Tick tock…Seattle Restaurant Week is in full swing and lucky folks we are, the rest of the month still offers plenty of time to get in on some of these fabulous meals. Here is the link to see choices and make your plans. Click on the restaurant’s name and you will see the menu of special fare, and the specific days and time slots honored by each location on the SRW deals, which differ for each location in the grid. Within Edmonds, for example, Sunday evenings vary quite a bit.
Reservations for our Bar Dojo dinner made us a bit giddy. For the first time in over a year, we’d sit at a table, with china and silverware, and deploy chopsticks that were not wrapped in crinkly paper. Choices for this spring’s event activated salivary glands and reading the item descriptions as we checked off the boxes on the screen of the computer heightened the anticipation.
Bar Dojo offers diversity on menu. I eat meat, my honey doesn’t. We can always find dishes that satisfy both our desires at Dojo. Chef Luis will have plenty to make my tofu lover happy and that confidence means we often choose Bar Dojo for celebratory meals.
Our first “taste” of Bar Dojo cuisine occurred 12 years ago when Shooby Do catered our son’s wedding. (Both establishments are owned by the Feedme Hospitality Group.) Tastings for the event occurred at Bar Dojo, conveniently located next door. A visit to the restaurant, post wedding, to swap out containers from the reception netted me a large to-go container of the Green Papaya salad. My love affair with those spicy tender strands continues and to order is a given, whenever we happen to spot this on menu.
Valentines, New Year’s, and many birthdays have been celebrated with cuisine crafted by Chef de Cuisine- Luis Brambila.
Complimentary fried garlic-spiked edamame arrive to table, almost immediately after sitting down, followed by our beverages.
Our appetizers almost were a meal in themselves. My choice: the Steamed Pork and Chive Dumplings:
Dumplings were so tender; the pork blended so finely with the green chives in the filling, each nibble was ecstasy. The broth flavored by house chili oil, a gingery-garlic sauce prompted me to request a spoon to capture all the liquor, and every last scallion in the bowl:
My partner opted for Green Papaya salad — a work of art in a bowl:
Spicy sweet dressing topped tons of shredded pale green papaya. The Thai basil, shaved carrots, lime vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes, sweet chili lime, added color and spikes of flavor, roasted peanuts add texture and crunch.
A special birthday treat for me arrived to table: Six perfect oysters. Way better than a slice of cake! Lemony, spicy hot liquor accompanied and complemented the succulent little guys. Thank you Chef Luis!
Love their descriptors on the web page: “At Dojo our tofu is organic, our fish is wild, and our beef is local and sustainable.” Well, that is great guys, but what about your pork belly?
Pork belly is a fully utilized ingredient in many dishes at Bar Dojo. This is well advertised onsite…as in everyone of the kitchen staff sport T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Pork Belly.”
I needed to document this, and the bartender accommodated my request for a photo, by donning a belly-themed hoodie and posed for my pic.
Pork Belly Ramen bowl’s contents build in flavor — each item in the bowl surpassed the next. The honey lemon-braised pork belly infused the pork bone broth with extra flavor. Narutomaki with its sweet pink swirl, roasted corn, scallions, shredded nori, and shoyu made every bite of tender noodles savor. Topped off with a soft-boiled egg, which tasted like the best deviled eggs I’ve ever been served, I was in hog-heaven. Pork belly meat fell apart, the noodles were toothsome and the broth carried the flavor from the pork throughout the dish.
Tofu Veggie Noodle Stir-fry made my hubby happy. His dish contained yakisoba noodles. The dish featured a plethora of veggies: green beans, onions, tiny whole mushrooms, and peas adorned a pile of smoother, slightly thicker ramen noodle and every bite satisfied.
As we sampled from each other’s bowls I detected a difference in the noodles. Discussion ensued — I had to get noodles side by side, and there was a difference (pic of noodle comparisons) and more discussion. Did the broth tint my noodles? His were wavier — maybe cooking time varied? When consulted, the kitchen did confirm the differences- ramen vs. soba. Who knew?
Such generous portions meant about half of our entrees went home in a box to be enjoyed the next day.
We had to leave room for the most important portion of the meal: dessert.
Lemongrass Crème Brulee: I’ll always order this dessert if I spot on menu. The preparation exceeded my expectations. The top crust of glazed sugar that topped the custard was thicker, not a speck of burnt sugar, it was perfection. Three fresh raspberries graced the top and the eggy, creamy filling was good to the last bite. A birthday candle replaced the usual garnish of candied lime wheel on my portion.
