Thursday, July 12, 2007

What makes a restaurant great?

Deciding whether or not one likes a restaurant is a very subjective thing. Just look at this blog and read some of the comments. For example, my co-authors love Royal Orchid, I think it's pretty good, and a reader thinks it's one of the worst in Renton.
I like Naan N' Curry, but a couple of readers regard it as one of the worst in Renton.
So what gives?
We like restaurants for different reasons, and have different expectations going into each one.
I like teriyaki joints, but I don't go in there expecting to see elegant surrounding and have a leisurely meal with great service. For a teriyaki joint, my goal is good, fast, filling, and cheap.
And I don't go into an elegant place seeking good, fast, filling, and cheap.
Very few places have the whole package.
So here's a few questions for the vast multitudes of readers( the 4 or 5 of you?)
1. Where in Renton do you like to go for inexpensive food that's better than average AND is accompanied by friendly service?
2. Where in Renton can serve as both a special occasion place but not be so expensive that it couldn't be a regular hangout?

My answers:

1. Aloha BBQ at 2439 Maple Valley Hwy, Renton. Great, inexpensive food. The daily specials rival the expensive, gourmet places in quality, taste and presentation.
Downside: It's not fast food. Either call in your order (425-271-4451) or be prepared to hang out a while. It's in a kind of scuzzy strip mall and could easily be mistaken for a fast food teriyaki type joint, but it's not. They're not real slow, but it takes a while to cook good food. Their hours are unpredictable, so it's a good idea to call first.

2. Red House Beer and Wine Shoppe, 410 Burnett Ave S., Renton 425-226-2666.
This is currently one of my favorites anywhere. It's just a tiny bit spendy. There is a lot of variety on the menu, so you don't have to spend a lot, but when I'm there I want to order too many things.
Service is great, and it's a fun atmosphere to hang out in. Genuinely festive without the fake frivolity that too many restaurants have. A comfortable, fun place. Gene and Houng Sens know how to run a restaurant. The place has a very distinct style. There are so many wine varieties that you could go there for a year every day and still not have sampled them all.
Most Wednesdays from 6PM-8PM they have wine tastings with an appetizer buffet for twenty dollars.

Other candidates? Let's hear 'em!

Freakazoid Freddy