A group of local Vancouver food bloggers and I ventured down to the Settle for a two day and one night stay. The goal, to eat and taste our way within Seattle and Bellevue with liked mined individuals, and blog all about it after. We created our itinerary based on popular Seattle stops and places that came recommend. Our first was “Stateside” for an Asian inspired fusion brunch. I liked the pan Asian influences to the menu, so was excited to give them a try.
The restaurant had a tropical feel with palm frond printed wallpaper and worn wooden tables and chairs. It was kept dark and cozy with the romantic glow of orange bulbs, the handsome bar was outfitted with several, hanging above each seat. We were given one of their round tables, which proved ideal for light conversation and the sharing of everything 5 ways. The following is what we had, in the order they arrived. Written with the feedback from Diana of @foodology, Joyce of @vanfoodies, @pickydiner’s David, and Sherman of @shermanfoodadventures.
We started off with some drinks. The classic slow drip “Vietnamese iced coffee” with condense milk to stir into and glass of ice to pour over.
The “Jasmine ice green tea” came in a bamboo shaped glass.
“The coconut” was a popular cocktail given the way it was presented. A whole young coconut with paper umbrella. Rum, lime leaf and galangal, mixed with coconut water in a freshly cracked coconut. It was boozy and citrusy, with a sugary finish.
I had the “Tom yum Mary” and was so disappointed by it that I ended up sending it back. It was an aromatic infused vodka mixed with chilies, ginger, lime leaf, and fish sauce; but all I tasted with salt. I expected it to have the thickness of a Caesar, and resemble more like drinking a soup. It didn’t taste like Tom yum, besides having a sour kick. I asked for more tomato juice to cut into it, but that did nothing. It was so strong that it took away from the flavour of everything else. Our server offered me another Bloody Mary, or any other drink of my choice, I passed as I wasn’t all that impressed with the coconut either, so didn’t want to take a chance on another disappointing cocktail.
For food, I liked the texture of the “crispy duck fresh rolls”. Not just your regular vermicelli and raw vegetables wrapped in rice paper; these included a deep fried wrap for an extra crunch. I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the pulled duck meat, it was mealy and fibrous (much like a few of the other meat products below). Where as I wanted freshness in the roll, and a creamy sauce to balance out the deep fry. Similarly, I wanted a creamy sauce for the appetizer below, but I can at least appreciate the fact that each appetizer had a different dipping sauce to go with it.
The “Crispy sticky rice finger sandwiches” were filled with a chili-cumin pork or a tofu mixture (for the vegetarians), and is seasoned with house fermented mustard greens. We went for the former, and I found it too salty and the cumin out of place. It was punchy and in complete contrast to the dish’s assigned cilantro lime sauce. It was a refreshing sauce that brightens, whereas I wanted something more complimentary to the flavour of the filling. Like a tangy oyster sauce or a slightly spicy mayo that adds levels. I did like the idea of this and how crispy the sandwich “bread” was. If I had to choose, this would be my favourite of the night.
The “pho braised beef potstickers” sounded promising, but with the same mealy texture of meat used above, and a salty black vinegar and ginger dipping sauce that added nothing, I was disappointed. I wanted a more classically done potsticker and for it to taste like pho. It could have been a soup dumpling with pho broth inside. Or filled with a mix of the more familiar sliced beef and beef balls, used with pho. And to bring it back full circle, the dipping sauce to be the brown sauce provided to help rejuvenate a bowl of pho and any restaurant.
Another one that I liked the idea of, but not its execution was the “eggs bao’nedict”. It is similar to a regular eggs Benedict, but instead of using an English muffin, they use a stuffed and fried golden steamed bun. The bun was stuffed with diced Canadian bacon, then topped with poached eggs; all smothered in a thick hollandaise, and sprinkled over with pork floss. Once again, a similar sandy shredded meat was used here. I grew up on pork floss and wanted the authentic kind that is airy and light with a texture that melts under the tongue, and a slightly sweet after taste. The egg was at least perfectly done and the hollandaise well made.
I was the most excited for the “Hong Kong style charcoal waffles” that mentioned the use of pandan. However I was barely able to taste it in the syrup, and would have liked more of it flavouring the jug of coconut cream that came with the waffle. A help yourself serving of sweet cream to glop over over the waffle. Heavy and coconut-forward, it just made the waffle soggy. And had we known this was the case we would not have gotten the scoop of coconut pandan ice cream, as extra. It didn’t add anything new in flavour or texture. I did like the mango jam and shaved almond toppings, and found they gave things a nice twist.
The “open faced gold brown omelette”, weren’t the Vietnamese-style egg crepes we thought they would be, but more like an omelette pizza or frittata. We added on country ham for $3 more, and found the omelette too salty for it. I didn’t make out the gruyere and the “potato crunchies” were more of a distraction. They were cut small and fried up hard; whereas I would have liked them better as larger chunks with a crispy shell and chewy centre, more like breakfast potatoes. The crepe did have a nice spongy egg texture, but was oily. I wanted something fresh to bite into: raw cherry tomatoes or some pickled vegetables on the side, or better yet the classic fish sauce to dip egg into.
“The Classic” was as promised, a banh mi stuffed with housemade Vietnamese mortadella, chicken liver pâté, pork floss, pickled vegetables, cilantro, chili, cucumber, maggi sauce, and mayo. There was a lot of meat in this, and I wanted just as much vegetable to balance things out. The sandwich was dry and I was left longing for the cream of a mayo and more tang from the barely pickled vegetables.
Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I wanted the traditional flavours I was drawn to from the descriptions on the menu, but in new applications. Instead, I was left with the disappointment of one note dishes and diluted ingredients. Great ideas, and great for anyone that hasn’t tried the originals, that these dishes take example from. I don’t visit the Seattle area often, so wont be coming back, when I can visit other such brunch spots. Don’t deny your cravings.
300 E Pike St #1200, Seattle, WA 98122, United States