3 good mint restaurants: Seattle Times food writers suggest inexpensive cooking spots to try

G.H. Pasta Co.: good pasta, underneath $10

2305 Sixth Ave. (Denny Triangle area), Seattle; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily; 206-402-6210; ghpastaseattle.com

By this point, is there any prepare who hasn’t been seduced by a sirens of Amazon? James Beard award-winning chef Renee Erickson recently non-stop a cocktail bar and a grill inside a Spheres. Famed New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer anchored his Shake Shack along Westlake Avenue.

But nothing is some-more intriguing than a still examination that prepare Brian Clevenger is endeavour dual blocks west of a Spheres during G.H. Pasta Co.

Clevenger wants to feed you, and well, for underneath $10.

We’re not articulate sticking Olive Garden noodles backstroking in marinara, but handmade bucatini and rigatoni precisely baked until bouncy, with a perfect al dente finish you’d ambience from Venezia to Torino, and served with guanciale, lamb Bolognese or anniversary ingredients.

No store bought-dry spaghetti here. The staff make 7 opposite pastas any morning and again during 1:30 p.m.— 120 pounds’ value daily.

Every pasta play is done to order. During a lunch rush, Clevenger moves like a male who has as many arms as an octopus — prohibited pastas and sauteing over 8 burners and plating and powdering lemon zests and breadcrumbs to finish. On a new visit, we saw him postponement usually once to take dual bites out of a Granny Smith apple.

In a lunch area oversaturated with food trucks and rice-bowl spots, maybe it’s a fool’s errand to follow a sub-$10 meal. But we gotta give Clevenger this: The male sweats for your 9 bucks.

He’s a latest big-name prepare to welcome a fast-casual model. Tom Douglas feeds a Amazon bustling bees rice bowls during circuitously Home Remedy; progressing this year, he non-stop Department Bento inside Nordstrom during Bellevue Square.

Our many shining chef, Edouardo Jordan, hints he competence do rice bowls done with ancient and heirloom grains during his tentative Lucinda Grain Bar.

“This is a destiny of restaurants with a impact of a minimum-wage increase, and people refusing to compensate 20 dollars for a play of pasta,” conspicuous Clevenger after an afternoon in that he cranked out 185 pasta bowls during lunch. “This is a future. Hopefully it does well.”

To make this judgment work during a Amazon insane lunch rush, Clevenger expects any play to be done in 7 minutes, from a time a 5-ounce collection of pasta gets dunked in boiling, starchy water to a plating when Parmesan is sprinkled over a bowl.

Customers competence not know that their inexpensive pasta play is done by an gifted palm who runs 3 reputable Italian restaurants in a city (Vendemmia, Le Messe and Raccolto, along with East Anchor Seafood). But they will notice a pasta, that is a step adult from roughly any discerning lunch transport around.

Lamb Bolognese is layered with tasty and sour notes, and a spaghetti and salsa are firm with tawny mascarpone. Toothsome bucatini is brightened with Fresno chili and served with baked clams that will make we forget those unhappy seafood pastas injured with shellfish as chewy as sneaker treads. And a tagliatelle with creme fraiche, fragrant with uninformed packet and lemon, bursts with umami from furious mushrooms and 24-month Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The usually skip on my revisit was a abounding tonnarelli pasta, that suffocated in truffle butter.

Clevenger vows to keep prices during $8-$9 as prolonged as he can strike his sales target. He’s silent on what that sorcery series is, nonetheless conspicuous he has been agreeably repelled to be offered 185 to 200 bowls a day, even on weekends.

To keep costs down, G.H. Pasta doesn’t have front-of-the-house labor. You sequence from a opposite and train your mess. The modest, bright, industrial space with high ceilings is usually large adequate for 20 seats. The kitchen fan, unfortunately, wasn’t shrill adequate to drown out a Eagles soundtrack on a day we visited. — Tan Vinh

At Stone Korean Restaurant — already a favorite in Redmond, mint on Dexter in Seattle — a excellent, outrageous and stuffing seafood pancake is installed with fresh-tasting shrimp, octopus and squid. (Bethany Jean Clement / The Seattle Times)

Stone Korean Restaurant: can’t keep this a secret

900 Dexter Ave. N. (South Lake Union/Westlake), Seattle; Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight, sealed Sunday (also 16857 Redmond Way, Redmond; 425-497-0515); 206-717-2864, stonekorean.com

The seafood pancake is impossibly good. The servers are intensely nice. The lights competence be inordinately bright, nonetheless they’re educational all a super-tasty food swarming onto your tabletop, during an unbelievably good price. Stone Korean Restaurant has been a favorite in Redmond given 2011, and a bend that owners Diana and Kang Choi usually non-stop on Dexter Avenue is going to be absurdly popular.

Don’t censure me: The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, with a streets eerily still all around, mint Stone Korean was roughly full-up. This place can’t be kept tip — it’s an already known-and-loved quantity, with scarcely hole-in-the-wall prices, in an almost-upscale space on a corner of Amazonland. Like all else along this widen of Dexter now, it’s in a creatively built, anonymous-looking building. If a street’s disconcertingly unrecognizable, a existence of Stone Korean will make we feel a whole lot improved about changing Seattle. If you’re a newcomer, you’ll usually be happy to be here.

In Redmond, Stone Korean became famous for a boiled chicken, in regular, hot-wing, chili- or sweet-garlic-marinated style. Our server conspicuous people adore it with beer, for apparent reasons, and here we can get one of those ice-chilled cosmetic towers of Hite breeze — an present celebration for your table. We wanted a seafood pancake, that he conspicuous mostly gets interconnected with makgeolli — Korean rice booze — but that it isn’t indispensably to everybody’s taste. It incited out to be like carbonated nigori sake: milky-cloudy, easily sweet, sparkly, a small grapefruity and totally delicious. As for Stone Korean’s seafood pancake, it’s accurately greasy adequate for crispiness outside; outrageous and filling, nonetheless bouncy, not doughy; and installed with fresh-tasting shrimp, octopus and squid, along with lots of splendid scallion. It’s excellent.

