This week, just one new review from the city's restaurant critics: The Stranger's Angela Garbes on Stateside. Last week, we featured Seattle Met's Kathryn Robinson raving about the same December-opened Vietnamese restaurant in Capitol Hill; Garbes, also a major fan, now adds to the argument to visit.
Like Robinson, Garbes raved about the restaurant's service and about chef/owner Eric Johnson's fresh, "respectful" contribution to Seattle's landscape of Vietnamese cuisine. She also provides an example illuminating both, and highlights how being in Stateside can be a transporting experience:
"In the midst of a big meal of bold flavors, an entrée of clam rice ($23)—a bowl filled with jasmine rice, clams and mussels (perfectly cooked and taken out of their shells), roasted peanuts, pork rinds, red onion, and herbs—came exactly when we needed it, its clean flavors providing a respite. The dish comes with a separate bowl of hot clam broth (despite its unappealing murky gray color, it was delicious and deeply flavorful), a plate of traditional accompaniments (shrimp crackers, sliced star fruit), and a pitcher of salty, fermented shrimp paste. Diners are told to mix the different elements together. What could have been an awkward and overwhelming encounter with an unfamiliar dish was made easy by our server, who assured us: 'You know best. Just do what feels right and intuitive.'"