Re: [CH] Seattle Hot Spots?

J Young (
Mon, 31 Jan 2000 19:06:05 -0800 (PST)

On 20 Jan 2000 wrote:

> Can anyone recommend some good places in Seattle to eat hot food or
> just hang out?  I've got a conference there this Spring.

I've got to respectfully disagree with whoever recommended Siam for Thai
food.  They've got two locations-- Eastlake and Capitol Hill.  Both serve
good but standard thai.  the capitol hill location has zero parking and
around a 45 minute wait to be seated, depending on your dining time.  The
food isn't worth it. The eastlake location has parking and seating, but
it's not that special.  I don't want to knock Siam too much-- I've eaten a
lot of meals there-- but they don't stand out in any way for me-- nearly
every neighborhood in seattle has a Thai joint that can match Siam for
quality. It's a decent place to eat, I just wouldn't seek it out as a
seattle treasure.  On topic to the mailing list, Siam's food is very mild
for thai. 

	On Capitol Hill, my favorite thai place is Ayutthaya. The food is
at least as good as Siam, (especially the tom yum), there's not usually a
wait, and their five star can wake up your mouth a little bit.  Ayutthaya
seems to me to be the most consistently hot Thai food in town.  While
Ayutthaya is very good, there are 2 thai places in town that really stand
out for me-- Bai Tong, which is adjacent to the Sea-Tac airport, and Thai
Tom, which is right by the University of Washington.
	Bai Tong is, for lack of a better word, the most authentic Thai
I've had in the states.  There's something about the balance of
ingredients or perhaps the ingredients themselves.  Bai Tong Special Beef
and chicken laarb are the dishes to get.  Bai Tong does have it's
negatives-- it's pretty far out of the way.  Unless you're driving
yourself to and from the airport, a detour is probably way too much of a
pain.  They also don't make the food very spicy as far as thai goes.
	Thai Tom is a hole in the wall joint across from UW.  it's just a
little lunch counter around the grill with a handfull of tables.  When Tom
is cooking, one gets a great floorshow and incredible and unique thai.
Tom doesn't cook so much anymore, but he's got two assistant chefs that
are still wonderful.  It's a special treat if tom is there, but not
necessary for having a wonderful meal.  The big drawback is that it's not
a secret.  If you are just one, you can get a seat at the counter in a
reasonable amount of time.  With two, it can take 45 minutes at peak
hours.  With 3 or more, I would only get take out or come at about 3PM
when it's fairly dead.  Tom is liberal with the chiles, and the five star
pops a decent burn.  my current favorite dish is the garlic pepper

	Someone else suggested Dixie's BBQ.  It's kind of a fun place for
a chile head, because they make a big production out of "The Man".  The
BBQ is about average for seattle, but that's not saying a whole lot. The
Man is mostly good old store-bought Endorphin Rush.  If I had to guess,
I'd say it was mixed about 2:1 with their regular sauce.  Endorphin Rush
is by far my least favorite extract-based sauce, so I'm not fond of The
Man or the BBQ it covers.

	The Wing Dome is a place that caters to chile heads, and they make
their own sauces, and refuse to use extract.  They have two locations, one
by the UW (next door to Thai Tom, actually) and one on phinney ridge.
Mondays are $.25 wing night (half price).  The wings are rated on a scale
of 1-6 Alarms.  Alarms 1-4 are made with jalapenos or serranos.  At alarm
5, they switch to habaneros.  The 6 alarms, which aren't on the menu but
can be requested, are 5 alarms with the habanero seeds left in.  the wings
are good as far as wings go.  

	There are a lot of great restaurants in seattle, but for the most
part, they are completely off topic for this list.  If you're looking for
quality food and don't care so much about the heat part, email me off the
list with the general location you'll be in while in town, and I can point
you to some treats.

	One of my favorite places in seattle does qualify for the list--
it's called Mandalay Cafe, and it's located in the wallingford
neighborhood north of downtown, on the #6 and #44 bus routes.  It's a mix
of SE Asian styles, and they mean business with their heat. Their 5 star
is really quite hot, beyond any other asian place in town.  Thai basil
with green papaya is my current favorite dish, and if you go you have to
get the spring rolls, the best I've ever had.  It's a little more spendy
than average (entrees from $10-15), but worth it.  Janny the chef is also
a master soup maker.  never get the salad with your entree.  Mandalay also
has a pretty nice wine list-- not extensive, but the choices on there are
all good and all price performers.  This place is just a cool little
neighborhood joint in a house, making great food.  I think it's one of
seattle's treasures, and I take all my out of town guests there.  


"If I say a cow can lay an egg, don't argue with me.  Get the skillet." 
	--Muhammed Ali