More Deliciousness Headed to SLU

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

By now you’ve probably heard that beloved and acclaimed Middle Eastern eatery Mamnoon will be opening a new venture called ‘mBar’ in SLU, but it seems as though that’s not enough to keep Mamnoon’s owners busy this year.

In addition to the Mediterranean inspired rooftop spot (sure to be glorious with it’s 100-seat, glass railed patio, so as to protect and enhance your mealtime view), and the recently announced ‘Mamnoon Street’, it looks like the Mamnoon team will be opening yet another spot next door at Amazon’s new 6th Ave Doppler campus.

The newest addition to the Mamnoon line up will be called ‘Anar’ meaning pomegranate in Farsi, and will focus mainly on the “ancient traditions of juice and vegetarian dishes.”

From the proprietors:

    Anar will  be an ideal destination to get energized for the day, starting with a breakfast yogurt blend, Persian mint tea, or a specially blended kombucha.  Juices will range from sweet to savory to hearty, and will include such ingredients as orange blossom, rose water and pomegranate with available additions like yogurt, cashews and chickpeas.  Food options include small plates; a mezze dish with dolma, pickled and raw vegetables, arugula and gluten free crackers with a choice of Carrot bi tahini, muhammara, or ‘Persian’ green hummus, and big plates; Fatteh with cauliflower, garbanzo, gluten-free crackers and mint cucumber salad.  For a late afternoon pick-me-up, Anar will feature desserts, snacks and ‘mocktails’, such as muddled cucumber, cilantro, mint and soda. Items from Anar will be available for take-away or to enjoy in its warm, open, colorful space.  With seating for 18, Anar will be ideal for an intimate meeting or to settle into a cozy space to work with a delicious beverage and great music.

Anar will be opening later this month at 2040 6th Avenue with business hours of Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Lake Union Restaurant Spotlight: Siam Thai Cuisine

Thai cuisine is now a popular dining option across the Seattle area… I would even venture to say that there are nearly as many Thai restaurants as there are Starbucks locations. But one of the very first of these (if not the first – it’s always hard to say for certain) was Siam Thai Cuisine. Chai Asavadejkajorn was one of the original owners of the first Siam Thai Cuisine, which opened in Capitol Hill on Broadway in 1986.

The Capitol Hill location closed – to much sadness throughout the neighborhood – in May 2009, but Siam Thai was already flourishing in Lake Union and also in Bothell.

This month for our Lake Union restaurant spotlight, we’re featuring Siam Thai Cuisine in our neighborhood!

The Lake Union location opened in October 2010. “We offer authentic Thai food that is higher-end,” says owner Chai Asavadejkajorn. “We want to be modern with a similar feel at our restaurants … [This restaurant] is modern, open, and we have created a fun place to eat.”

That sentiment is echoed to the menus at both the Lake Union restaurant and the Bothell location, where most of the menu items are consistent at both restaurants. Actually, most of the menu items are from the original Siam Thai Cuisine menu – although the menu is getting a makeover for the summer. Asavadejkajorn expects to be releasing that in the next few weeks or so.

One of the favorites at Siam is the Jungle Chicken, with fried, crispy chicken that is stir-fried with pineapple, bell peppers and basil in a tangy garlic-chili sauce. Not surprisingly for a Thai restaurant, Panang Curry is also on the list of popular entrées. “We have the best Panang Curry in the city,” Asavadejkajorn says. “And people used to say we have the best peanut sauce, but now there are too many.”

Siam’s Soy Ginger Salmon, Shu-Chee Catfish or Salmon, and Scallop Prik Paow (sautéed chili scallops) are other favorites.

For Asavadejkajorn, keeping the atmosphere welcoming and the prices affordable is very important. “The treatment of the neighbors here is very important. If people can afford to come out, it keeps the business going,” he said.

Siam has a constantly rotating wine list, with about 40-50 bottles on it at any given time. There are six beers available on tap, and a featured cocktail list that changes every six months or so, in addition to a full service bar.

Dinner is available all day, however a lunch menu is also served during the weekdays to offer smaller portions and lower prices. Siam Thai kitchen hours are 11:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 11:30 p.m. on Friday, and from 3 – 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3 – 10 p.m.

