Stateside is, for lack of a better description, a fancy Vietnamese restaurant in Seattle’s Capital hill neighborhood. It’s not your standard pho joint, it looks, feels and tastes like the fine dining establishment it markets itself as, offering a stylishly modern dining room and a mix of classic and innovative menu options.
Round 1: The small (and medium) plates was where Stateside really performed well. Our introduction to Stateside cooking was their Amberjack Crudo, which was really quite tasty. The fish was buttery and delicious and the flavored ice thingy it was served with (read the menu description here) was similarly nice, a refreshingly cool add on that felt like it was part of the dish, rather than just dumped on top of a piece of fish.
The Duck Spring Rolls turned out to be our favorite thing on the menu (so much so that we ordered a second round). A simple yet delicious combination of duck and noodles and thai basil and sauce created a deliciously crunchy and tasty bite of food. If I could only eat one thing at Stateside, the Duck Spring Rolls would be my order.
Our final small plate was a Green Papaya salad. Apart from the thoughtful addition of (fancy restaurant version) beef jerky to the dish, it was a middle disappointing mix of slightly overdressed and lacking in any form of heat. It was pretty good though.
Round 2: The first round was by far the high point, by that’s not to say the rest of the food wasn’t also delicous. The highlight of the second round was the Cumin Encrusted Pork Ribs, a dish that was best described as herb encrusted melt off the bone goodness, served, as this reporters father pointed out very excitedly, complete with whole toasted cumin.
The other two dishes, Bun Cha Hanoi, which is apparently a fancy name for Egg Roll Noodle with pork, and Hu Style Clam Rice, formed the solid but unspectacular bulk of the meal.
The only problem with Bun Cha Hanoi was that it was disguised as something other than Egg Roll Noodle. It was a delicious egg roll noodle dish with well grilled pork that was clearly from a part of the animal you’d be conformable eating (which, depending on the establishment, is sometimes less obvious). Other than that, it was great, and if Egg Roll Noodle is what you want, then consider Stateside’s Bun Cha Hanoi a great version of it.
The Clam Rice had more problems. The textures of the dish, which is made up of rice and clams and eleven different types of traditional toppings, work very well together. The rice is properly cooked. The clams, however, where almost nonexistent, and the two broths it was served with were so salty that any noticeable amount of each sauce completely overpowered the rest of the dish. The kitchen did send the waiter out to ask about the clam rice, and upon hearing our comments on the saltiness of he broth sent the man back out with an additional bowl of rice. While an impressive showing of asking for and responding to feedback from the customers, the addition of rice didn’t really add much more then calories to the dish.
Stateside is a good restaurant. It has a lot of nice flavors and some really good dishes. Reports indicate that the adult beverage menu is well stocked and fairly delicious, and the service was excellent. However, it suffered on multiple occasions from not having enough spice, as though the restaurant had dumbed down the flavors to appeal to a more American palate. As one final note, the actual dishes that the food was served in, though ascetically pleasing, made some things hard to eat and messed with the way others would have been best served. Still though, good restaurant.
Rating: 4.2 Stars