Friday, August 10, 2007

The best Thai restaurant in the Seattle area?

Twenty years ago there weren't very many Thai restaurants in the Seattle area. They were a novelty and they were fun to go to, and the food tasted good, but nothing satisfied the flight crews of Thai Airways and their need for good and authentic cuisine. Then there was Bai Tong. It was located back then on the ground floor of the Jet Motel near Sea-Tac airport, and was started by a Thai Airways flight attendant to serve the pilots and crews of Thai Airways. Top chefs were flown in from Bangkok to keep the flight crews happy. The place later relocated to a former root beer stand on Pacific Highway South also near the airport, and they stayed there for almost twenty years.
Light rail construction has recently displaced them, and they have now relocated to 16876 Southcenter Parkway, Tukwila, near the mall. phone 206-575-3366 in swankier digs in a strip mall near Toy'R US.
I like Thai food , and feel lucky that we in Renton have Thai on Highlands and Royal Orchid.
They're good, but they're no Bai Tong. Bai Tong is pretty amazing, and very reasonably priced.
The place is very pretty and comfortable, and very professionally run. Menu items and flavors are different that most other Thai places, for example they feature a steamed salmon curry in banana leaves. Sauces are more complex than at other Thai places, and the place is just a notch or two better than most anywhere else. If you like Thai food, you'll love Bai Tong.
Prices are also a dollar or two per entree LESS than other Thai places. Go there!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What's Wrong With Cole Slaw?

Bases on a reader's recommendation , I tried the Williams Avenue Sports Bar and Eatery, 214 Williams Avenue S., Renton 98055, 425-277-2766.
Like many places, it has it's pluses and minuses.
Let's do the minuses first:
It's a dive bar. Oh, it's been remodeled and looks a lot nicer than it used to, but it's still a dive. Now, that's not a bad thing in my book as I feel perfectly comfortable and at home in dives, but not everyone feels the same way.
Second, service was really slow. It was a busy night. Beers, etc were brought promptly along with menus, but it seemed like forever til she came back to take our orders. Service was slow but friendly and pleasant.
Also, the music was really loud, and it has a jukebox, and other patron's music choices were not so great. Oh, Beatles and Johnny Cash were fine, but then it descended into loud heavy metal, and I'm a crotchedy old fart.
Finally, they don't have cole slaw. They have ribs and brisket, and cole slaw seems like a natural, but they don't have it.

Now for the pluses:
The food is really, really good, and inexpensive, and surprisingly sophisticated and well prepared for a dive. The ribs were great. Companions had Cobb salad and burgers, and raved about them.
The burger was huge, on a toasted bun. The fries are home made and exceptional, the best I've had in a long while. They even tasted good after they got cold.
If you just want to go to a tavern and have some great food to go along with it, and don't mind slow service and loud music, this is your place. It's mostly bar stools and pool tables, with only a couple of tables. If you want a quiet meal, go elsewhere. This is a tavern where people let loose.
But the quality of the food was a big surprise. It was great.

Freakazoid Freddy