Padded black booths surround grills beneath gleaming hoods, which reflect the glow of sunset-orange walls as they sweep away rising warm air and spice-steeped aromas. On Palace Korean Bar & Grill's tabletop skillets, chefs sizzle menu items such as pearlescent curlicues of kimchi and cuts of seafood as well as bulgogi, spicy slices of brisket also known as Korean barbecue. During the all-you-can-eat special, silverware jangles endlessly like a knight looking for his car keys as diners tuck into bottomless helpings of marinated beef short ribs, tender marble brisket, spicy pork belly, and jumbo shrimp.
A barbecue place is only as successful as its saucy foodstuffs, and the hot and mild meats at Jones Barbeque have been winning affections for more than 20 years. With signature ribs and smoked brisket featured on Food Network's BBQ with Bobby Flay, Jones 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 Jones' barbecue sauce to slip into holiday stockings filled with coal and other grilling essentials.
Even if your party isn't as big as Smokin' Pete's catering maximum of 10,000 people, its chefs still have you covered. That's because co-owners Julie and Eric Reinhardt create meals of all sizes on the shop's smokers and grills for parties all over town. Their secret behind sating crowds of all sizes is their tender, fall-off-the-bone barbecue. But it isn't just their signature sauces?which they sell by the bottle?that set their dishes apart. It's also their commitment to using all-natural brisket, pork, and ribs that only get in richer flavor as they smoke for up to 14 hours.
Their comfort food sides aren't to be missed either, from fire-roasted corn salad to dirty rice and cowboy beans. Catering options let customers choose to host meals such as a barbecue sandwich bar or an extravagant Hawaiian luau. For those who want to learn how to make their own succulent meats at home, pit-master Eric and Julie?also a cookbook author?teach three-hour classes that cover basics such as grilling, sauces, and how to properly pull off a Kiss The Cook apron.
Even when you know what meal you want from this food truck, you still have a decision to make. That's because each sandwich––pulled pork, veggie, grilled chicken––comes two ways: "maximus" or "minimus." In the case of the pulled pork sandwich, that means either with a hot-and-spicy pepper mixture or a sweet blend of tamarind, honey, and molasses. Not that you're likely to go wrong either way; the truck's stripped-down menu has been praised in the pages of USA Today, Seattle Weekly, and the Seattle Times. To see where the truck is at on a given day, diners check an online schedule, though with a design that looks like a cross between a prison bus and a giant hog, it’s pretty hard to miss. The impressive-looking truck is also available to cater events, but only during the warmer months, since, like all pigs, it’s forced to fly south for the winter.
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.
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.