Happy Hour at Siam offers about a dozen small entrées for $5-7 each, martinis for $7, $3.50 draft beers, $3 bottled beers, and $4.50 house wines by the glass. Happy Hour is daily from 3 – 6 p.m. and from 9 p.m. until close, and all day on Monday.


Lake Union Restaurant Spotlight: Sushi Kappo Tamura

Set along Eastlake Avenue, Sushi Kappo Tamura is the place to enjoy delicious sushi in a casual, Lake Union restaurant environment. Steve Takamura and Taichi Kitamura opened the place in July of 2010.

“We use local ingredients with Japanese style,” says Taichi. “And we source local ingredients as much as we can … we like to buy directly from the farmer and fisherman.” What’s more, they have their own rooftop garden, where the vegetables and herbs used in their dishes are grown.

In addition to sushi classics including salmon, tuna, eel, prawns, and more, the Lake Union restaurant offers delectable oysters and even geoduck. Sushi makes up most of what they offer at the restaurant, although there are several cooked options as well. Their Miso soup and the pork cutlet are two favorites from the cooked side of the menu, as is their Black Cod Filet and the whole Red Snapper.

Oysters on the half shell have been a longtime highlight at Sushi Kappo Tamura. They are also known for their Mustard Greens with Washington Albacore tuna dressed in a delicious almond wasabi sauce. The restaurant’s sushi rolls are updated seasonally, with some long-standing classics as well.

“Our specialty is in Omakase, which features the best of what we have that day,” says Taichi. The meal is $100 per person for seven courses. A sample menu on the website includes oysters, Sushi Kappo Tamura’s signature albacore and mustard greens salad, a mushroom and Alaskan idiot fish dobin mushi, Chef’s choice sashimi and nigiri, flat iron steak, King salmon, and a chestnut butterscotch crème brulée to finish.

With everything at Sushi Kappo Tamura, “our guests can expect good quality at a reasonable price,” Kitamura said. “We want them to spend time, and enjoy good food.” He likes to focus on seasonal and local Pacific Northwest ingredients, while sticking to the authentic Japanese preparation. “It emphasizes the flavors best,” Kitamura says.

Dinner is offered seven days per week at Sushi Kappo Tamura. They also offer their version of brunch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The brunch special includes seven pieces of sushi with sides like the restaurant’s signature soups and rice.

The restaurant has a full bar, as well as wines and beers available to enjoy alongside your meal. Sushi Kappo Tamura has an extensive sake list, with over 50 selections. There are ten wines available by-the-glass, a couple of draft beer options, and a few more by the bottle. Additionally, the restaurant offers a seasonally-changing cocktail list.

Sushi Kappo Tamura is open daily for dinner from 5 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and till 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Lake Union Restaurant Spotlight: Chandler’s Crabhouse

Chandler’s Crabhouse celebrated its 25th anniversary as a Lake Union restaurant in Chandler’s Cove late this last year. It’s one of the Schwartz Brothers Restaurants (started in 1973).

“Our original concept was to offer a market of East Coast and Seattle seafood, but that evolved to a West Coast focus after we discovered that’s what our customers wanted,” says General Manager Robert Onstad.

Since their earlier days, the staff and management at Chandler’s Crabhouse has endeavored to source responsibly and sustainably with as much of its seafood and other ingredients as possible. The problem? They haven’t been talking about it!

Chandler’s Crabhouse is making an extra effort to not only spread the word about their longtime best practices in sourcing their ingredients; they are also going the extra mile. Most recently, the restaurant has been going through the arduous process of becoming certified through Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Eco-Certification & Seafood Watch program.

“We try to buy everything as local as we can,” Robert says. “If it’s not local, we’re making sure it’s sustainably sourced … Of course, we’re at the mercy and honesty of the people growing and harvesting the food, and it takes effort and research but it’s worth it.”

Additionally, Chandler’s has partnered with Seattle Central Community College’s culinary department to find more ways to source sustainable ingredients.

