When crafting his signature maritime dishes at KC's Seafood Restaurant, chef and owner KC Lam draws from years of experience as the chef at Chinatown-staple Sea Garden. But mostly, he enjoys the creative control he now wields over his culinary creations, a fact evidenced in each dish’s presentation. An appetizer sampler, for example, features sashimi arranged in concentric circles, encouraging groups of diners to attack the dish from all sides and nosh their way toward the center. Oysters are equally impressive, served on the half shell with sides of soy sauce and wasabi, while entrees win taste buds over with flavorful creations like salt and pepper pork chops, honey walnut shrimp, and a whole fried fish served with a zesty soy sauce.
Bamboo Garden's authentic Sichuan cuisine floods palates with spicy flavor while diners relax in a sleek, bamboo-trimmed dining room. Dinner patrons can follow up hearty servings of dip-friendly green-onion pancakes ($3.99) with popular dishes such as the tongue-scorching spicy basil beef ($10.95) and eggplant swimming in hot garlic sauce ($8.95) and snorkeling between the rocky outcroppings of diners' teeth. On the Wild Side menu, sour-and-spicy jellyfish ($6.95) appeases taste buds looking for an adventure more palatable than hanging out with Lou Reed. Lunch specials include entrees such as chopped-pepper hot chicken ($5.99), which prove appetizingly fiery and capable of swiftly silencing hunger growls.
Facing East’s strip-mall façade bears the legend “Taiwanese Restaurant.” But you could equally call it a burger joint. That doesn’t mean ground beef and ketchup, but rather pork belly topped with pickled veggies, peanuts, and cilantro. The patties are served in pairs, although some diners, such as Seattle Magazine’s reviewers, wish they were sold "by the sackful." Of course, the restaurant also serves an abundance of Taiwanese food, such as pottage stew with squid or pork, sautéed lamb with taiwanese barbecue sauce, and sweet-potato-flour pancakes with oyster, vegetables, and egg. Because of Taiwan's long, tumultuous relationship with China, the cuisine is also full of familiar Chinese flavors, including sweet-and-sour spareribs, fried rice, and stir-fries. Guests gobble down these delicacies among sleek, shiny dark-wood tables, abstract paintings, recessed spotlighting, and screens that partition off the bustle of waiting customers or the howling of hungry wolves outside.
Regent Bakery & Cafe's authentic Chinese flavors couldn't be contained to just one meal. The restaurant started as a bakery specializing in Chinese pastries and cakes. As its popularity grew, so too did its menu—the staff began serving beef-stew and salted-fish hot pies, roast duck, and ma-pao tofu. Regent Bakery & Cafe now sports two full locations; the newest features a full bar that mixes up a selection of adult beverages and bubble teas, served inside a restaurant whose modern decor is lit by chandeliers and neon track lighting.
Szechuan Specialties | Handmade Noodles | Vegetarian Chinese | Weekend Dim Sum Breakfast
When to Go: Try a weeknight for quicker service, as Chiang’s can fill up with large groups on weekends. Or, come in on weekends before 3 p.m. for dim sum brunch; the fritters of twisted dough with sweet soymilk are a favorite.
Past Life: The zany round building might seem at odds with the formal red-and-white dining room, and in fact it wasn’t built for Chiang’s—it began life as an A&W restaurant. Look for the “root beer keg” on the roof.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
After brunch: Continue your culinary adventure at Jodee’s Desserts (7214 Woodlawn Ave NE) with a slice of raw and gluten- and wheat-free pie.
Before dinner: The Last Drop Bottle Shop (8016 15th Ave NE) holds frequent beer tastings in the early evenings.
If you can’t make it, try: Fu Man Dumpling House (14314 Greenwood Avenue North), also famed for its housemade noodles and dumplings