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Archive for June, 2011

Malena’s Taco Shop – 6/25/11

No Website

Location: 2010 NW 56th St

Hours:

Tues-Sat: 11am-9pm

Sunday: 12pm-7pm

We needed something quick yet filling for lunch on Saturday since J was headed to a friend’s house for a guys-only afternoon/evening of gaming and drinking. We chose Malena’s Taco Shop mainly for its location and price.

Malena’s is located a block north of Market Street in a spare space that reminds me of a teriyaki joint. Lots of tables. Large menu on the wall. No nonsense service. Authentic but slightly Americanized food. I suppose their primary customers come for the food not the atmosphere.

The Service:

You order, pay (Malena’s only accepts cash and check) and get your drinks at the counter then they will bring your food to you. The woman at the counter was a bit brusque but our order did arrive very quickly.

The Drinks:

J and I ordered fountain drinks.

The Food:

Our meal came with chips and a very good fire-roasted tomato salsa. I also requested a side of guacamole, which was fresh but bland. The only thing in it seemed to be avocado and a bit of cilantro. It definitely needed salt, pepper and some cumin.

J chose the Carne Asada Burrito with guacamole. The burrito was huge, stuffed to the gills with seasoned beef and veggies and wrapped in a homemade tortilla. J told me the ingredients were great but the burrito wasn’t wrapped tight enough so halfway through eating, it fell apart.

I ordered the Steak Fajita Combo, which came with beans, rice, and tortillas. The steak tasted nice with the spicy char I expect from fajitas. The mix of onions and peppers were cooked perfectly, leaving them with a nice crunch. Otherwise, I really wish I could order fajitas without beans and rice. I rarely eat them and the ones at Malena’s were not particularly good. Also, the tortillas, once they cooled off, got very dry and brittle.

The Price:

Fountain Drinks: 2 @ 1.75 ea.

Guacamole: 1.50

Carne Asada Burrito: 7.75

Steak Fajita: 7.00

The Verdict:

Malena’s Taco Shop serves acceptable, cheap Mexican food that is far above the normal fast food options. The ingredients are obviously fresh and reasonably tasty. It’s relatively authentic but obviously slightly Americanized. I think if Malena’s opened now, it would most likely be as an okay taco truck rather than a brick and mortar restaurant.

Frankly, if I’m in the mood for quick Mexican food, I’ll go down the street to the El Camion taco truck where I can get better tasting and more authentic Mexican street food for only a couple of dollars more.

I honestly don’t think we’ll go back to Malena’s Taco Shop. It wasn’t horrible but not really good enough for a return trip.

Categories: Restaurants Tags: , , , ,

India Bistro – 6/24/11

Website

Location: 2301 NW Market St

Hours:

Mon-Thurs: 11:30-3, 5-9

Fri-Sat: 11:30-3, 5-9:30

Sun: 5-9

My family is not what you would call adventurous eaters. Strictly meat and potatoes. My experience with “ethnic” food before I started hanging out in Seattle was limited to Mexican restaurants and the occasional trip to a Chinese buffet. I was in my early thirties before I had tried Thai, sushi, Ethiopian, Greek or Indian food. India Bistro in Ballard was where I had Indian food for the first time with a group of people I had just met through my friend Chris.

India Bistro is Ballard’s only Indian Restaurant. Located on the corner of Market Street and Ballard Avenue, it’s a small place with a dozen or so tables and limited outdoor seating. With white tablecloths and low lighting, India Bistro exudes a romantic atmosphere missing in the majority of restaurants in Ballard, making it a popular place for couples on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Service:

When J and I arrived around 7 on Friday night, the restaurant was already crowded with couples and families. Even though there seemed to be a two-person table available, we had to wait longer than I prefer to be seated. In fact we considered going somewhere else when a different table came free. Because it was busy, I supposed, once seated, it took a while to get our order in. After these two delays, our food did come out relatively quickly.

Full disclosure, I was in kind of a bad mood that day but if the free table was on reserve for someone, there should have been a sign on it. There was a larger table with a reserved sign in the middle so it’s not as if reserving a table isn’t common. Most likely if we’d walked in to find all the tables occupied, we would have moved on elsewhere.

One extra note about India Bistro: even on the coldest days, the restaurant is very warm. By the time our meal was finished, both J and I were glad to get some fresh, cool air.

The Drinks:

J chose a Riesling, which he said, was very good.

