Seattle is home to a lot of restaurants, and among them are hidden gems some Seattleites just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food luminaries to share with us their under the radar recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Seattle native Eric Donnelly is the chef and co-owner of RockCreek Seafood and Spirits in Fremont. In 2013, the year he opened RockCreek, Donnelly received a James Beard Award nod for Best Chef Northwest. Donnelly has a long history in the Seattle restaurant scene. In 1998 he opened Sazerac and later Toulouse Petit, where he served as Executive Chef.
Donnelly weighs in on his favorite under-the-radar restaurant:
When I get off the line after a busy night at the restaurant, or have a day off with my kid, I like to have honestly prepared food served by engaging people in a fun environment (and probably a cold beer!) and Thaiku in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood really nails this.
Their food is solid, always with just the right amount of richness and spice in the dishes, and they source some pretty cool and unusual ingredients. The dishes that stand out the most for me are the Mieng Kahm, a tray of toasted peanuts, coconut, chili, ginger, and lime that you wrap in a leaf called bai cha plu. The Khao Soi with curried egg noodles, chicken, and pickled mustard greens is superb. And the Pahd Kraplau Kai Dow with spicy ground pork, fried egg, and rice always hits the spot.
Their cocktails are herbal-infused and always delicious. The staff is very attentive and super friendly – and it comes from the heart, no BS. I take my seven-year-old son there a lot and they bring him special dishes and treat him like a prince. He totally digs it.We actually had the RockCreek holiday party there last year. It was crazy fun. My staff is still talking about it. Let’s just say, "whatever happens at Thaiku, stays at Thaiku!"