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Posts Tagged ‘greenwood’

Cherry and I were in the mood for some noodles and turned to the ever prevalent tool that is, social media. On this particular day, the spot that had the most positive reviews in our area was, Fu Man Dumpling House. Located on Greenwood Ave N between 143rd and 144th, the dumpling house sits between a beer/wine supply store and a marijuana dispensary – ingenious location if you ask me. When we entered, we were immediately greeted and seated. Our server then came by with menus and tea. The interior  of this very small restaurant, was decorated in your standard Chinese-American theme: faded Chinese art and fortunes, Seahawks banners, lanterns, and you can’t forget the Christmas lights above the front door.

 

fuman_outside wm

entrance from greenwood ave n.

fuman_inside

dining floor

fuman_xiaocai

xiao cai (aka chinese pickled veggies)

 

The Food:

 

fuman_everythingnoodle

a little bit of everything noodles $8.75

 When this dish came out, it looked exactly how it read – a bunch of various ingredients atop a bowl of noodles. My initial thought was, “That’s some bland looking soup!” There’s more color in vegetable broth. I scooped a small portion into the small bowl each of us had and took a sip of the soup and my taste buds agreed with what my eyes presumed – flavorless. Then I took a bite of the other ingredients (veggies, meat and egg) which concurred with all of the above. I believe they literally steamed the veggies and shrimp without any seasoning and scrambled some eggs, then dumped everything atop some flavorless broth and noodles.

 

fuman_housespecialnoodle

house special shredded pork noodle $9.25

 The soup in the broth had a darker color which I hoped would bring something to the flavor party. It did, but just a little. I could taste a meaty undertone and ginger was very prevalent as part of the base. But the flavor levels still can’t compete with say, a Taiwanese beef noodle soup or even phở. The veggies in this dish worked fine but I would have liked for the pork to be more flavorful. In both dishes, the noodles were fine, holding a nice balance between a firm and soft texture – but by the end, they were closer to the soft/mushy side.

fuman_dumplings

steamed pork dumplings 12 for $8.35

 The one saving grace of this entire meal was the homemade dumplings. If you grow up in an Asian family, the best dumplings you will ever have, are usually homemade by your grandma, aunts, or mother. Much to my surprise, these were pretty fantastic. As soon as I bit in, I could taste the flavors of pork, ginger, garlic and seasonings. The wrapper had a nice thickness that maintained integrity even during tug-of-war with your chopsticks, dumpling and gravity. For me, dipping dumplings in a chili paste/soy sauce mixture is like combining peanut butter and jelly. However much to my chagrin, I knew from my experiences earlier, that their chili paste lacked any pep. I still doused chili paste atop each dumpling but I found they didn’t need it. I finished the rest without anything and was pleasantly satisfied. My da gu (oldest aunt on my dad’s side and considered best cook of our family) even concurred that these dumplings are delicious!

 

My conclusion:

All I can say is, a little salt never hurt nobody… For making and serving such great dumplings, I’m baffled as to why their noodles were so lackluster. I would definitely come back again… but only for the dumplings. Maybe other people know something I don’t, because as soon as we were leaving, the small restaurant quickly filled and became a packed house.

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My wife and I were driving through Greenwood Sunday afternoon looking for a place to get a meal. We decided to try something new and chose The Olive and Grape. When I think of olives and grapes, the Mediterranean comes to mind and upon entering, this spot definitely fit the bill.  We came in from the back entrance, were greeted and asked to sit anywhere we liked. Our server immediately offered coffee, Turkish tea or water  and handed us our menus. It is a quaint little restaurant that looked like it could seat about 30-35 patrons. White paint with blue trimmed walls and hand painted olive trees really add to the Greek/Mediterranean theme. There’s a good sized counter that could be used as a bar, but instead, displays several different varieties of olive oil and wine. It is adjacent to the open kitchen where you can watch the cooks prepare the orders. Looking through the menu took a little longer than usual because most all the dishes, being Turkish and Greek, were foreign to me. I had to read the descriptions and ingredients to see what each dish was.

entry way from greenwood ave.

popular pairings list behind counter/bar

 

The Food:

spinach & feta gozleme with side of tzatziki 

nonna’s spaghetti polpettini 

baklava

 

The Review:

I looked for something that was both new and somewhat familiar. I chose the Golzeme – which is described as a “Turkish quesadilla.” The only filling they had that day was spinach and feta. It was so-so. The “hand rolled” pastry looked and tasted just like naan bread with a barely there filling of spinach and feta. Imagine a single slice of deli meat, and you’ve just pictured how much filling was in this gozleme! The filling was so minuscule that I could barely taste the feta, which is a strong flavor cheese! The tzatziki added a nice cool and mildy sour compliment to the dish and might have been the best part of the meal. The menu also stated it would come with a side of sambal, a spicy chili, which would have been nice, had  I received it. I chose garlic fries as my side item, which was also, just ok. Feta and parsley were sprinkled atop the fries which also had a side of tzatziki. There was no taste of garlic at all – disppointed!

My wife had Nonna’s Spaghetti Polpettini. It came in a small bowl with 6 meatballs atop a bed of pasta with zuchini shavings, fresh basil and grated parmigiano. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the tomato-mascarpone sauce had the makings to be a very good sauce. The initial taste of the sauce was very good especially with the zuchini shavings, but then it was overshadowed by the saltiness. The meatballs also had a lot of potential. The initial bite was bursting with flavors of herbs and spices, but again, it was overshadowed by a salty aftertaste. Think of a tequila shot: the kick from licking the salt, a quick burn from the tequila and then the sour-cooling relief of the lemon…but in reverse.

To end the meal, we both shared an order of baklava – another highlight. The filo dough was nice and flaky and went well with the rich syrup and nuts. It was served with a halved strawberry which when eaten together, was really delicious! The clean and cool texture of the strawberry really helped cut the richness of the syrup.

 

My Conclusion:

The Olive and Grape has potential to be something really good. I’m not sure if it was my personal taste, but the entrées we shared were both too salty for my liking. Maybe we came in on an “off” day for the cooks, but this place definitely has promise. The Olive and Grape is also particpating in the upcoming Seattle Restaurant Week , should anyone want to sample a larger portion of the menu. By the time we left, the restaurant was nearly at capacity, which tells me there’s something good at The Olive and Grape… I just didn’t find it.

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