I ordered the Mists of Sahyadri Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine from India, because I had never encountered an indigenous Indian wine. I was completely floored by its dark, spicy aroma and peppery flavor. It went quite well with my entrée.

The Food:

As an appetizer we ordered the Paneer Pakoras, paneer cheese deep-fried in pakora batter. The fried paneer reminded me of fried tofu more than cheese. A little spongy but creamy as well. Not bad.

Whenever J and I go out for Indian food we always order Naan. This time we chose Garlic and Keema (lamb) Naan. At India Bistro the naan is huge and moist with the lovely slightly charred flavor that I’ve come to expect from naan prepared in a traditional tandoor oven. “Killer” is how J described it.

J decided to order the Murgh Tandoori, half a spring chicken marinated in Indian spices then grilled in the tandoor. He figured the best dish by which to judge an Indian restaurant would be the tandoori chicken. Most of the chicken was dark meat, two drumsticks and thighs. He said the meat was moist and had the great smoky flavor he associates with really good tandoori chicken. He especially liked the honey sweet tomato sauce they served with the Murgh Tandoori. Really great.

I chose the Roughan Josh, lamb chunks cooked with tomato, ground onions, ginger, yogurt, and Indian spices. The sauce tasted creamy and spicy with just a hint of sweetness. The chunks of lamb were fork tender. Pretty good though next time, when asked, I’ll request a spice level of medium-hot. It was just a little bland.

The Price:

The prices are estimated because I forgot to write down the exact costs and they do not list prices on their website.

Riesling: 7.00

Cabernet Sauvignon: 6.00

Paneer Pekora: 6.95

Garlic Naan: 5.95

Keema Naan: 6.95

Murgh Tandoori: 11.95

Roughan Josh: 11.95

The Verdict:

India Bistro serves really good food. The food was excellent and the quality of the wine, especially the indigenous Cabernet Sauvignon, was a surprise. I would love to find a bottle of Mists of Sahyadri.

Granted, India Bistro is the only choice for Indian food in Ballard but we’re lucky our only choice is of such high quality. They do the familiar, like naan and tandoori chicken, exceptionally well and have an extensive menu of less familiar options.

J and I have never had a bad meal at India Bistro. Yes, it can get crowded, the service can be a bit slow, and 9 times out of 10 you will wait for a table but it’s worth it considering how consistently good the food is. We’ll definitely go back.

Categories: Restaurants Tags: , , , ,

Scooter’s Burgers & Shakes – 6/20/11

No Website

Location: 5802 24th Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Sat: 11am-9pm

Sun: 12pm-8pm

J and I were craving a simple, no nonsense burger that wouldn’t cost much. Of the many non-fast food burger options in Ballard, Scooter’s Burgers & Shakes was the obvious choice.

Scooter’s is a small burger shack located next to the QFC on 24th. It’s apparent from the limited seating that this is primarily a take-away burger place. There are a few seats inside along a bar under the windows and three picnic tables outside. Luckily it was one of those rare (for this “summer” at least) sunny Seattle days so J and I snagged a table outside.

The Service:

The girl who took our order was friendly if a bit frazzled. I got the impression it was her first day on the job. Other than that, the service was okay. Our order seemed to have come out very quickly.

The Drinks:

J had a Coke.

Scooter’s offers a smaller sized version of their milkshakes so I ordered a Mini Chocolate Milkshake. It was half the size of a regular milkshake and the perfect size for me since I usually leave at least a quarter of a normal sized milkshake. The shake itself was quite good with a nice, rich chocolate flavor thought not quite thick enough for me. I like my milkshakes to be so thick that you collapse a lung when drinking them.

The Food:

J chose the Bacon Cheese Burger Combo, with French fries. He liked the burger well enough but felt that the patty was a bit thin. The fries were passable … although I thought they were pretty good when I tasted them.

I noticed a specials placard next to the cash register advertising a Guacamole Burger so I chose that along with a side of onion rings.  I liked the burger. The thinness of the patty didn’t bother me as much since the beef was surprisingly flavorful for a burger shack burger. The guacamole was fresh and chunky. I could have done without the “special burger sauce” but otherwise it was a pretty good burger.

The onion rings tasted good as well. Not too heavy or greasy with a light, crunchy batter.

The Price:

Mini Chocolate Milkshake: 1.95

Guacamole Burger: 5.15

Onion Rings: 2.25

Bacon Cheeseburger Combo with French Fries and a Medium Coke: 7.59

The Verdict:

Scooter’s is a good, fast burger shack that serves burgers, fries and onion rings that are miles above the crap you’d get at McDonald’s or Burger King. If I want a fast, good, fresh burger on a nice day, I could totally see going back to Scooter’s. Not the best burger in Ballard but better than at least one I’ve had so far.

