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Archive for March, 2011

The Market Arms – 3/29/2011

Website

Location: 2401 NW Market St

Hours:

Mon-Fri: 11am-2am

Sat-Sun: 10am-2am

Happy Hour:

Daily: 3-6

Sun-Wed: 10pm-12am

After a meh phone interview, J offered to console my job woes with a dinner out. I chose the Market Arms because I happen to like their food and 20oz pints of Strongbow cider.

The Market Arms sits at the west end of the main part of Market St, located in what used to be an antique furniture store. When refurbishing it as a British style pub, the owners incorporated the huge display windows and the open interior to great effect. It really is one of the nicer bars in Ballard, with a British theme that doesn’t get too twee. Lots of dark wood and dark green walls. Plenty of seating, along the walls, at round tables in the center and stand-up tables nearer to the bar. There’s a pool table near the back, TVs that play soccer whenever there’s a game and a great juke box filled with 1980’s British music, when it’s working. Even when the juke box isn’t working, there is always ‘80’s Brit pop playing. The Market Arms is still the only place I have ever heard The Housemartins played.

On Fridays and Saturdays the bar can have a “meat market/douchtastic” vibe but the rest of the week it’s a comfortable place to have a pint and some thoroughly bad for you British style pub grub. Due to its size, the Market Arms is also a great place for group events and you can reserve tables for groups by calling the number on their website.

The Service:

Considering that there weren’t that many people in the pub, the service was kind of spotty. I had arrived well before J, who had some bus issues from work, and received my pint of Strongbow and order of Jalapeño Poppers fairly quickly. The service issues started once J arrived. I took a while for someone, a different server altogether, to take his drink order and then took an even longer time for our original server to take our food order. They have a tendency to be a bit understaffed.

The Drinks:

A British pint of draft Strongbow cider. 20oz. Nuff said.

J had his usual Long Island Iced Tea. He has said that the Long Islands at the Market Arms are the best in Ballard and this one was no exception.

The Food:

I have an inexplicable fondness for Jalapeno Poppers, those fried nuggets of breaded slices of jalapeno pepper stuffed with cream cheese. Just about the only place I can get these disgusting things is the Market Arms so I ordered a basket while I waited for J to arrive. Most of the time the cream cheese interior is molten to the point where I usually burn my tongue when I bite into the popper. Last night they were a just hair undercooked. Not cold but just warm and the breading tasted a bit doughy. I’ve had better … if you can define any jalapeno popper as “better” … there other times.

For my entrée, I decided on the Sausage & Mash, 2 British bangers served over creamy mashed potatoes with onion gravy. The bangers were great with a nice snap to the outer casing and a sweetish pork interior that held together when sliced. The “creamy” mashed potatoes weren’t exactly creamy. More rustic with chunks of unpeeled red potatoes. The potatoes tasted better when paired with the brown, thick onion gravy. The gravy was lovely with slices of caramelized onion and a slight vinegary taste.

J ordered the large Fish & Chips, 2 pieces of arctic cod dipped in beer batter with tartar sauce and fries. He’s said it’s one of his favorite fish & chip plates in the city. The fries are thick-cut, with the peel left on. Crispy on the outside and nice and creamy on the inside. The fish portions are huge … although, he claims they’ve shrunk a little since the pub opened …

The Price:

20oz Strongbow Cider: $5.25

Long Island Iced Tea: $8.00

Jalapeno Poppers: $5.00

Sausage and Mash: $9.00

Large Fish and Chips: $11.00

The Verdict:

When it first opened, the Market Arms was exceptional. The drinks were cheap and strong (for months J got $5.50 Long Islands there). The food was great, consistent and the portions were huge. The juke box worked. Now, while the Market Arms has its faults: spotty service and an occasional inconsistency with some of the food, we’ll go back. The atmosphere, the music and the British food on the menu make it one of our go-to restaurants in Ballard. I would definitely say take a chance on the food. Last week I had a lunch crab cake special there that was really quite good. It’s a good place to hang out with friends, eat some pub grub and listen to British music.

And, well, the 20oz draft Strongbow. I’d go back to the Market Arms for that alone.

