This Capitol Hill spot is a Thai joint without pad thai. Come for a menu full of spicy, pungent umami bombs and wash them down with a cool beer.
Soi sits at the elbow of 10th Avenue and Union Street East, far from the mayhem of the Pike/Pine corridor but close enough that you can still hear that hormonal mosh pit at a safe distance.
It will make you appreciate Soi more.
Inside, Johnny Marr’s “European Me” and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ “S.O.B.” bounce off the high ceilings.
The bar restaurant is all concrete and dark wood but pared-down from the generic hipness of its brethren.
If the décor doesn’t impress you, the food will. Soi wants to say, “You’re in for something different.”
It’s a Thai joint without pad thai.
This is “jaam duum,” drinking food from the northeast corner of Thailand, barbecue and fermented dishes that are pungent, spicy and inspired by neighboring Laos.
Come early for happy hour, and most bar food is discounted.
Order the curry sausage, fragrant with lemon grass and Kaffir lime leaf. Gnaw on some sour pork ribs with raw garlic or a plate of fried chicken skins and then circle back to curry with an order of the snappy spicy prawns.
Owners Gabe and Yuie Wiborg have an affinity for the food stalls near the Victory Monument in Bangkok, and named in its honor what may be their best happy-hour grub — Victory Monument Noodles. Charred and smoky pork done street-food style is served over a bed of al dente egg noodles bathed in a sweet soy sauce. It’s dinner in a bowl ($6.50).
For something hearty to share, try the Kor Moo Yahng, grilled pork collar caramelized with palm sugar and served with sticky rice.
Daily $6 cocktail specials range from a Tamarind whiskey sour to a lemon grass ricky. But the menu’s umami bombs are best washed down with a Singha or a Chang beer.
On its drink menu: “Cheap Beer: can of whatever we’re feeling. $3.” That works too.
Soi, 1400 10th Ave., Seattle, offers happy hour daily 3-6 p.m. and again 10 p.m. to closing (usually around midnight) with discounted bar food $2-$7; $4 beer and well drinks; $6 wine and selected cocktails; and $10 for a half carafe of wine (206-556-4853 or soicapitolhill.com).