I especially like the idea of a mini-sized milkshake. To be honest, I’ll probably go back on a hot day for a different flavor of mini milkshake before I go back for a burger.

Categories: Restaurants Tags: , , , ,

The Walrus and the Carpenter – 6/14/11

Website

Location: 4743 Ballard Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Sun: 4pm-close

Happy Hour:

Sun-Thurs: 4-6

For months now various friends have urged us to go to The Walrus and The Carpenter, the new oyster bar next door to Staple and Fancy at the south end of Ballard Ave. A few weeks ago we decided to make Walrus and Carpenter our choice for our monthly anniversary dinner.

J left work early so we could make it there just after they opened at 4pm. We figured it might be a little crowded since Walrus and Carpenter received a favorable mention in a travel piece about Seattle  in the New York Times but it was early on a Tuesday so we thought it would be okay. We were wrong. The small, airy space was already packed.

The guy at the door gave us a choice, either wait 45 minutes for a spot to come free or sit outside on the small, 4-table patio. Even though the weather was cool, cloudy and breezy, we chose the patio since they provided ample overhead heat. I have no problem suggesting eating on the patio when it’s open. We were quite comfortable.

The Service:

See that dapper gentleman with the handlebar mustache in the NYT article? That’s who waited on us. He was friendly and quite helpful. When J asked for his opinions on the oysters available, he told us about some of them and brought us a selection of his personal favorites. He even laughed when J made a joke about his choice of drink. Great service.

The Drinks:

We each chose a drink from their specialty cocktail menu. J ordered the Mustache Ride, bourbon, cynar, allspice liqueur, maple and lemon. He said it didn’t taste like it had alcohol in it. It went very well with our meal since it was so light and refreshing.

I chose the Porch Swing, gin, pimm’s, lemon, limonata and cucumber. I pretty much had the same reaction as J. The drink was delightfully light and lemony and complimented the seafood we chose for our meal.

The Food:

The Walrus and the Carpenter specializes in oysters and small plates so we chose bread, a couple of small plates and dessert along with our oysters.

First, simple Bread and Butter with olive oil and sea salt. We received slices of a light rye and a heavier wheat both very nice. The olive oil used with the butter was very mild with just a hint of sea salt.

Our first small plate was the Salmon Tartare, apple, mint, roe and horseradish crème fraiche. Amazing. Even if you don’t like oysters, go to the Walrus and the Carpenter for this dish. The salmon was fine sushi grade. None of the ingredients overwhelmed the others. Each bite was a delight with the tart apples adding a nice texture to the softer elements. Just lovely.

The second small plate was an Octopus Consommé with blood sausage and a poached egg. J does not usually eat octopus so he was glad when the bowl came with no visible evidence of octopus. The consommé tasted salty with just a hint of the heavier flavor of octopus. When broken, the poached egg gave the broth a body, much like an egg drop soup, while the blood sausage added a mineral flavor. Definitely a dish made better when all the ingredients were combined.

At this point our server brought out a tray of his personal favorite fresh oysters. This batch were three types from British Columbia: small Kusshi, the slightly larger Golden Mantle and a group of Efingham oysters. We found these oysters to be light and fresh with a strong ocean taste. Very different than the raw oysters we’ve tasted other places. I preferred mine with just a small squeeze of lemon juice. J enjoyed his with the champagne mignonette and fresh shredded horseradish they provided. Either way, these were delicious.

Since the first selection of oysters were so tasty, we decided to choose another dozen, this time a selection of Washington State oysters, Eagle Rock, Penn Cove and Hama Hama. We’d tried most of these oysters before but it was nice to have to chance to compare them with the British Columbia varieties. The Washington oysters definitely had a heftier, meatier and a butterier flavor and texture without the strong taste of the sea. They were very good but we both preferred the Canadian oysters, especially the Kusshi.

Out of sheer curiosity, I chose the Medjool Dates with olive oil and sea salt for our dessert. This dessert was a complete surprise. The dates came to the table very hot in a pool of the mild, almost sweet olive oil that had been included with the bread and butter earlier. Quite unexpectedly, the combination of sweet date with the olive oil and sea salt created a distinctly salted caramel flavor. A delicious end to a truly exceptional meal.

