Noodle Boat (Thai in Issaquah)
You know it’s gonna be good if they have a 3D elephant on the menu
I often don’t get to blog about some of the great restaurants I’m eating at, because the reviews run in Seattle Magazine at a later date. I eat out in restaurants almost everyday for my job, which means sometimes it’s difficult finding a great restaurant to feature on the blog that I’m not writing about for the magazine. But on the rare occasion, I happen along some gem that I’m thrilled to share with you. Noodle Boat in Issaquah is one of those gems.
Zabb Zabb (grilled beef with basil, lemon grass, chili mint paste)
This dish made my husband sweat buckets, which was kinda unattractive. But I highly recommend this dish.
We were introduced to Noodle Boat by our friend Bruce, who travels the world dining in exotic locales. After he came back from Thailand, he read about Noodle Boat on a few food forums, and decided to make the trek out to Issaquah to try it out for himself. He claims that the food here is vastly under-rated–sure, it’s generally accepted to be a good Thai restaurant, but Bruce believes it doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves. Bruce has a great palate, and is an incredible home cook himself, so we had high expectations.
seasonal special: acorn squash red curry w/ coconut milk, mint, basil, lime leaf, and noodles (this was my 2nd favorite dish)
And with that, my husband, Matthew (<–he owes me for pimping out that Amazon link), and I joined Bruce for dinner there last week. If you live in Seattle like I do, you might think driving out to Issaquah for a meal is too far, but really, it was an extra 15 minutes each way. And trust me (and Bruce, my husband, and Matthew), the food is awesome. The menu goes up to four stars. We jokingly asked for everything 4.5 stars and the waitress gave it to us. My husband broke out into a sweat after a few bites of the first dish, and my husband was raised on Hunan/Szechuan food, so he has a pretty high heat tolerance.
Volcano Gem Hen, basically flaming deep-fried game hen
this hen is atoning for the sins its committed in a past life
With four people, we ordered seven dishes. The amount of food seemed to shock our waitress, but we managed to put most of it away in our bellies. It was a great meal, and I’d be happy to return anytime, even if my skin did reek of garlic the next day.
my favorite dish of the night! If you come to Noodle Boat without ordering the Ka-Pao-Rad-Khow, you are an imbecile and deserve the suffer the same fate as Mr. Cornish game hen
Red Cheek (breaded, deep-fried meat w/ onions, cashews, bell pepper, sweet chili sauce and dried chili)
My favorite dishes were, in order: the Ka-Pow-Rad-Khow, the acorn squash curry with noodles (this is a seasonal item and will only be around for another month or so), and the Queen of Banana. The remaining dishes were also quite good, with the exception of the Red Cheek pictured above. If you idea of great food is Chinese food from Safeway, this is the upscale version of your dreams. I am not saying this to be an elitist; I’m just correct. Even at a 4.5/4 spice level, the Red Cheek was still pretty one-dimensional and sweet.
Cha Cha Cha hot plate. The waitress snuck some fresh peppercorns in there for us. The peppercorns kind of pop in your mouth, like caviar.
Queen of Banana: another great dish of steamed banana blossoms, shrimp, chicken, lime leaves, roasted coconut, lemon grass, and a million other things I’m too lazy to list (this is my 3rd favorite dish)
If you’re interested in what everyone else thought of the meal, my husband and Bruce also picked the Ka-Pao-Rad-Khow as the best dish of the night. Bruce’s 2nd favorite dish was also the acorn squash curry. I forget what my husband picked as his 2nd favorite dish. Matthew picked the Queen of Banana as his #1. (We all loved that one too.)
P.S. Noodle Boat is also open for lunch but these dishes are not on the lunch menu.
I would give this meal a kick-ass rating of 8.5/10.
Noodle Boat 700 NW Gilman Blvd. in Issaquah