Sometimes, all it takes is a snarky note on Eater that the owners aren't talking about their plans, and bingo! Phone rings, appointment is made, and Fish Cake Factory co-owner (with her husband Arnon) Jo Kaseter invites us over to take a look at the space, formerly Zeitoon, on Belltown's Fourth Avenue. "We're still building, but we hope to open by September 15th," Jo, an accomplished craft artist told us.
Also on hand for our visit was Fish Factory's chef, a diminutive Vietnamese woman named Vimonsri Wongjaraen, who for the past two decades has been running the kitchens at Thai eatery Bai Tong's two locations (Southcenter and Redmond). Wongjaraen is a cousin of Arnon Kaseter; she originally came to the US to look after the Kasters' two young children. Jo and Arnon went on to launch a mail-order line of adorable headgear for infants called Me & Mom's, which now has storefronts in the Pike Place Market (behind the fish-throwing guys) and on Cannery Row in Monterey, Calif.
Chef Wongjaraen plans a number of fish cakes made from salmon, halibut, trout, catfish, crab and whatever else happens to be in season, spiced with a variety of curries. "More fusion than pure Thai," she acknolwedged, although there will also be a short menu of traditional dishes like Phad Thai. The signature dish, she hopes, will be a banana leaf cup, with spinach at the bottom, topped with a fish soufflé, for about $9. There's a rudimentary website, sure to improve.