The Price:

A note about the Happy Hour prices: From 4-6, specialty drinks are $2.00 off. From 4-5, all oysters are half off. From 5-6 all oysters are 25% off.

Mustache Ride: 9.00 (7.00 at Happy Hour)

Porch Swing: 9.00 (7.00 at Happy Hour)

Bread & Butter: 3.00

Salmon Tartare: 12.00

Octopus Consommé: 10.00

Medjool Dates: 8.00

Effinham Oysters: 4 @ 2.00 ea (1.00 Happy Hour Price)

Golden Mantle Oysters: 4 @ 2.00 ea (1.00 Happy Hour Price)

Kusshi Oysters: 4 @ 3.00 ea (1.50 Happy Hour Price)

Eagle Rock Oysters: 4 @ 2.00 (1.50 Happy Hour Price)

Hama Hama Oysters: 4 @ 2.00 (1.50 Happy Hour Price)

Penn Cove Oysters: 4 @ 2.00 (1.50 Happy Hour Price)

The Verdict:

Hands down the best gourmet meal we’ve had for less than $100. The quality of the food and drink mixed with the great Happy Hour pricing makes it completely worth getting there early. It was a lovely, delicious meal that we will probably repeat even before this project is done. The service was great. The atmosphere even out on the patio was laid-back and friendly with other diners asking for suggestions. Great, amazing food. Refreshing, creative drinks. One of the few meals in this project that didn’t have at least one misstep. An exceptional meal all around. We will go back.

Café Mox – 6/12/11

Facebook Page.

Location: 5105 Leary Ave.

Hours:

Sun-Thurs: 10am – 10pm

Fri-Sat: 10am – 12am

Café Mox opened a couple of month’s ago in conjunction with Card Kingdom, Ballard’s new and only game store. Card Kingdom stocks every manner of game from role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, to card games to board games to puzzles. In Café Mox, the coffee/beer/wine bar attached to the main store, you’re allowed, if not outright encouraged, to have a seat, order a beer and play a game. In fact, Card Kingdom has a library of games for you to try out before purchasing. Café Mox is that rare type of bar where you’re far more likely to find Ghostbusters or The Fellowship of the Ring playing on the TV than some random sports event. Since their opening, during the evening the place is packed with people playing games to the point where they had to extend their hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Since J not only works for a game company but also loves play various types of games, Café Mox has naturally become a regular haunt. I think we’ve gone at least one night a week since they opened. It’s basically become the Cheers for the gamer set in Ballard. They offer local microbrews, wine, cider and espresso drinks along with a small menu of appetizers, salads and sandwiches.

Lately on Sundays while I’m at the Ballard Farmer’s Market J goes down to Café Mox since he dislikes farmer’s markets in general. When I met him last Sunday, we had a couple of sandwiches while playing the World of Warcraft trading card game.

The Service:

Since Café Mox has only 10 or 11 tables, the servers act as baristas, bartenders as well as servers. At busy times this means the service might be a little slow. On the Sunday we were there, it was fairly slow so the service was pretty quick. Everyone who works there is very friendly.

The Drinks:

Normally I’ve been ordering Odin Brewing Company’s Freya’s Gold Kolsch, a nice light beer but on Sunday both J and I chose the Ace Cider Company’s Joker hard apple cider, a crisp dry cider.

The Food:

J chose the Tuna Melt, tuna with cucumber, roasted red peppers, olives, tomatoes and red onion topped with spinach and gruyere cheese. Instead of being a traditional sandwich, the tuna melt came as two sliders on herbed buns. He said it was very good.

I ordered their special sandwich, the Garibaldi (I like to think it’s named for Babylon 5’s chief of security, Michael Garibaldi), which has Genoa salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, roma tomatoes, banana peppers and pepper jack cheese on fresh foccacia bread. Delicious. The meats used were obviously of high quality with a greater depth of flavor than store bought deli meats. The banana peppers, a favorite of mine, added an unusual spicy compliment to the rest of the ingredients and the foccacia bread was far softer than most foccacia bread I’ve had. A great sandwich.

The Price:

Ace Cider: 2 @ 12.00

Tuna Melt: 5.50

Garibaldi: 6.50

The Verdict:

J made an interesting observation about Café Mox. When playing at home, most gamers do not eat and drink well. Mountain Dew, Cheetos and fast food are the usual choices. The owners of Café Mox know this. They’re gamers themselves. Yet they chose to offer a higher quality of food and beverages. The use quality ingredients like breads from the great local bakery, Macrina. The microbrews on tap rotate frequently. Even the items offered are more creative than typical gamer fare, including an appetizer of pineapple and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. Café Mox could’ve gone the easy route with their menu but chose not to and they’re not afraid to change things if they’re not working out.

