Welcome back to Week in Reviews. Seattle's food critics recently visited Bok a Bok, 45th Stop N Shop & Poke Bar, Little Uncle, Saint Helens, and Itto's Tapas. Here's what they had to say:
WHITE CENTER—In an early look for The Seattle Times, Tan Vinh says the ultra-popular, consistently-sold-out Korean wings at Bok a Bok Fried Chicken are "worth the wait," even if the sandwiches aren’t:
"Get the wings "naked" with the sauce on the side so they remain crispy. (They’ll stay crispy even 30 minutes later in a to-go box.) Korean BBQ and hot chili are their best sauces. The dense, but moist biscuit is like biting into a stick of butter."
WALLINGFORD—Seattle Weekly’s Nicole Sprinkle gets past her initial wariness of the "coupling of raw fish and a mini-mart" at insanely popular 45th Stop N Shop & Poke Bar, whose poke bowls "may be the best meal and deal going in Seattle right now":
"The salmon is marbled and lush, wih [sic] an almost crème-brûlée kind of creamy decadence. The tuna is perfect. The snapper is chewier; it has some texture, a density that complements the pliancy of the other two fish. You can cherry-pick which fishies you want in your bowl, just as you can choose spicy or regular, but I recommend going for all three (it’s only $2 extra and a steal of a meal for $12)."
CAPITOL HILL—For Seattle Met, Kathryn Robinson declares that the third home’s the charm for Little Uncle, whose walk-up window was "too small" and whose Pioneer Square basement was "too big":
"A $13-ish menu of noodle bowls, starring tamarind phad thai (add the side packets of chilies and nuts and sugar if you want intrigue) and exquisite khao soi gai (chicken curry over egg noodles) is served 11am to 9pm, with an added card of shareables after 5pm."
LAURELHURST—Also for the Met, Robinson finds plenty to like at one of Josh Henderson’s many new openings, Saint Helens, "a crisp and breezy fantasy of a French bistro" whose kitchen is animated by "good old American, lip-smacking relish":
"...one wanton excess after another: lavishly overbuttered, grilled Columbia City Bakery bread; palate-lacquering housemade "American" cheese (a modernist tweak of Beecher’s) and umami-rich XO sauce for the Saint Helens burger; terrine richly unctuous as a meaty hash and nicely offset with bitter ramp pistou, pistachios, and egg yolk."
WEST SEATTLE—The Stranger’s Angela Garbes praises "charming neighborhood spot" Itto’s Tapas, a Moroccan restaurant whose food is "a little hit or miss" but where "you'll find yourself happily going along with things and ordering another round of food and drinks anyway":
"Lamb and cumin come together again—brilliantly—in the lamb brochette ($5), another straightforward dish that shines. Tender chunks of spice-rubbed lamb are threaded onto skewers and served with an eggplant puree. The puree is humble-looking but tastes luxurious on the tongue—bright and acidic, silky and rich. (Itto's menu is filled with very reasonably priced small plates, but at $5, this one is an especially good value.)"