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Lock & Keel Tavern – 3/27/2011

No Website

Location: 5144 Ballard Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Fri: 4pm-2am

Sat-Sun: 11:30am-2am

Happy Hour:

Daily: 4-7

The Lock & Keel stands out as one of Ballard’s dive bars. Dark even on the sunniest of days. A mix of older, blue-collar workers, pool players (Sunday is free pool day) and guys watching whatever game happens to be on the TV. The décor is sea shanty chic. A huge racing boat with room for an 8-person crew hangs from the ceiling. The pool lights used to house outboard motors. It reminds me of the sailor bar in Airplane!

Oddly enough, instead of the usual bar fare, the Lock & Keel serves house-smoked barbeque. The smell of smoked meat assails you the minute you walk in. J and I had attempted to go here once before but made the mistake of hitting it on trivia night. This time, late afternoon on a Sunday, the place was still crowded but not packed. We fought our way past the crowd of people congregating at the bar to a table back by the pool tables.

The Service:

The one thing to remember about the Lock & Keel is that you get bar service there. This means there are usually only two people working, the bartender and a server/barback. Do not expect quick service unless you’re seated at the bar. It took a while for someone to come take our order but once that happened, our server (the bartender) was relatively friendly. Our drinks and food came out in fairly quick manner as well. The only hitch was when we wanted our check but as I said before … bar service.

The Drinks:

I ordered Strongbow cider, good as usual and draft to boot. J had his usual Long Island Iced Tea, which he said was a little too sweet.

The Food:

I had the Bum Steer, a shredded beef brisket sandwich with tangy BBQ sauce and potato salad. The sandwich was BBQ in its purest form. Just a Kaiser roll with meat and BBQ sauce. Nothing fancy. The Kaiser roll was soft enough to easily bite but hefty enough to not fall apart under the onslaught of BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce was their milder choice. Tangy with a hint of sweet spiciness. I found the brisket just smoky enough with a hint of wood flavor. When paired with the sauce, the sandwich was lovely. The meat on its own, though, was a bit too dry for my taste. The potato salad was exceptional. Perfectly cooked red potatoes in a creamy dressing with celery, onion and just a hint of dill.

J ordered the Two-Step meal, shredded brisket and pork, spicy BBQ sauce, coleslaw and garlic mashed potatoes. He loved the garlic-mashed potatoes. A complete surprise for a dive bar. The coleslaw was nothing special. The spicy BBQ sauce was a good mix between spicy and sweet. The meat could’ve been much juicier. Even with the sauce it still was drier than he would’ve liked. He did like the mix of beef and pork though.

The Price:

I’m having to backward engineer the price since we weren’t able to keep the itemized list and the Lock & Keel doesn’t have a website I can use to double check. Prices are estimated.

Strongbow Cider: $3.25 (Happy Hour price)

Long Island Iced Tea: $ 7.00

Bum Steer: $ 6.50

Two-Step: $ 8.50

The Verdict:

The Lock & Keel is okay. We’ve both said it seems different than it was a few years ago. A little rougher maybe? The BBQ is okay but not good enough to go out of the way to brave the dinginess. Granted, it does have Strongbow on tap but even at that, I don’t see us going there again unless it’s with a group for a pub crawl or something.

Palermo – 3/26/2011

Website

Location: 2005 NW Market St

Hours:

Sun: 9:30am-10 pm

Mon-Thurs: 11am-10pm

Fri: 11am-11pm

Sat: 9:30am-11pm

After having seen Sucker Punch at the Cinerama, J was in the mood for Italian for some reason, so we decided to visit the cheaper of the many Italian options in Ballard. Odd that. There are as many Italian restaurants in Ballard as there are Thai.

Palermo is in a storefront right on Market Street tucked in between a dry cleaners and the now empty storefront that once housed Epilogue Books. It’s a very unassuming little place. Light. Airy. Not at all pretentious. It feels like the family run restaurant it seems to be. The menu is long ranging from calzones to pizza to hot sandwiches to pasta and all with an Italian flair with hints of Greece here and there.

The Service:

Our waitress was very friendly, pausing to describe the special in great detail. She willingly answered our questions about the content of our dishes. Once we ordered, the food, a salad course followed by pasta, came out with amazing speed. Especially the pasta course, which came out virtually the minute we had finished our salads and was piping hot.

The Drinks:

J and I decided to share a carafe of the house red wine. It wasn’t the best red wine I’ve ever had but it was fine. Obviously a red blend, the wine had a bitey grape flavor with a surprisingly smooth finish. J commented that the wine tasted like it was made in the back of the restaurant … in a good way.