Café Mox is a neat little place. It’s a friendly, comfortable café where it’s easy to lose track of time. You can sit and nurse a drink while reading a fantasy novel or playing Magic with friends or while making fun of the cult movie on the TV or you can just sit there and hang out with your friends. You can even rent a private room to game while being able to order drinks and food from the Café.

Would we order food again? Yes, the food is pretty good and well priced. I’m curious to try some of the other items on the menu. Yeah, some of the beers can be a bit pricy but you just make those choices accordingly. For every slightly over-priced beer, there’s a reasonably priced alternative.

Will we go back to Café Mox? Of course we’ll go back. In fact, you’ll probably see us there.

Ballard Loft – 6/11/11

Website

Location: 5105 Ballard Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Sun: 11:30am-2am

Happy Hour:

Mon-Fri: 4pm-6pm, 10pm-12am

For two weeks J has been craving a hot dog. Not a bratwurst. Not a sausage. A good, old fashioned hot dog. I did some research to find someplace in Ballard that served regular hot dogs and came upon the Ballard Loft.

The Ballard Loft sits at the dark, once unpopular end of Ballard Ave. Bad Albert’s was the only restaurant down there until the Ballard Loft moved in across the street a few years ago. The restaurant sits back from the street behind one of the largest outdoor seating areas in Ballard. The lower level of the restaurant proper is rather small with a few booths and pub tables. Up a flight of stairs is a loft with a few more tables, a pool table and a shuffleboard table along one wall.

To be honest J and I have avoided the Ballard Loft since it’s technically a sports bar. During soccer games in particular the place tends to be packed with loud, boisterous fans watching the game on the multitude of flat screen TVs. We’re not sports fans. The closest we get is watching random Pittsburgh Steeler games and the Kentucky Derby once a year. The night we went there was a Seattle Sounders game on so we were not sure whether there would be seating available. The lower level was pretty packed but we found a table upstairs in the quieter loft.

The Service:

At first neither of us were sure if anyone had seen us go up the stairs but after a couple of minutes a guy, who may have been the owner, came up to see if we’d been waited on. He then took our drink order and within a minute a server arrived to take our food order. Once the order was in, the service was very quick and friendly. They also had no problem with my request to exclude the orange liquor in my specialty house cocktail.

The Drinks:

J, of course, ordered a Long Island Iced Tea, which was “Very tasty”.

I chose the Jalapeño Margarita from their specialty drink menu. Most Jalapeno Margaritas I’ve had were far too spicy. The Loft’s margarita was perfect. Instead of the spiciness and flavor of jalapeno overwhelming the tequila, it came through as a distinct aftertaste that melded with the lime and tequila perfectly. Very, very good and something I would not mind ordering again.

The Food:

As an appetizer, I decided to try their Bavarian Pretzel Stix with honey Dijon dip. These buttery, yeasty pretzels were tasty, especially when paired with the sweet, tangy dip. The only element missing was a sprinkling of coarse salt to compliment the butteriness of the pretzel.

J ordered Jimmy D’s BBQ Hot Dog, an all beef frank with mayo, melted Colby cheese and spicy BBQ sauce, topped with chopped bacon, red onion and jalapenos with a side of beer battered French fries. His reaction to it was “Great. Simply great. A little messy but not too spicy. Definitely not something I could eat everyday but great.” The fries were good as well but not amazing. He was totally blown away by this hot dog.

I have a confession to make. When J and I went to Chicago for our honeymoon, I failed to try a Chicago style hot dog. My only excuse is that I chose a wild boar sausage at Hot Doug’s over the typical Chicago Dog.

Anyway, the Ballard Loft offers their version of a Chicago Style Hot Dog, an all beef hot dog topped with diced onions, fresh tomatoes, a kosher pickle spear, sport peppers, celery salt, yellow mustard and neon green relish. The only thing they didn’t get right was that the dog did not come on a poppy seed bun. It was a good dog although it was missing the “snap” of a well-cooked hot dog. The mixture of condiments, while a bit messy and unwieldy, combined well with the sweetness of the relish evening out the more savory elements. Although the sport peppers were a bit too hot for my taste.

For a side, I chose a Caesar salad which turned out to be one of the better Caesars I’ve had in Ballard. Perfect amount of slightly salty dressing to fresh romaine.

