Posts Tagged ‘Bellevue’
Face masks and hair nets are synonymous with Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) in Sydney. Cooks are in silent huddles in the open kitchen, kneading dough and pleating dumplings (餃子). The public display of food safety is commendable but I feel awkward staring at the staff.
The signature spectacle is also at Din Tai Fung in Bellevue. Patrons can watch each step of the dumpling making process as each dumpling is rotated through several pairs of hands. Sans face masks and hair nets, brows are knitted in concentration and nimble fingers pinched and pressed.
Located in Lincoln Square, Din Tai Fung has a modern and spacious dining room. You may have to queue for a table during peak times but the maître d’ is excellent at estimating the wait and you can while away the minutes learning the art of dumplings!
Our group of four were seated in a comfortable booth. Each table has a condiments tray with bottles of soy sauce and vinegar, and a jar of chilli sauce.
The laminated menu has photos for reference and you can tick the items on the order sheet. Sweet and sour spareribs (排骨) whetted our appetite. More sweet than sour, these unctuous morsels were coated in a sticky marinade.
Famous for their soup dumplings (小籠包), ten xiao long bao were steamed in a bamboo basket. Dipped in vinegar to balance their richness, the delicate dumplings were savoured for their liquid centres.
Beneath the cloudy broth were prawn and pork wontons (雲吞). A popular meal with noodles in Cantonese cafés (茶餐廳), the silky wrapper encased a meaty filling. It was simple comfort food.
My favourite dish at Din Tai Fung is the spicy prawn and pork dumplings. Boiled wontons were tossed in a luscious sauce, each mouthful pungent and fiery.
Slippery strands of egg noodles were stir-fried with Napa cabbage (黃芽白), spinach and prawns for a toothsome plate of carbs.
Garlicky batons of green beans were bright and crunchy.
Dessert was a mango smoothie with tapioca pearls. An icy, fruity blend, it was a refreshing beverage.
And they have dessert dumplings too!
I don’t remember where and when I’ve eaten Taiwanese food. The only dishes I know are oyster omelette (蚵仔煎) and ‘three cup’ chicken (三杯雞), both of which are common in Cantonese style restaurants.
Facing East was recommended by several people and our group of four gathered for a weekday lunch. I paced up and down Bellevue Way between 10th and 12th checking the numbers and had to call for directions. Similar to Tamarind Tree, Facing East is located in a mall with no street frontage.
A small dining room for a popular eatery, the space is modern and bright.
The glossy menu is categorised into snacks and sides, rice and noodles, chef’s specials, and desserts. Service was polite and we let our waiter guide our order.
On a wooden tray, the oolong tea (烏龍茶) was ceremoniously rinsed and poured. A petite ceramic teapot steeped the leaves and a miniature jug was enough for four tiny cups of oolong tea. Hot water refill was in a stainless steel thermos to quench our thirst.
First was Taiwanese pork burger. Reminiscent of the famed Momofuku pork bun, this is a comparable version. A snowy steamed bun was agape with a slab of pork belly, pickles, peanuts and sprigs of coriander. It was a decadent combination of meaty, fatty, sweet and sour.
It was National Fried Chicken Day so we had five spice fried chicken with basil. Lightly battered, the tender morsels were garnished with crisp Thai basil leaves and sliced pickles.
Portions of Painted Hills short rib were tossed in an appetising black pepper sauce. Pickled pearl onions tempered the richness of the succulent beef.
A modest size bowl of spicy pork stew with rice was savoury comfort food.
A mound of green beans sautéed in garlic was crunchy and sweet.
I have added Facing East to my list of quality Asian restaurants in the Seattle area!
We were introduced to Seattle happy hour by an expat. If you adjust your dinner time to early or late, you can eat at some quality restaurants for a bargain price. I like that happy hour encourage people to dine out but sometimes I ponder how sustainable it is for businesses to maintain such discounts.
After heavy traffic en route to Bellevue, I was in need of a beverage and nibbles. We were at Cypress Wine Bar with a group of expat Aussies. Cypress Wine Bar is in The Westin Bellevue – it is an open space with a high ceiling and wide windows, we were seated near a fireplace with small tables and diamond-shaped lounge chairs. The appetizers and small plates are half price between 5pm and 7pm and some drinks are also on discount. All their wines are local except for the champagne and I ordered a flight of dry white wines. For $11, I was expecting sample size glasses but they were served in stemware and half full!
We ordered several dishes to share and I sampled the crab cakes, ribs, Mediterranean plate and the complimentary ciabatta. The two puck like Dungeness crab cakes were in a pool of honey mustard sauce with a side of wilted spinach in a Belgian endive leaf. The sauce is pleasantly mild and there is plenty of crab in the crab cakes. They’re pan-fried to a golden hue and the crispy, caramelised edge is a lovely contrast to the moist crab inside.
The ribs were thick batons in a syrupy glaze. I’m indifferent to ribs and these were okay. There was enough meat to make the effort to eat them but it does not fall off the bone nor melt in your mouth.
The complimentary ciabatta was my favourite antipasto. The bread is fresh and dense, drizzled with olive oil and an abundance of ingredients are piled on top. There is char-grilled asparagus spears, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts and pitted black olives. It is sunshine on a plate!
The after work catch up evolved into a progressive dinner – appetizer at Cypress Wine Bar, main at McCormick & Schmick’s and dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. It was more a regressive dinner for me – the restaurants got darker and I ate smaller portions.
I had half a serving of grilled wild Alaskan halibut with tomato confit and mushroom risotto which was a heavy dish. The risotto was creamy and buttery, and olive oil was swirled around the plate. In a gluttonous moment, I added a side of onion rings. I gasped when the waitress placed it on our table – they weren’t onion rings, they were onion bangles! They were coated in a thick batter that was crunchy and salty.
Our evening concluded with cheesecakes. One slice each of key lime cheesecake, Godiva chocolate cheesecake and white chocolate caramel macadamia cheesecake between eight people and there were still leftovers. It was a sticky sweet good night.