanese eatery is the latest from the folks behind Facing East, the terrific Bellevue restaurant. Fans have been jonesing for this Eastside standout to expand to Seattle. But QQ Bites, as many call it, might not be what Facing East fans exactly had in mind.
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Unlike its older, sit-down sibling in Bellevue, QQ Bites is fast-casual inspired, a fast-twitch-muscle of a spot built to handle the Amazon lunch rush: display cases of grab-and-go salads and noodles. Or if you have a few minutes to spare, the kitchen will crank out some of Facing East’s greatest hits: bao burgers, pork dumplings and beef noodle soup.
The sterile setting and bright lighting aren’t warm or inviting. QQ Bites is designed to efficiently get you in-and-out and back to your office cubicle. Order up!
The menu: Some Facing East comfort food is featured along with a QQ Bites original sesame sandwich with a choice of protein (pork, lamb and beef cooked various ways, or a vegetarian black-mushroom-and-tofu option). Most items are priced between $6-$8. For those in a hurry, some grab-and-go trays are available, like pig-ear salad or for those less adventurous, chow mein and chow fun noodles.
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The dine-in food: The popular pork burger ($5.95), or pork bao bun, is a fatty, sweet-and-sour flavor bomb; braised strips of pork belly are cut with pickled mustard greens, cilantro and sprinkled with roasted peanuts for crunch. The broth in the beef noodle soup is lighter and more accented with star anise than the version served at its Bellevue restaurant, but it’s still familiar and comforting all the same, with copious chunks of beef shank, buttery tender from being braised to go with chewy al dente noodles. The five-spiced chicken is essentially chicken fingers at a bar, tweaked with sweet potato fries and Thai basil. A better snack, though, are the oil-slicked pork dumplings in a brown sauce, brimming with Sichuan peppercorn, chili oil and soy sauce.
The sesame sandwich, more like a pastry flatbread, is best with the five-hour slow-cooked beef brisket, pronounced with bay leaves and the familiar Sichuan peppers (much better than the bland sautéed lamb sandwich).
Food to-go: The best options were the Sichuan five-spiced beef shank with salad and chili oil ($5.75) and beef stew ($8.95), potatoes, carrots and onions ($8.95). The mushy vermicelli noodles with dried shrimp and stir-fried veggies ($6.50) didn’t hold up as well when microwaved.
The bill: An order of the five-spiced fried chicken ($6.95), lamb sandwich ($7.95) and beef noodle soup ($9.95) totaled $27.36 after tax, enough to feed two for lunch.
QQ Taiwanese Bites
Taiwanese take out; 2325 Sixth Ave., (Denny Triangle), Seattle; 206-420-3408, qqbites.com; open daily 11 a.m.-8 p.m.