The Price:

Long Island Iced Tea: 8.00

Jalapeno Margarita: 9.50

Bavarian Pretzel Stix: 7.50

Jimmy D’s BBQ Dog: 9.00

Chicago Dog: 9.00

The Verdict:

The Ballard Loft turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Ever since it opened, J and I had it pegged as a douchey sports bar to be avoided at all costs. Instead we found a place with a great atmosphere, especially up in the loft area, really good drinks and an interesting menu. I wouldn’t mind going back to try some of their other specialty hot dogs and sausages. It did seem a bit pricy but that really is the only negative I can come up with for the Ballard Loft. We’ll go back whenever J craves a good old hot dog.

If this project has done anything so far, it has been to force us to reassess our own judgments about restaurants in Ballard. We totally misjudged this one.

Root Table – 6/10/11

Website

Location: 2213 NW Market St.

Hours:

Monday Closed.

Tues-Sun: 11:30am-3pm, 4pm-11pm

Happy Hour:

Tues-Sun: 4-6, 9-11

On Friday night, J and I went to see the 7pm showing of “Super 8” (which was really good, by the way). Since we’d had a big lunch, we figured we’d wait until after the movie to eat so at 9:30 we started looking for a restaurant that wasn’t closing at 10. After wandering aimlessly along Market Street, I noticed the sandwich board outside Root Table read that they closed at 11.

Root Table serves what I suppose would be considered “Asian Fusion” food, small and large plates influenced by various Asian cultures rather than just one. The restaurant is tucked in a small space between what used to be Market Street Shoes and a cookie supply store that inexplicably continues to thrive. After entering a small courtyard, Root Table is through the door on the left.

The interior consists of a small, open kitchen, a tiny bar and two levels of seating at the neatest looking, yet terribly uncomfortable, tables. Each table and accompanying chairs are hewn from natural hunks of polished wood. The décor is very chic in an organic, abstract art sort of way.

It turned out we were in time for their late night happy hour which offered a nice selection of small plates and drink specials.

The Service:

For some reason it took a rather long time to seat us even thought there was a 2-person table free. Once we were seated though the service was friendly and our orders came out fairly quickly.

The Drinks:

I ordered a Thai Lemon Drop, which used lemongrass to add a softer citrus flavor. It’s been a while since I’ve had a Lemon Drop because many bars make them too sweet. The tart and sweet notes in this one were in perfect equilibrium.

J chose a Mai Tai, which he said was great, from the Happy Hour menu.

The Food:

We decided to share four small plates from the Happy Hour menu.

The Lemongrass Chicken Lollipops were balls of spiced ground chicken covered in cornmeal and fried. Both of us found the coating hard to bite or cut into and the chicken was far too dry. They needed something to add moisture, a cheese or a marinade or something. Dipping them into the sauce provided helped somewhat but not much.

Next was Blanket Shrimp, tiger shrimp stuffed with marinated ground chicken, wrapped in wontons, fried with a green salad. These turned out to be moist, flavorful packets of shrimp and chicken with a slight herb flavor. The green salad was full of fresh veggies and a nice, tangy honey mustard dressing.

The Cajun Calamari, battered calamari spiced with cayenne pepper, garlic and white pepper and served with a spicy dip, was the winner of the evening. The calamari was perfectly tender without the greasy aftertaste of some fried calamari. The dipping sauce had an almost buffalo chicken hot sauce flavor to it without being too spicy. J loved it and said that it was something he would order anytime we visited Root Table.

Our final small plate was the Thai Bruschetta, slices of Macrina baguette topped with garlic and pepper marinated ground chicken and served with a ginger sauce. Long slices of nicely toasted baguette were topped with a generous helping of a moist, herby chicken. The ginger dip added a nice sweet and spicy flavor to the bruschetta.

The Price:

Thai Lemon Drop: 7.50

Mai Tai: 4.00 (Happy Hour price)

Lemongrass Chicken Lollipop: 4.00 (Happy Hour price)

Blanket Shrimp: 4.00 (Happy Hour price)

Cajun Calamari: 4.00 (Happy Hour price)

Thai Bruschetta: 4.00 (Happy Hour price)

The Verdict:

Root Table turned out to be a tasty, late night find. It’s one of those places that before we began this project we kept meaning to visit. They have a creative and interesting menu of food and beverages in a quiet, subdued atmosphere. It’s a great place for a late night snack when most of the other Ballard bars a full. J and I fully expect to visit Root Table again once this project is done to try some more of their tasty small plates.