Featured in Seattle magazine and The Seattle Times, Kaya Korean Barbecue prides itself on its attentive service, posh presentation, massive portions, and a second-story location safe from dinner-interrupting tiger stampedes. Platoons of food soldiers can arm themselves with massive appetizers such as the marinated raw beef ($15.99) before focusing their attention on the feast as it arrives in steaming hot rock bowls. Choose from a variety of dishes ranging from the Angus marinated short ribs ($27.99) to soft tofu soup ($10.99), or go for an authentic barbecue experience by searing enormous platters of sizzling meats on the minigrill located in the center of your table, with selections such as the Kaya combo for four (Angus rib eye, marinated short ribs, marinated sirloin, beef brisket, beef tongue, bean paste stew, and your choice of beverages) ($96.99). Overhanging vents inhale the mouthwatering barbecue odors that would otherwise cling to clothes for days, ensuring that diners are not tempted to try out new recipes at home such as blouse jerky and deep-fried pants. In addition to grilluminating guests, Kaya pours copious cupfuls of Korean rice wine and beer.
Carolina Smoke's pitmasters release bold, succulent taste bursts with a slow-smoked menu of down-home eats. All meats are hand-rubbed and eye-watched, never pre-cloaked in flavor-smothering sauces or frowny-face masks. Sink teeth into the tender beef-brisket sandwich ($10) or delve deep into the flavor furnace with a prime rib ($21). Diners can further slake smoky cravings with a half or full rack of baby-back ribs ($14, $22) or feed famished fingers a gratifying grip of hot wings ($10). The restaurant's policy of allowing eaters to add their own sauce permits patrons to customize flavoring and ink unique impressions on napkin and facial canvases. Behind the eatery's shingled sides and white shutters, dining-room guests can bookend bites with sips of Carolina sweet tea.
Smell is the sense most closely tied to memory. If that's the case, then Willie Turner must be in a constant state of reverie. Willie grew up in Tallulah, Louisiana?and it was there that he fell in love with slow-smoked brisket, pork shoulder, and other smokey barbecue staples. When he moved to Seattle, he brought that same passion, along with authentic recipes for made-from-scratch soul food, with him. Willie's Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que stands as a slow-smoked tribute to the southern cuisine of its proprietor's youth.
Naturally, Louisiana-style barbecue anchors the menu, much like brontosaurus ribs anchored prehistoric ships. First, Willie covers brisket, ribs, chicken, links, and other meats in his signature rub. Then, he slow smokes them for hours on end, creating impossibly tender entrees. Finally, the dishes get some home-made sauce, resulting in barbecue that The Stranger praised as being "worth the trip down south to Beacon Hill."
Not everything emerges from the smoker, however. Willie and his team also fry chicken (which pairs nicely with waffles at breakfast), and they cook classic soul food sides from scratch, including biscuits and greens. Their tour de Louisiana cuisine ends on a dulcet note with plates of cobbler. As for drinks, just look to a cooler filled with Faygo and Jones Soda.
A barbecue place is only as successful as its saucy foodstuffs, and the hot and mild meats at Jones Original Barbeque have been winning affections for more than 20 years. The family business still makes full use of the original sauce recipe devised by the Jones family patriarch, William U. Jones, Sr., and refined by his son, William U. Jones Jr. . With signature ribs and smoked brisket featured on Food Network's BBQ with Bobby Flay, the eatery was voted Best BBQ for five years in row (2004–2008) by readers of Seattle Weekly. Beside bountiful rolls of paper towels, tables populate with chopped pork, brisket, and hot links in sandwiches and on platters with collard greens and mac 'n' cheese. After wrestling down sharable meat combination platters, patrons can snatch bottles of their signature barbecue sauce to slip into holiday stockings filled with coal and other grilling essentials.
Guadalajara North attracts Mexican-food aficionados with friendly staff, a full bar with regular happy hours, and a West Seattle location with plenty of on-street parking. Although the menu hosts Americanized standards such as taco salad and chicken quesadillas, according to the Stranger, " it's their authentic Mexican dishes that are superb." The chili verde, for example, features morsels of pork loin cooked with a tomatillo sauce and seasoned with house spices. On a warm summer evening, the restaurant's outdoor deck is an ideal spot to sip a margarita or test out napkin parachutes on action figures.
Drink That Pairs with Smoky BBQ Flavors: An American bourbon, such as Bulleit, George Dickel, or Michter’s Sour Mash, or an American draft beer, such as Salted Caramel Porter from Oregon’s Breakside Brewing, Lazy Boy Brewing Hefeweizen out of Washington, or 2X IPA from New York’s Southern Tier.
While You’re Waiting
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Build a BBQ-level appetite with a hike through Discovery Park.
After: Continue with the bourbon theme with a nightcap at Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen (5309 22nd Ave. NW)