Mochi: Dessert choice number two. I’d love to know, do they either make theirs in house, or have a special supplier? I’ve never bitten into a nice thin layer of the rice wrap snuggled up so close to perfect ice cream filling. Fruit flavors of each orb, and the chocolate, are true to taste, no artificial help is needed. (Note for vegans, this has coconut ice cream filling)
More Restaurant Week fare:
Fire and the Feast’s Italian vibes go way beyond traditional dishes of pasta and pizzas, as evidenced by the offerings for SRW. My honey hadn’t dined at this spot yet, so…
My starter was the Caesar Salad. This classic offering of crisp romaine, roasted lemon, garlic croutons was topped off by house Caesar dressing, grana padano, and fried capers. Scrumptious and made extra special as I was gifted with the prosciutto from my hubby’s choice of salad.
Spring Pea Salad -English peas, crisp crunchy, as in just shelled, mixed with grape tomatoes, red onion, spring mix, and crispy shallots, lightly bound by Burrata vinaigrette, and accented with wide ribbons of prosciutto.
An easy choice for my entrée- I loved the Lamb Pappardelle. Anderson Farms braised lamb is complemented by a sauce of San Marzano tomato, generous shreds of fresh ricotta cheese. Big fat pasta held the sauce ingredients perfectly. Simple, elegant and wonderful.
Creamy Herb Risotto offered my non-meat eater two choices and a tough decision as both the sautéed mushrooms and the pan seared scallops appealed. The sea fare won, and atop the creamy herb risotto, swirled with sautéed Swiss chard it was a treat for the eyes and the taste buds.
One thing we both agree on, after 35-plus years of dining together… Desserts are meant to be shared.
Tiramisu layers constructed of Middle Fork coffee infused lady fingers, hazelnut chocolate, sweet Marsala wine and creamy mascarpone delighted both of us.
Panna cotta is my “go-to” Italian dessert. The cold creamy gelatinous dessert is the polar opposite of my other favorite, namely Crème Brulee, but both elicit satisfaction when properly executed. Each spoonful of giggly milk pudding was accented with a blood orange and lemon Gelee, and a satisfying crunch of the candied blood orange.
For those with a yen for weekend fare, Fire and the Feast offer brunch-Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Here’s a preview:
Try out the Eggs Benedict served up on focaccia toast. The tender bread yields easily to the fork, and soaks up every drop of golden yolk. Potatoes are plentiful and sprinkled with crisps of pancetta.
Polenta is Italy’s version of cornmeal pudding, which many Southerners swear is the only way to eat over-easy eggs. I tend to agree, but am delighted to add this international version to my list of favorites.
Cheesy Polenta is parmesan-laced and flavored with garlic, Calabria chili, red onions, decorated with seared grape tomatoes that popped their skins, crunchy pancetta and a poached egg to endow the dish with egg yolks special finishing touch.
My dining companion and I both enjoyed the tang and just right amount of heat in our Bloody Mary drinks.
This and that
Need to liven up your end-of-week meals? Demetri’s Woodstone Taverna in Edmonds offers a TGIF special — Flatbread Friday! What toppings are on your perfect flatbread? Demetri’s offer eight varieties including this amazing version with seafood. Prawns are the principal focal point of this flatbread covered with melty mozzarella, artichoke hearts and Dungeness crab dip.
Desserts are always my weakness- and it is my “birthday month”… so my honey’s trip to the Noodle Hut for take-out Tom Kah, netted yours truly a round of their latest offering for a “sweet-tooth” like myself.
Butterfly Pea Sweet Sticky Rice: Egg coconut custard topped off a perfect portion of sticky jasmine rice and is accompanied by a dollop of salty coconut cream. Purple color comes from butterfly pea flower….and it has been used as a naturaldye to add color to food, dessert and drinks all across Southeast Asia.
Our house rule is “Always ask them about dessert”… you never know what treats they have in store at Noodle Hut.
Noodle Hut desserts we’ve scored over the last few months:
Mother’s Day is on the horizon and it’s never too soon to begin your plan.
Stay tuned for features that will preview places and menus to celebrate and honor the special people in your life.
— By Kathy Passage
A 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, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.