The Food:

The meal came with a huge house baked roll and a dipping oil of olive oil and paprika. The roll was hot, tender and delicious. J loved the dipping oil with its spicy, almost curry tasting bite.

I ordered the Penne alla Vodka with Seafood, vodka sauce with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, octopus, garlic, basil and parmesan with a side Caesar salad. The Caesar salad was heaped high with romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese and a creamy Caesar dressing. While the dressing lacked the anchovy flavor I’m so fond of, I enjoyed its  slightly salty richness.

The seafood pasta, naturally, had a strong, almost overwhelming, fresh “seafood” taste. I could pull out the distinctive flavors of the clams, mussels and calamari with each bite. The seafood portion was quite tasty with its freshness with each creature well cooked.

My issue with the dish was that the seafood flavor almost completely masked the vodka sauce. With ach bite, I was nearly unable to taste the sauce and what of it I did manage to taste was bland. I ended up squeezing lemon juice, from the lemon wedge that came with my Caesar salad, onto the pasta just to cut the seafood taste. This did bring forth a little of the sauce giving it a brightness it lacked. I would have enjoyed the pasta dish more if the sauce had been bolder. Perhaps a stronger kick of tomato or basil.

J ordered the Baked Fettuccini with Meatballs, in a classic Alfredo sauce backed with feta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese with a side salad. He was pleasantly surprised. It reminded him of Italian restaurants in Pennsylvania, where most of them were run by Greeks. He loved this dish finding the smallish meatballs perfect, delightfully moist with a hint of sweetness. His comment was “I don’t need a meatball the size of a softball.” He felt the addition of feta to the baked cheese topping added a interesting dimension to what could’ve been a common baked pasta.

The Price:

Carafe of House Red Wine: $17.95

Penne alla Vodka with Seafood: $14.25

Baked Fettucini with Meatballs: $13.50

The Verdict:

Even though I felt there was a certain blandness to my pasta, I would be willing to give Palermo another shot. I tried a bite of J’s fettuccini, which was far more flavorful than my penne. I wouldn’t mind trying one of their baked pastas or their calzones, for that matter. The prices are good for the amount and quality of food you receive. It’s a really nice family style restaurant with homemade, inexpensive Italian-Greek food with just enough unexpected touches to make it interesting.

Once this project is done, we’ll go back to Palermo whenever we feel like a good, homey Italian meal that won’t break the bank.

King’s Hardware – 3/15/2011

Website

Location: 5225 Ballard Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Fri: 4-2

Sat-Sun: 12-2

Happy Hour: 4-7

We hadn’t planned on eating at King’s Hardware this week. We had a big dinner at the Matador on Monday and were planning a nice dinner at the Pink Door for my birthday on Wednesday so I was going to fix dinner on Tuesday. Then I read about something special that the owner of King’s Hardware had planned for Tuesday, March 15th.

The owner was donating 100% of the proceeds from King’s Hardware to relief for tsunami and earthquake victims in Japan via the International Medical Corps, a non-profit, non-sectarian group who helps with natural and other disasters worldwide. We figured we could get a review done and help those in Japan at the same time.

King’s Hardware is a burger bar. The aesthetic is hipster hunting lodge chic with stuffed critters on the walls, lots of exposed wood and muted lighting. It’s a nice place to have a burger … during the week. During the weekends, King’s tends to be packed from open to close. This was our third attempt at eating at King’s for the restaurant project having been turned away the previous times due to the crowd. Knowing this, I arrived about 45 minutes after they opened to snag a table. J got off work and showed up about a half-hour later. By the time we left, King’s was completely full.

The Service:

The dude who served us was friendly, quick and polite. When I told him I’d just be ordering a drink and salad while waiting for J, he understood and left a menu. I don’t think we’ve ever had bad service at King’s even when they’re incredibly busy.

The Drinks:

I ordered a Maritime Lager, a light crisp beer and J had his usual Long Island Iced Tea. J quite liked his Long Island and felt that the added black cherry was a welcome addition. We both had a couple of drinks since it was for a good cause.

The Food:

Before J arrived I ordered a small, Caesar Salad. It was pretty good. The dressing was flavorful and creamy without being heavy and the portion size was huge. I prefer my Caesar salad dressing a little fishier but this one was perfectly acceptable.

