Paul's mom has a friend who works for Holland America Cruise Lines. She invited Paul, Brent, and me to join her and her daughter, Whitney, for dinner after Paul and Brent's last day of the convention. Carolyn said her favorite restaurant was on the ground floor of her apartment building. Apparently, Shallots is her favorite. She even knows the chef, Kenny Lee. Kenny had told Carolyn at some point that if she didn't want what was on the menu to just let her know. And indeed she had done that in the past. She sent for Kenny on Tuesday night and asked him what he had in mind for three vegetarian guests and two vegetarian-for-tonight guests. He delivered a few items listed on the menu and a few items that weren't.
We started with two orders of edamame and a salad wrap with lettuce, asparagus, avocado, and rice noodles. The edamame came out already doused with ground salt and the wraps came with a dark peanut sauce topped with chopped peanuts. Next came an appetizer not on the menu called chive dumplings filled with chopped herbs and nicely cooked. All of the appetizers were amazingly good.
Entrees included sauteed and garliced greens of kale (or spinach; we weren't exactly sure) and fresh green beans; tofu with garlic, pepper, and vegetables; Thai curried vegetables with white rice, and vegetable fried rice. All dishes came out as soon as they were prepared, still steaming and at peak tenderness. The green vegetables were were fabulously seasoned. I loved the tofu, but regretted tasting the tip of a chili for awhile. Carolyn and Paul gave the Thai curry in peanut sauce first prize. Fortunately, it's easy to describe because it was on the menu. Shockingly, the eggplant was tender, but still bright purple. We all wanted to know how he did that. Last was a fried rice with seasoning, but no sauce. Mila, a new-fangled "miracle" grain/seed added texture. (Although, I'm not sure I believe in it as a cure-all and end-all.) Eggs and bright green broccoli florets gave great color.
Shallots definitely lives up to it's moto: Let us fire up your meal with flair!. We absolutely agreed and enjoyed our meal to the fullest. We wondered if we got such great service and fantastic food because we were with Carolyn (who had also dined there the night before), but we did see other regulars in the restaurant (because people were calling each other by name), which told us the quality keeps people coming back. I'd go back in a heartbeat--with or without Carolyn as our cover.
Shallot's Asian Bistro
2525 4th Avenue (4th and Vine in Belltown)
Seattle, WA 98121