My Edmonds Restaurant News: Bite of China now open; New Year’s Eve dining options

Smashed cucumber salad at Bite of China.

Open now: Bite of China

The restaurant, located at 22511 Highway 99, Ste 101, opened officially last week in Edmonds. The word is out — even at 2 p.m. in the afternoon they were busy.

A pot of piping hot jasmine tea arrived at the table as soon as we sat down to peruse menus.

An appetizer called smashed cucumber salad intrigued. Was this a “happy accident” in the kitchen that caught on as a dish? I had to order just to see the presentation. Fresh cucumbers chopped in random pieces, a simple dressing of garlic salt and sesame oil, It was truly smashing. A great start to the meal.

Our waitress brought a small plate of a shredded potato with hot pepper salad, “My favorite.” She smiled as she offered the dish. One taste and we understood why. Shredded potatoes, thin slices of green pepper and dried chilies, briefly sautéed and dressed in garlicky vinaigrette.

Spicy beef noodle soup.

Spicy beef noodle soup is a favorite for lovers of tender fat noodles. The rich dark and spicy broth had oodles of authentic hand-pulled noodles, lean beef chunks so tender they fell apart in my mouth. Bursts of flavor came from whole pieces of star anise, chilies and ginger.

Spiced cumin lamb sandwich

Spiced cumin lamb sandwich — looks are simple, a bun, lean ground lamb but plenty of cumin, grilled onions plus thin slices of jalapeno pepper pack lots of flavor into every mouthful.

Eggplant tofu

Eggplant tofu stir-fry — rich purple eggplant, lightly grilled tofu in a garlicky sauce looked colorful and tasted delicious. My companion’s request for extra basil was accommodated at no extra cost too. Fluffy hot rice accompanied this dish and in fact rice comes with all entrees.

Salt & pepper fish

A must-try for the next visit is salt & pepper fish. We watched diners at an adjacent table devour a platter of lighter-than-air pieces of fish. I was so full, but they looked so good.

Dessert soups are offered in winter and summer versions. Winter is a red bean soup — sweet and served hot; summer is a green bean soup and served cold. Fried sweet yam cakes are served all year long.

History — they own a second restaurant, located in Redmond, called Tian Tian Noodle. Our waitress said the name translates into “have noodles every day.” Chef and owner Zenghun Xu makes fabulous noodles… sounds like great advice.

In the coming year:

Jeff Barnett stands in the middle of Salish Sea Brewing’s expansion into the former Segway space.

If you haven’t seen Salish Sea Brewing owner Jeff Barnett lately, it’s because he is next door hard at work in the old Segway space. Like the frothy expanse of a quickly-poured bottle of brew…slowly but surely Salish Sea has expanded into the entire space at 518 Dayton St. in Edmonds.

A Salish Sea pretzel with mustard sauce.

Larger kitchen space will mean additions to the menu of grilled sandwiches, savory soups and, oh yes, those plump pretzels….

Lynnwood’s Black Angus, located at 20102 44th Ave. W., is spiffing up its space. “We will be closing our doors on January 8th, 2016 for remodeling and re-opening spring 2016 with a fresh look,” the website announces. They advise that catering services will still be available during this time.

Celebrate close to home…
Speaking of the “coming year”… New Year’s Eve plans not solidified yet? Great options offered at our local Edmonds restaurants. Plenty to enjoy, so dine and add fuel to those “New Year Resolutions” at the gym.

Pan-seared scallops at 190 Sunset.

Dinner on New Year’s Eve at 190 Sunset offers great appeal. A three-course “Countdown for $95” features rosemary smoked prime filet tartare or Kusshi oysters or pan-seared scallops, and this is just the appetizer course. Short ribs, surf and turf, and more-substantial fare for the second course and the dessert list — Red Sangria Pavlova, wow…

Check out Chanterelle’s seasonal three-course dinner menu for December: priced to allow a splurge on some bubbly. Try the colorful pomegranate pork osso vucco and for dessert — house- made bread pudding with white chocolate bourbon sauce. Vegetarians: There is a meatless celebration on the menu as well.

The holiday menu at Scott’s Bar and Grill caught my eye, with locally sourced surf and turf options like grilled Columbia River King Salmon Oscar at a very reasonable price. Ditto: “Screaming Deals” on bottled wines.

Dessert at Salt & Iron

Salt and Iron offers a four-course feast with oysters, scallops, steak and lobster and amazing desserts.

Oh yeah, tough choices, but don’t dally…get to those websites and book your tables now.

Can you hear me now?

A recent visit at 190 Sunset echoed the concern that folks in our community have about noise levels. A companion and I sat at the long community table in the 190 Sunset at happy hour, enjoying tasty tacos; the gentleman to our left kept apologizing. “Sorry I’m so loud.”

“Not your fault,” I assured him. His voice level wasn’t overly loud, but the room’s acoustics worked against him.

Noise levels at our local establishments have been the hot topic of conversation lately. A group of 10 colleagues met at Chanterelle for a holiday celebration. And seated at a long table, we could hear and understand each other despite the fact that we were surrounded by tables of noisy noshers.

I commented on this to my companions and one pointed to the ceiling. A fairly recent addition of noise-softening material was evident, and effective.

Discussion went to rating systems used in cities like San Francisco. According to Restaurant Briefing, reviewers have noted noise level averages of 80 decibels or higher in restaurants around the country. (A typical conversation averages about 60 decibels). These noise levels can make conversations more difficult and put diners’ hearing at risk. In addition, having to speak over the dining room din could also put an unhealthy strain on customers’ voices.

Zagat Dining Trends surveyed restaurant patrons and found that noise in restaurants was ranked as diners’ top complaint. Reviewers have started to include noise ratings as part of an article. One can go online and select a dining place without a deafening din.

How to gather the sort of data in a smaller community like Edmonds? Readers: Here is your chance.

Please help us develop a list of places you feel you can converse with your dining companions and not be hoarse by the end of the meal.

Restaurant News would like to know your favorite place for a quiet repast. Feel free to post in the column’s comment space below or send an email.

— By Kathy Passage

Kathy Passage Hi ResA specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds.

  1. There are a few local spots that have decent acoustics so that folks can actually enjoy a nice meal. #1 is Chanterelle. Next is Kafe Neo on Hwy 99 and there is also Taqueria Guaymas on Hwy 99. I am sure there are others but I know from experience that these places do a good job of attenuating the noise. Some places actually prefer their Restaurants to be noisy so it encourages Folks to move through quicker since they will not hang out and chat after eating. They also will install uncomfortable seating for the same reason. We prefer to patronize places that encourage folks to come in, sit down and enjoy a nice dining experience opposed to places that are more concerned with getting more Folks through the doors.

  2. Recently back from the UK, where people talk softly in good restaurants…

    El Puerto, in Edmonds is never noisy. Porto Fino is rarely bad, unless there is a large party with small, uncontrolled children. The Thai Cottage is generally less noisy. I enjoy Rory’s, but frequently walk back out because of the ear-bleeding noise level (plus shouters when there’s a game on). The Tiki Tavern can get bad when packed for an occasion or game, but on “normal” nights it’s a place where you can enjoy an actdual conversation.

    1. Nathan,
      It is good to “hear” that one can go to our local spots, enjoy a great meal and not have to shout. Yes, I agree on “game nights” most places that have the games on big screens get too loud. recognizing that the food is still wonderful, on quieter non-spots event nights will undoubtedly help their business too. Thanks for your comments. Kathy

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