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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Red, kitsch and Blue

What is this? Are your eyes deceiving you? Yep, it’s a new post! Did you think we forgot about the month of December over here at Emerald City Eats? Um, no. It’s just been a crazyhecticbusy season, and well, to be honest, we haven’t eaten anywhere that great over the last few weeks to warrant a new post.

Both of us had the entire week between Christmas and New Years off, so we actually had time (and a little extra cash) to go out to eat a few times. You’re about to get TWO reviews in one, with more on the way after tonight.

First up is the Forecasters Public House at the Red Hook Ale Brewery in Woodinville. Roth visited the brewery several weeks ago for a food technology conference. He noticed that the restaurant was packed on a Tuesday night and thought it would be worth a trip back to check out the food. And of course, drink some beer, too.

We had to wait awhile for a table, which was to be expected on a Friday night. Rather than start drinking at the bar before being seated, we decided to wait. Once we were seated, I pointed out the six-beer sampler. For only $5, you get to try six Red Hook brews, including ESB, IPA, Blonde, Chinook Copper, Porter and the seasonal Winterhook.
Red Hook sampler
Roth was impressed with the size of the sample glasses for such a cheap price. I ordered a pint of the Blonde, but I also enjoyed the light taste of the Chinook Copper.

The menu was fairly typical of a brewery eatery – lots of burgers and sandwiches. Right away we spotted one of the untraditional items – hummus with warm pita bread – and decided to try it was an appetizer. It came served with a heaping pile of marinated green and black Moroccan olives, one of Roth’s favorite treats. The hummus was traditional in flavor, creamy with a hint of tahini.

For dinner, I decided on the Italian chicken sandwich. Roth opted for the spicy marinated ribeye steak. Both entrees came rather quickly, and both had decent presentation.
Red Hook italian chicken sando Red Hook ribeye
My sandwich was served open faced on thick ciabatta bread, with melted provolone, marinated bell pepper strips and pesto sauce. Crispy potato chips, pasta salad and seasonal fruit were served on the side. Roth’s steak was char-grilled and served on a bed of white Jasmine rice with sautéed seasonal veggies on the side. The steak was marinated in soy, balsamic, cerrano chili and cilantro.

I was little overwhelmed by the amount of bread on my sandwich, so I decided to eat it using a knife and fork and omitted the top slice. I wasn’t impressed with the seasonal fruit on the side, which was just one slice of pale watermelon and an orange wedge. I should have asked for a green salad over the chips and pasta salad, which were fine, but didn’t serve the flavor of the sandwich well.

Roth’s steak seemed to be overmarinated and almost too tender, as if it had been soaking in the Thai-inspired juices a tad too long. He thought that perhaps the restaurant doesn’t sell a lot of steaks, seeing as burgers and nachos reigned supreme on the menu.

After we ate, we noticed that the restaurant and accompanying bar was starting to fill up with many large groups. I commented that the restaurant seemed to be a great place just for that – large groups of people who want to socialize, drink beer and enjoy a few appetizers. It’s not the kind of place for a quiet or romantic dinner. The food and the service were marginal, at best. However, we were impressed with the beer.

But not enough to ever make the trek back up to Woodinville.

Forecasters Public House
Red Hook Ale Brewery
14300 NE 145th Street
Woodinville, WA


We had wanted to try Blue C Sushi for months, ever since we first heard about it from Stace when we moved to Seattle. The idea of a sushi conveyor belt sounded too good to be true, and yet I saw it with my own eyes the few times we walked by the Fremont location. After some shopping today, we decided to try it for lunch in the University Village.

Right away, we were seated in a booth. I was a bit overwhelmed by the conveyor belt featuring all kinds of Japanese treats, just whirring by our heads. We got a quick tutorial on how it all worked – see the dish you want, grab it, eat it, and stack the empty plates at the end of the table. Plates are color-coded with the different prices, ranging from $1.50 to $4 each. At the end of the meal, press the button at the head of the table and check out.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

We started with some steamed, salty edamame and cold, spicy noodles.
Blue C noodles edamame
Next, we grabbed unagi, or barbecued eel. I snagged tempura vegetables (featuring green beans, zucchini, and carrot) and a tempura shrimp roll. Roth picked up a soft-shell crab spider roll. Before we knew what had happened, we had quite the feast on the table. We washed all of it down with green and Jasmine tea.
Blue C eel
I was quite impressed with the conveyor belt operation, and attempted to snap a few shots of the sushi treats rushing by our table. All of a sudden, the manager came by and asked me to stop taking pictures. Taken aback, I apologized and put away the camera.

But then I felt a little angry. Why would they care if I took pictures of the restaurant? What they have there is quite gimmicky, and I’m sure I’m not the only patron who has tried to capture the restaurant’s kitschy quality. Of course, I didn’t tell him that I was planning to review the place on my blog, but still. I was miffed.

Before the manager had squashed my picture taking, I was able to get in a few shots. I noticed that kids were absolutely fascinated by the conveyor belt. I watched them watching in awe the lineup of food circulating around the dining room, and it made me smile.
Blue C kids
Overall, the quality of the sushi and rolls was adequate. The restaurant was busy enough that the dishes were constantly being replaced with new and therefore seemed fairly fresh. For a quick lunch, Blue C is perfect. Walk in, sit down at the bar, grab a couple plates, enjoy, pay and leave. It’s probably not the most authentic way to enjoy Japanese food, but it’s quick and decent for the price.

Blue C signage
Blue C Sushi
4601 26th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA
3411 Fremont Avenue North
Seattle, WA