After J arrived we each ordered one of King’s signature burgers. I chose the Billy Burger, a beef patty topped with goat cheese, roasted garlic and red peppers. One of the tip offs to how good a burger might be is when the server asks how would you like your burger cooked. I asked for medium rare and it came out with nicely seared and pink in the middle. The patty could’ve been a little thicker but the meat was nice and fresh tasting. The hamburger bun was nice and soft making the burger easy to handle. The mixture of the goat cheese, roasted garlic and red pepper tasted lovely. The roasted peppers had the slight caramelized char to the edges that I love. The burger was nicely topped with a fresh tomato, lettuce, red onion and sweet pickle chips. All in all a very good burger.

I ordered onion rings as a side. These weren’t as good as the burger. Just sort of generic, beer batter onion rings. A little greasy and tough to be honest.

J ordered the classic King’s Burger, topped with bacon, cheddar, grilled onions and mushrooms, with a side of sweet potato fries. J loved his burger. The bacon was cooked just right and the patty was well cooked. The sweet potato fries were a hit as well with their sweet, crispy caramelized flavor.

The Price:

Maritime Lager: $3.00 (Happy Hour price)

Long Island Iced Tea: $9.00

Small Caesar Salad: $4.95

Billy Burger with Onion Rings: $9.95 ($1 off for Happy Hour)

King’s Burger: $8.95 ($1 off for Happy Hour)

Side of Ranch: $.50

The Verdict:

Thus far, King’s Hardware has the best burgers in Ballard. The choice of toppings are interesting and of good quality. The sweet potato fries are extremely tasty. J loves their hot wings, which are .25 a piece on Mondays.

The only drawback to King’s Hardware is the crowds. If you want to go there, go early to snag a seat. Otherwise you’ll probably be out of luck.

King’s Hardware will continue to get and deserves our business not just for great burgers but for going well out of their way to help those in Japan.

The Matador – 3/14/2011

Website

Location: 2221 NW Market St

Hours:

11am-2am

Happy Hour:

4-6, 10-1

This time around J and I decided to have a real dinner at the Matador. We’ve had their great happy hour food but had never gotten around to eating dinner there. We chose a Monday not just because it’s our tradition to have a “nice” dinner on the 14th … our first date was on January 14th so we celebrate it on the 14th of every month with some fine dining … but weekdays tend to be a whole lot less “douche-tastic” at the Matador.

The Matador is an open, airy place with a long bar and hipster, Spanish-chic décor. Lots of iron, red draperyand bull-fighting posters. Their menu runs toward fancy Tex-Mex, not authentic but tasty with fresh ingredients. They have a huge selection of tequilas from $8 shots to one $100 shot. While their happy hour doesn’t include drink specials, the food is surprisingly delicious for the price ($4 and $5). The atmosphere during Friday and Saturday evenings does tend toward a singles meat market so we always go during the week.

The Service:

Our server was very friendly, knowledgeable and polite. She really liked the octopus ring J always wears so I think she paid special attention to us.

The Drinks:

J ordered the Bartender’s Margarita, Sauza Gold, triple sec, fresh lime juice, a float of cranberry juice and Grand Marnier, which was very good.

I had my usual, a Pomegranate Margarita, Sauza Gold, triple sec, lime juice and pomegranate juice with salt. Their pomegranate margaritas tend to be a bit sweeter than I like but it’s one of the better pomegranate margaritas in town.

The Food:

We ordered our favorite dish at the Matador for an appetizer, the Tex-Mex Spring Rolls, shredded chicken, corn, black beans and herbs wrapped and fried in spring roll wrappers with avocado-sour cream and sweet chile-sesame sauces. The spring rolls were awesome as always. Never greasy always fried perfectly with a great, ever so slightly spice. While I like the avocado-sour cream sauce, the chile-sesame sauce is my favorite with its honey sweetness followed by a spicy afterburn. Even the bed of cabbage, carrots and hot sauce that the spring rolls rest on merits attention for the freshness of the vegetables and the fact that we actually eat it.

For an entrée, J had the Carne Asada Fajitas, sizzling steak, onions and peppers with a side of tortillas, black beans, cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo and guacamole. His opinion was that it was a good, tasty fajita that kept surprisingly warm throughout dinner.

I ordered the Beef Tenderloin Medallions, quick seared beef with blackening spice, port sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, tomato relish and seasonal vegetables. The blackening spice imparted a spicy bite that complimented the port sauce. The tenderloin was seared well with a nice pink center that reminded me of seared tuna but it was a little dry. The port sauce helped but not much. I really liked the garlic mashed potatoes, which were left a bit chunky with the skins mixed in. I could have done with a stronger garlic flavor though.

