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Archive for April, 2014

The last time Cherry and I did Seattle Restaurant Week (SRW), was two years ago, so you could imagine I was bursting at the seams with eagerness and excitement to participate this year! In a nutshell, restaurants participating in Restaurant Week, offer a 3-course lunch menu for $15 and a 3-course dinner menu for $28. It’s an excellent opportunity to try restaurants you wouldn’t normally visit. With so many restaurants participating and so little time, I narrowed down the enormous list to one, TanakaSan! This newest addition to Tom Douglas’s restaurant empire is led by TD’s long time Executive Chef and Partner, Eric Tanaka. Located on 6th Ave and Lenora, TanakaSan occupies a large portion on the bottom floor of a residential tower. Cherry and I came for lunch and made the mistake in not making reservations. We ended up having a little wait before being seated… c’est la vie!

 

tanakasan_outsideoutside dining area

tanakasan_insideinside dining floor

tanakasan_kitchenopen kitchen across the hall

 

The Appetizers:

 

tanakasan_friedchicken 2 twice fried chicken wings: smoked Korean chili, franks hot sauce (l) & salty caramel, serrano chile (r)

The serving size of the chicken wings was a little smaller for SRW (3 pieces), but they were still able to split them up for me. The first thing I immediately noticed when I took my first bite was how crunchy the skin was! It reminded me like biting into a fresh chicharrón from Mexico! The meat underneath was juicy and perfectly fried. The salty caramel wing was more salty than sweet. It actually tasted like it was tossed in fish sauce. Still quite tasty, but to me, the taste didn’t match what the menu read. I had mixed feelings about the smoked Korean chile wing. On one hand, the Korean chile’s had a great smokey flavor with a subtle spice. On the other hand, the extremely bright and vinegary flavor of the Franks hot sauce completely overpowered everything. The concept was great but I feel a hot sauce that carries more heat and less vinegar flavor may be better.

 

tanakasan_braisedbeefgeneral tso’s spare ribs: blistered chilies, scallion, orange, puffed rice

These spare ribs were awesome! The meat was literally fall of the bone tender and full of flavor. I really liked their version of general tso’s sauce. It had a much deeper, richer, and sophisticated flavor, than what I’ve had at other restaurants. The scallions added a bright note to each bite and the puffed rice provided a pleasant little crunch. This dish was a highlight of the meal.

 

The Entrees:

 

tanakasan_teriyakichickenteriyaki chicken: savoy cabbage, pickled carrots, furikake

This was a well prepared dish. The chicken thigh was tender, juicy and nicely gilled. The teriyaki sauce they used as a glaze (I believe?) had a nice balance of sweet and savory. Cherry would have liked to have seen a little less char on the edges, but I don’t mind it. She chose their potato mac salad which was also very good. They use a sriracha mayo as their base and it worked well.

 

 

tanaksan_coconutbeefcarmelized coconut beef: jasmine rice, coconut sambal, crispy shallot, pea vines

The beef was nicely braised, tender and carried a very subtle coconut undertone. The pea vines added nice color to the dish, but I especially enjoyed their coconut sambal. At first, I didn’t know what the little white pieces were mixed with the sambal – I had to re-read the menu again. Once I read coconut sambal, I had that, “aha!” moment. The rich flavors of the beef combined with the heat of the sambal, creamy flavor of the coconut and the slight bitterness of the pea vines, came together like a well trained orchestra, and was quite palatable.

 

 

The Desserts:

 

tanakasan_coconutpietriple coconut cream pie

Cococonut, on coconut on coconuts! The triple coconut cream pies served at TD restaurants all originate from Dahlia Bakery. I’ve already reviewed the pie, here. Do yourself a favor and try a slice!

 

 

tanakasan_spongecakeyuzu pudding cake: shiso cream, sweet and sour rhubarb, yuzu curd

I felt guilty breaking this plate down and eating it – it just looked so pretty! Each individual element was delicious on its own, but when combined – perfection. The shiso cream had a very mild sweetness to it, the yuzu curd tasted like an egg custard you find a Chinese bakery, but with a much lighter texture. The cake was moist and airy and the sweet and sour rhubarb was awesome in providing a bright touch on an overall very creamy dish.

 

My Conclusion:

You cannot go wrong participating in SRW and you definitely cannot go wrong with any of Tom Douglas’s establishments. He and Tanaka San have created a wonderful new spot showcasing Asian-influenced dishes with fresh ingredients from the Northwest. Word to the wise, if you do decide on participating in SRW, reservations are strongly encouraged!

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Cherry and I woke up early last Sunday to grab breakfast in Ballard before Church. Deciding on a place to eat in Ballard can be a difficult task, seeing as how there are so many awesome spots. It’s like you’re a kid in a candy store and being told, “You can only pick one piece!” We decided on Hattie’s Hat, which is located in heart of the Ballard, off Ballard Ave NW and NW Vernon Pl. The interior was dimly and is what I would picture a dive would have looked like in the 80’s.

hattieshat_front

entrance off ballard ave nw

hattieshat_back

parking in the back

 

The Food:

 

hattieshat_pancakes

hot cakes and two eggs $8

Cherry with the hot cakes which are $6 alone but added 2-scambled eggs for $2. The hot cakes were huge and had a tasty buttery sweetness. Cherry claims she could have eaten them without any syrup and enjoyed them the same! The scrambled eggs were your standard fare and completed the meal.

 

hattieshat_countrybreakfast

aunt harriet’s country breakfast $11

The country breakfast featured a fresh-baked buttermilk biscuit, sausage gravy, two eggs, hashbrowns and your choice of pig. I went with eggs over easy and bacon. The biscuit was good, the eggs were well prepared, the bacon was crispy and the hash browns were your basic diner hash browns. The best part of this dish was the sausage gravy. Their sausage gravy is among the best I’ve had – having big chunks of sausage, thick and hearty, and extremely flavorful. If I would have known better, I would have asked for the entire plate to be smothered in it… however my arteries thank me not doing as such.

 

My Conclusion:

Hattie’s Hat is a very reasonably priced diner serving American favorites, which will fill you up. I would recommend getting there earlier than later, because by the time we left, there was a line out the door!

 

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