Feb 16 2008
These days my friend NaN (the father of ‘aalbad’) and I are in the mood of pigging out. Yes, we dedicated the weekend to checking out new eateries. We usually rely on NWsource for all things food in Seattle/Eastside (Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue are collectively called Eastside). I read about Araya’s last year and I have been wanting to try out the place forever. So last night it happened. We enlisted another friend A, who lives in U-D and headed out to Araya.
We went there at around 7.30pm. The best thing is the parking. We could find one right across the street. Second best thing was the seating. We could find a table right away. Serendipity at its best !! The two things that usually fluster me were addressed. I was already in an upbeat mood. It was only going to get better.
The waitress handed over the menus and it was vegetarian’s heaven. I don’t like places with large menus – but Araya is in U-district.. so it had to have large menus. It had over 60 dishes on the menu – and all of them were vegetarian. I could literally swim in that
I didn’t have a camera with me – so I can only describe what we ordered. We didn’t go for drinks tonight. We have a teetotaler amongst us and there were no non-alchoholic drinks (or may be we didn’t check )
We started with a couple of appetizers. One of us was eating healthy so we picked Fresh Rolls and Tofu Satay. I would rate both of them 5/5. The Fresh Rolls has basil in them and that added a nice kick. And Tofu Satay was so tender and delicate – it was the best Tofu I had in recent times. It came with a side of peanut sauce. Generally I hate peanut sauce but this was tangy and went well with the skewered Tofu.
We ordered Tom Kha soup for the second course. The soup came in a sizzling pot with a hollow middle that had flame coming out. Yes, very elaborate. And the soup came in really big portion size. It could have easily suffice 4 people. It was the most delicious Tom Kha I had. The mushrooms, the lemongrass and the galanga all came together in the coconut milk prepartion. I would give it 10/5 – yes it was that good.
We ordered Basil Friend Rice, Drunken Mushrooms and Veggies meat in Peanut sauce. Basil Fried Rice was the best in this round. It had fried basil that added a lot of flavor th the dish. I would rate the dish 5/5. Drunken Mushrooms had chopped portabellos and wide rice noodles in a tangy-spicy sauce. It was good – probably 4/5. The least favorite dish was the Veggies meat in Peanut sauce. It had vegetarian meat, vegetables and wide rice noodles in peanut sauce. I did find that the peanut sauce was overwhelming and the dish had nothing spectacular to it. I would give it 2.5/5. Other than that the entire experience was wonderful.
Araya’s has the university-y charm to it. Small place, large crowds, large portions - you get it. I love trying out eateries in U-District. Here is what NWsource says about Araya. Overall, I would definitely recommend this to any friend especially one who is strictly vegetarian.
The place also has a lunch buffet featuring 18 dishes. I intend to try it out soon sometime.
Araya Vegetarian Place ( 4.5 out of 5 )
1121 N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105