The seasonal vegetable turned out to be brussel sprouts. I don’t like brussel sprouts but I tried these in the spirit of giving them another chance. J described them best when he took a taste. “What I imagine a sweaty foot tastes like.” Enough said.

Since the Matador is one of the only restaurants I’ve ever seen offer it, as a dessert, we decided to each have a shot of Mezcal, a smokier relative of tequila that neither of us had ever tried. I choose Monte Alban and J ordered El Zacatecano Reposado. J described the El Zacatecano as almost liquor in its heft and smoky flavor. I tried a sip and found it spicy with a stronger taste than I like. My Monte Alban was much lighter with floral, piney flavor. Very different compared to tequila. A weightier taste almost like a good whiskey. I wouldn’t mind trying it again.

The Price:

Bartender’s Margarita: $8.00

Pomegranate Margarita: $8.00

Tex-Mex Spring Rolls: $8.75

Tenderloin Medallions: $17.95

Carne Asada Fajita: $15.95

Monte Alban Mezcal: $7.50

El Zacatecano Reposado Mezcal: $10.00

The Verdict:

The entrees were good if a bit over priced. The drinks and the appetizer were tasty and the mezcal was a neat, special occasion addition. I don’t think either of us is in any hurry to do a full dinner at the Matador again because of the price but we will definitely continue to go there again and again for their happy hour menu. The Tex-Mex Spring Rolls alone will bring us back.

Our recommendation, go for the happy hour and the margaritas but pass on dinner.

Zayda Buddy’s – 3/6/2011

Website

Location: 5405 Leary Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Sat: 11am-2am

Sun: 9am-2am

After yet another failed attempt at going to King’s Hardware, we went to Ballard’s only theme restaurant, Zayda Buddy’s. Its claim to fame is their Minnesota style pizza and classic Midwest food and beer. Midwest beers. Bratwurst from Wisconsin. Tater tot hot dish. Have a Midwest experience right in the heart of Ballard.

Zayda Buddy’s is kind of small. Bar area on one side, dining on the other. High ceilings give the main room a much needed airiness. They’re open late so it’s the perfect sort of place to end a Ballard pub-crawl.

The Service:

It was pretty busy for a Sunday evening. There was a large party in the bar area and most of the tables were taken. We found a table along the wall and were served in a fairly quick manner considering there were only two servers and one was also acting as bartender. Both servers who waited on us were friendly and polite.

The Drinks:

J ordered a Long Island Iced Tea, as usual. His opinion of it was “It did its job.”

They were out of the beer I usually order, Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss so I tried one of their specialty cocktails instead. The Southern Minnesotan has Sweet Tea Vodka, mint and lemon. Basically alcoholic iced tea, that didn’t really taste like alcohol. Very cool and refreshing.

The Food:

J ordered the Minnetonka, thin sliced roast beef with white onions, green peppers, mushrooms and topped with warm Land O’ Lakes cheese sauce on a hoagie roll with a green side salad. J LOVED this. His exact words were “OMFG, awesome!”. He said it was the closest to a real Philly cheesesteak he’s had in his 16 years in Seattle. The key was the bright orange Land O’ Lakes cheese sauce. I tasted a bit and was amazed at the tender and moist roast beef. It really was good.

To get into the Midwest spirit of Zayda Buddy’s, I ordered the Tater Tot Hot Dish, or casserole for those who don’t know what a “hot dish” is. Basically it’s ground beef and tater tots mixed together, topped with cheddar cheese and a few crispy tater tots. Stick to your ribs (and arteries) food. It also came with a small garden side salad. I guess this was to make the meal feel healthier?

First the salad, which was a little odd, to be honest. On the good side, the greens were a nice mix rather than the iceberg lettuce I had halfway expected. The honey mustard dressing turned out to be quite different. I could tell they used yellow mustard rather than Dijon which gave the dressing a tangier, sharper flavor. Very interesting. The only thing I didn’t like about the salad was the beet, pickled onion, tomato, garbanzo bean and pepper topping. Must be a Midwest thing. I just don’t like beets so I scraped this stuff off.

