Stan Phillips spent his childhood at his father’s side in their Kansas City backyard, his little hands barely strong enough to handle the wood for the family’s smoker. Now that he’s grown, Phillips brings his family’s recipes to his Issaquah restaurant, where he slathers meats such as beef brisket, ribs, hot links, and ham with a traditional dry rub, smokes them over hickory wood, and dishes them out with sauce on the side. When diners step inside the rustic barbecue joint, they can order their meats by the pound, or dig into sandwiches such as the Cowboy, whose pork is pulled apart with a spur. A full bar slings cocktails, wines, and craft beers to suit every entrée, and the dining room displays a full Sunday football lineup on its large televisions.
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.
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)