Served in unequivocally prohibited mill pots, Stone Korean’s bibimbap (spelled bi-bim-bob here) sizzles with greatness, crisping adult pieces of rice all opposite a bottom and adult a sides. The kalbi beef brief ribs, easily charred and abounding with melty fat, tastes both caramelized and smoky. The japchae (or jab-chae) goes above and beyond, temperament tons of clearly uninformed vegetables and even shiitake mushrooms (and not too most soy sauce).

Steamed egg — also a renouned bar food, or, alternately, good for breakfast, a server conspicuous — is a elementary pleasure of jiggly-hot, better-than-any-omelet hardness with a light nonetheless umami-bomb broth. we can’t wait to try Stone’s mul-naeng-myun — a noodle soup served cold — and we gamble their prohibited soothing tofu soups urge a stormy day immensely. Many menu equipment come with banchan, a multidish widespread of additional small salads and snacks, tasting extra-fresh here — and if we eat them all up, your server will even offer to refill them. This, in a universe where infrequently banchan costs extra!

The Seattle area has some great places for normal Korean barbecue, like Old Village on Aurora, or Palace BBQ in Bellevue and Federal Way. Rachel Yang’s Trove on Capitol Hill creates some-more upscale barbecue, while Girin in Pioneer Square offers a fancier take on a full Korean menu — and both are unequivocally good, too. But we could use some-more places in a city like Stone Korean, where the prices tell we all else we need to know to wish to go. A combo special of bulgogi and bibimbap, with (yes!) banchan, costs $24 — supplement another dish, and you’ve got a feast for two. An all-appetizer spectacular is not during all a bad approach to go, generally when japchae ($15) and rice cake in chili salsa ($11) are in that category; supplement steamed egg ($8) and a large seafood (or kimchi) pancake ($16 or $13), and get adequate for 3 people for a grand pre-tax-and-tip sum of $50. But you’ll wish lots of leftovers to take home … competence as good sequence more. — Bethany Jean Clement

Zhen Kee: a genuine find in Renton

151 Sunset Blvd. N., Renton; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily; 425-277-1886, zhenkee.com

Zhen Kee Chinese Restaurant is a small formidable to get to, lodged on a bustling multilane travel alongside a 405 in Renton — we finished adult encircling a prolonged retard to strech a parking lot. Inside, a atmosphere felt like a strange, low dream: upholstered booths, conference-room-style chairs, a vaulted timber ceiling, object perplexing to get in around draperies, a radio hire personification continual Christmas song — arrange of 1980s time-warp party room by approach of Twin Peaks. (Let me usually say, we meant that as a compliment.) It was flattering empty, nonetheless afterwards again, it was a center of a Saturday afternoon.

The interior of Zhen Kee in Renton is a small like a 1980s party room by approach of Twin Peaks. (Bethany Jean Clement / The Seattle Times)

When my co-worker Tan Vinh and we got a menus, we suspicion we were in a wrong place. Elizabeth Kong, a selling executive during Seattle Chinese Times, had endorsed Zhen Kee and, specifically, a whole fish. (This past February, Kong pleasantly sloping me off to Jiaozi! — an glorious blimp mark that’s given closed. Good news on that front: Owner Elaine Song says it’ll free in Bellevue subsequent year. But we digress.) But there was no whole fish on this menu: It looked like it was from a same epoch as a building, with silken photos of Americanized favorites like orange chicken. Nothing wrong with that, nonetheless … Tan went to a entryway to re-examine a specials residence and returned with an wholly opposite menu he found on a opposite — no pictures, and most longer, including things like “Fried Pork Miscellany.”

The server seemed glorious with a subterfuge, and he was gay when we chose sharp cucumber salad ($6.99), that he jubilantly called a residence specialty. It valid to be fantastic: pieces of crunchy, smaller-size cucumbers in a excess of oily, herby, garlicky, sharp salsa (more than adequate to put over some rice). He also authorized a preference of Zhen Kee’s “Chef Special Lamb in a Stick” ($14.99), that he conspicuous was deep-fried and afterwards stir-fried. A huge raise of pieces of peculiarity beef impaled on particular toothpicks, it tasted smoky, chewy, terrific.

Zhen Kee’s prohibited whole fish in prohibited chili oil stole a show. (Bethany Jean Clement / The Seattle Times)

The “Boiling Fish in Hot Chili Oil” stole a show, though. It costs $12.99 for a fillet, nonetheless we systematic a whole tilapia during $12.99 a bruise for a three-and-a-half pounder, served in an immense, boiling-hot play with a million chilies. The fish’s strength was melty-soft, pulled out of a gas with a slotted spoon; a ambience started mellow, even earthy, with an herby-floral note before a tongue-tingling set in. Salty and spicy, nonetheless nuanced, a season got some-more conspicuous as it sat — it’s something to be eaten flattering fast, not that we can assistance it. With rice and a side or two, it’d be some-more than adequate fish for 3 (or one unchanging chairman and Tan Vinh). You don’t eat a broth, nonetheless a server packaged it adult to take away, to prepare some-more fish or vegetables in during home.

The usually thing we attempted that we wouldn’t sequence again was a bowlful of overcooked Chongquing Style Noodle ($6.99) — it looked pretty, though, and we ate a bright-green, still-crunchy bok choy off a tip of it.

I wish we were during Zhen Kee right now. — B.J.C.

More? More! Find Bethany and Tan’s recommendations for 17 some-more glorious Seattle-area inexpensive eats!

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