The tater tot hot dish was good if a little under seasoned. The ground beef had a great flavor and the potatoes gave that distinct “tater tot” flavor without being heavy or greasy. The cheddar was generic, neon orange cheese. Kind of flavorless, actually. I wish they’d put the cheese sauce from the cheese steak on it instead.

While taking bites of the salad and the hot dish, I noticed the flavor of the latter was complimented quite nicely by the honey mustard dressing. The tartness of the dressing imparted an extra dimension to the beef and potatoes. Part way through I ended up dipping bits of the hot dish into a blob of Plochman’s mustard for the rest of the meal. The hot dish just needed something extra to take it up a notch. For me, the mustard did it but some jalapeños or onions would be a welcome addition as well. Of course, that would probably not make it authentically Midwestern …

The Price:

Long Island Iced Tea: $7.00

Southern Minnesotan: $9.00

Minnetonka Sandwich: $9.99

Substitute Garden Side Salad: $2.00

Tater Tot Hot Dish: $10.99

The Verdict:

J said it best when he described Zayda Buddy’s as the perfect place to end a Ballard pub-crawl. Homey. Friendly. Strong drinks. Very good comfort food. The cheese steak alone is enough to get J to go back. I’ll probably try something else next time. They do make a good hot pastrami sandwich and their fried cheese curds are the perfect bar food. We’ll definitely go back.

Uma Thai Cuisine – 3/4/2011

No Website

Location: 5401 20th Ave

Hours: I will post this later.

After our first day at the Emerald City Comicon, J and I decided we wanted some Thai food. Considering J actually had cash on him, we opted for Uma Thai Cuisine, a little place that sports an offer of 15% off your meal if you pay cash.

Uma Thai Cuisine turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. It’s an unassuming little place just off Market Street on 20th. High ceilings, ten tables and very quiet. There are a few Buddha heads and a burbling fountain that give the whole place a monastic feel, which is a chance from the overdone, Thai decorative themes of other such restaurants.

The Service:

Considering that there was only one person taking orders, answering the phone, serving drinks, and garnishing every dish that came out of the two person kitchen, the service was quite good. On top of everything above, this single server also cashed out your meal, which included calculating the 15% off if you pay cash for your meal. He was so mellow and quiet when taking our order I told J that it was like talking to a human quaalude.

Do not go into Uma expecting fast service. If you want that, go to any of the other, hole-in-the-wall Thai places in Ballard. If you want a relaxed, mellow meal, Uma is the place to go.

The Drinks:

While Uma does serve wine (and only wine), J opted for water and I for hot, green tea. My tea was nice and so hot I had to wait until halfway through my meal to drink it, which was okay with me.

The Food:

J ordered Lard Nar, stir-fried, wide, rice noodles with black bean gravy sauce, vegetables and tofu. This was a dish he hadn’t had in a good long while since it’s easy to mess up. This version turned out quite good. Very fresh tofu, a great sauce, and nicely cooked carrots. He ordered it to be two stars on the heat scale and found it to be seasoned perfectly. Also, the serving size was huge for the price.

I decided to try their Pad Kee Mao, the same dish I had at the first Thai place we reviewed. This dish of stir-fried, wide, rice noodles with basil, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage and bell pepper in a spicy sauce with chicken was very good. Another huge portion. One thing I noticed was how fresh and light the rice noodles tasted compared to other rice noodles I’ve had. The vegetables kept a bit of a crunch rather than being mushy. I asked for three stars and while it was a little too spicy for me, it wasn’t inedible.

I think the only minor problem was the dish was missing the caramelized flavor I’m used to with other versions of Pad Kee Mao. But this issue is so minor compared to the great taste otherwise I’m almost loath to mention it.

The Price:

Green Tea: $1.50

Lard Nar: $6.99

Pad Kee Mao: $6.99

We opted to pay with cash, so our entire bill, without tip, came to under $15.00. Unless you choose a seafood dish, most items run in the $6.99-7.99 range.

The Verdict:

Unless one of the other Thai restaurants on our list bowls us over, Uma Thai will be our Thai restaurant of choice in Ballard. The prices are amazingly low for the tasty, fresh, well prepared food you receive. The service, while a bit slow, is polite and mellow. Once our survey of the Thai places in Ballard is done, I can realistically imagine asking J to pick up meals from Uma on his way home from work.

Uma is one of Ballard’s hidden gems. If you’re not in a hurry and you enjoy Thai food in a relaxing atmosphere, definitely give Uma a chance.

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