“We’re going to do everything we can to participate in how people make their buying decisions, to help meet their needs and what they want to see,” Onstad said. “People want to know where their food comes from … We don’t do it because it’s trendy, we do it because it’s what you’re supposed to do.”

The menu at Chandler’s changes seasonally, of course. They are famous for their Dungeness Crab (which is also a sustainable product at the Lake Union restaurant) from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. “We buy more than any other restaurant in the city,” Robert says. They also have several varieties of fresh oysters available throughout the year. Another favorite, and signature dish at Chandler’s Crabhouse is the Whisky Crab Soup. Their chowder is made Northwest-style, with both surf and razor clams. The Crab Rockefeller, made with Dungeness crab legs, creamed spinach, bacon and hollandaise sauce is a popular item as well.

While Chandler’s prides itself on it’s classic menu (for both seafood and items sourced from the land), they are going to be introducing more unique items in the near future.

For six years running, Chandler’s has received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for their wine list, which is heavy on the Northwest side. Their wines are largely from small production wineries, and the restaurant actually has a winemaker on staff whose wine they sell in-house. “We’re really committed to local,” Robert says. Chandler’s has over 200 bottles on their list, with around 30 white, red and sparkling options by-the-glass.

On the beer side of things, they have eight or nine rotating draft beers, continuing their commitment to local brands as well as a few national favorites. The cocktail menu changes seasonally, for a fresh new specialty in spirits to enjoy, alongside the Lake Union restaurant’s full bar. There are also a couple of ciders available for those inclined (or those looking for a gluten-free option).

“We have menu items that are gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian,” Onstad said. “We want our customers to see that we understand those needs and take them seriously.”

Chandler’s Crabhouse is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., and for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 4 – 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 – 10 p.m. Happy Hour is seven nights a week (in the lounge only) from 3 p.m. until close, with wines by the glass and appetizer specials and $1 off draft and bottled beers. There is also a weekend brunch from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Featured photo of Chandler’s Raw Bar display, courtesy Chandler’s Crabhouse.

Lake Union Restaurant Spotlight: Agua Verde

In an old house that was previously used by the University of Washington for their fishery sciences, now resides the iconic summer (and year-round) dining and recreational destination, Agua Verde Café and Paddle Club. The Lake Union restaurant Agua Verde Café was opened in 1998, just after its neighboring paddle club.

It’s cafeteria-style dining of Mexican-inspired dishes during the day (pay at the counter, and sit where you like), and turns more traditional restaurant-style at night. During the summer, Agua Verde serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, but they are closed Sundays during the winter.

An outside espresso window offers great coffee and espresso, freshly-made breakfast burritos, and house-made pastries during weekday and weekend mornings.

According to Agua Verde’s website, “We offer fun & casual waterfront dining, serving a mix of original & traditional Mexican fare, but by God it’s Authentic! Our menu is prepared fresh, from scratch daily, incorporating organic, local & sustainable sources. We work closely with local farms & organizations.”

“It’s our ‘Loco for Local’ program, with a focus on local, organic ingredients,” says manager Katie Markert. “We’re really transparent about our ingredients.”

In addition to a purposeful use of local ingredients, the Lake Union restaurant offers selections for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diners.

While specials change daily, signature dishes at Agua Verde are the Tacos de la Casa, specifically the Bacaloa: fried Alaskan cod with coconut beer tempura, shredded cabbage, and creamy avocado sauce. The Bacalao was so loved in taco form that chefs added rice and pinto beans and made it a burrito option as well!

Another kitchen feature is the Mangodilla; a traditional flour tortilla with jack cheese, mango, poblano chiles and scallions. There are daily specials every day of the week, to keep things interesting – and delicious! Head to the salsa bar for your selection from three house-made salsas served in gigantic bowls on a bicycle wheel cart.

The Prickly Pear Margarita is a must-have from the drink menu. All of their juices are made in-house for ultimate freshness.

While Happy Hour is only Monday through Thursday during the summer, it transfers to daily from 4 – 6 p.m. during the winter. The Happy Hour menu includes discounts on beer, wine, and tequila shots, as well as two house margaritas and $4-$6 food.

Agua Verde Café is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch, and from 4 – 9 p.m. for dinner.