• Gambas Japanese and French Restaurant
    2230 Third Ave Seattle, WA 98121
    (206) 728-5092

    Ganbat Puntsag was a lawyer before becoming a chef. With over thirty years of culinary experience, Chef Puntsag pairs his Japanese Izakaya and French dining background into beautifully crafted plates of familiar Japanese flavors and French inspired plating.

    Recommendation:

    Sushi sandwich with a 2007 Gruner Veltliner from Austria, a crisp delicate white wine with spicy notes of pepper and citrus flavors that balances the complexity and spiciness of the tuna and layers of flavors in the dish. Other dishes and wines of note:

    New style sashimi, seared salmon and yellow tail in hot olive oil with capers, kaiware, cilantro and daikon sprouts with the 2007 Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Gyono tataki, American Kobe beef served raw with slightly seared edges, with house tataki sauce and sesame and daikon radish, the well marbled beef, smokiness of sesame and tanginess of finely sliced purple onions paired well with their spicy house Pinot Noir.

  • Kaname Izakaya and Shochu Bar
    610 S. Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104
    (206) 682-1828
    www.kaname-izakaya.com

    Kaname opened when there were no izakaya bars in Seattle. Chef Todd Kuniyuki is passionate about his shochu and recommends the Satsuma Mura, a sweet potato shochu, rather than wine to pair with Japanese food. Izakaya is a style of Japanese restaurants where alcohol is served with small plates.

    Recommendation:

    Satsuma Mura Imojochu with Black Cod Kasuzuke. Other dishes and pairings of note: Kaname Special Makunouchi with Karatamba “Dry” Sake. The makunouchi, a popular type of Japanese bento, comes with an array of dishes including: rice, miso soup, egg, salmon, tempura shrimp, kushi katsu, nimono, sunonomo, sashimi and california roll. It requires a smooth pairing with this traditional medium-bodied crisp sake.

  • Wrap O Roll
    925 S. Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98127
    (206) 233-9001
    www.twitter.com/WrapRoll

    A seasoned Vietnamese restaurateur and former club owner of Caesar’s Club, Lana Tran converted Buu Dien, her Vietnamese sandwich shop into a dine-in health- focused establishment with a clientele she states is 90 percent non-Vietnamese. Wrap & Roll has a full shelf of wines and a menu which ranges from the traditional escargot salad to the wraps and rolls of her new clientele.

    Recommendation:

    A 2006 Sicilian Feudo Arancio Merlot with the escargot salad. A ruby red with purple highlights, medium-bodied with spicy notes from the heat of Sicily, with the escargot salad: thinly sliced and seasoned escargot so delicate you’d almost think it is geoduck, sliced rau muong (water spinach/ong choy), thinly sliced celery, onions, carrots, daikon radish, topped with fried onions and a variety of mints. Other dishes and wines of note: Duck noodle soup with Shiitake mushrooms, with 2007 Columbia Winery Cellar Master’s Riesling

  • Saigon Palms
    101 SW 41st Street, Renton, WA 98057
    (425) 251-5033
    www.saigonpalmsrestaurant.com

    Saigon Palms restaurant interior in Renton, Wash.
    Saigon Palms restaurant interior in Renton, Wash.

    With a 120 year old Chickering piano, and prime location en route to Ikea, Andy Lau’s family is preserving their family’s legacy of restaurants since the 1980s, starting with Andy’s dad, Douglas Au, who opened Wendy’s Vietnamese restaurant in Tacoma. Their chef, Phuong Nguyen, is working in collaboration with Don Hoots, chef of Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar hotel, to add more fusion dishes to the menu in the coming months, including a seared Ahi tuna crab cake with taro mashed potatoes wrapped with garlic bok choy.

    Recommendation:

    A 2006 CMS Red Columbia Valley by Hedges with the Bo Luc Lac. A Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah blend, a spicy red with oaky taste and a great refined finish, matches well with the tender marinated cubes of beef stir fried with bell peppers and onions and a side of pickled cabbage. Other dishes and wines of note:

    Vietnamese styled honey walnut prawns on cabbage slaw with 2006 Smoking Loon Sauvignon Blanc from California, their house white.

  • Kawali Grill
    5300 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118
    (206) 723-6179
    www.kawaligrill.com

    Kawali GrillGerold Castro’s hospitality stems from his many years as executive chef at the downtown Seattle Hilton. He is extending this hospitality to the Filipino and Seattle community by serving the comfort foods of his childhood, from oxtail kare kare to his favorite, phinakbet. Castro has masterfully blended his hotel experience, from the clean presentation of his plates to the way he warmly greets guests. He wants his customers to come in, relax, enjoy and get out of the door feeling full and wanting to come back for more.

    Recommendation:

    The 2008 Aquinas Chardonnay from Napa Valley with Crispy Shrimp served with green papaya relish and a roasted red pepper rémoulade. This chardonnay that has won many awards with its creamy finish and light citrus, herbs, and spicy flavors with a touch of French Oak is a fresh counterpart to the red pepper rémoulade and crunch of breaded shrimp. Other wines and dishes of note: Pandan fried chicken marinated in coconut and pandan leaves coated with bread crumbs served with stirfried veggies and crisp sheet of lumpia skin also pairs well with the 2008 Aquinas. Kalbi style short ribs with onion rings and baby bok choy with a hoisin BBQ sauce with a 2007 Cypress Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.

To contact My Tam Nguyen, e-mail [email protected]

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