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.
Southern transplants Gabe Gagliardi and Mike Dahm love their new home in Seattle. When they first arrived, though, the two friends thought the city needed a barbecue boost. So instead of turning the Space Needle into a makeshift skewer for hunks of pork, they created The Boar's Nest, a Southern barbecue stop serving all the classics: hickory-smoked pulled pork, southern-style fried chicken, and fall-off-the-bone ribs. Of course, barbecue isn't barbecue without the sauce. That's why Gabe and Mike took it upon themselves to create their own line of homemade sauces, each of which carries the tune of a different barbecue region, including South Carolina, Memphis, and Texas.
"My paternal grandmother's kitchen was like a window into the world of food," head chef Paul Michael reflects on Frontier Room's website. A transplant from Louisiana, he draws much of his culinary inspiration from his Southern roots and his grandma's cooking—a melting pot of such culinary influences as Syrian, French-Louisianan, and African-American. Chef Michael crafts many of his recipes over the smoke of a wood barbecue pit, cooking beef brisket for up to 14 hours and barbecuing Northwest salmon with the same creole spices that the fish migrate every year to harvest.
These dishes are complemented by an extensive list of craft beers from the West Coast and around the world, from a Redhook coffee stout to an Allagash brew selected specifically to pair with barbecue. En route to the outdoor patio, the aromas of smoked meats waft through the Frontier Room's rustic interior, where hardwood tables sit under deer antlers and a bronze-relief cow amid such fixtures of Americana as a pile of chopped firewood reminiscent of Paul Bunyan's pencil shavings.