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Week in Reviews: The Stranger "Happy to Be Alive" at RockCreek; Seattle Times Likes Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen

[Photos: S. Pratt, Isarn Thai Soul/Facebook ]

The Stranger's Bethany Jean Clement reviews Eric Donnelly's RockCreek, and although at first glance the restaurant's fish-centric menu looked long and unremarkable, the food and drinks pretty much kill it. The Fremont spot's service, says the critic, is "unfailingly pleasant," even if there were a handful issues with the timing of her courses.

The biggest misstep of two visits: overcooked prawns in hot broth that, "missed its Southern spicing by a mile—it was strongly sour—and the Anson Mills grits were heavy, lumpy, and unappealing." Plus, "fresh sharing plates and cutlery were never provided—at these prices, you might fairly expect not to have your different foods touching."

Back to the good stuff, which is most everything else at RockCreek: "quiveringly raw and cool and silky" hamachi and yelloweye rockfish from Neah Bay, which she says was, "one of the best fish dishes I've had the pleasure to engulf:"

This is food that makes you happy to be alive, right here, right now, full of color and springtime—and it's the least we can do for a fish that gives its life for us. (Those poor prawns!)

Clement also recommends the 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. happy hour, with $5 glasses of wine and $8 drink specials, plus food in the $5 to $9 range.

Over at Seattle Times, restaurant critic Providence Cicero heads across Lake Washington to Kirkland's Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen. The three-month-old spot was opened by a pair of Thai women who own two Italian restaurants in Bangkok and the owner of Eastside chainlet Bai Tong. The restaurant's sidewalk windows offer a peek at the lake, and it has a cozy bar, rice basket wall decorations, and "wooden tabletops cut like jigsaw pieces."

For Cicero, the menu's noodle standouts include two dishes that diners add sauce to when they arrive tableside: Vermicelli with Southern Thai curry topped with blue crab, and "thin, pale pink Isarn rice noodles" with "a peanutty coconut sauce." She also digs a squid ringlet and tentacle stir-fry, pork ribs "awash in a gravylike tamarind sauce," and everything fried, including and oyster mushrooms and fruit on the green papaya salad. 2.5 stars.
· RockCreek's Seafood Makes You Happy to Be Alive [The Stranger]
· Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen: From crunchy fried to silky, it satisfies [ST]