Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Root Table (review)

I just love this quirky little place.  I know that sounds a bit condescending, but "quirky" really fits this place, and it is definitely a compliment.  The minute you walk into this place, you know you are in for a different experience.  

I really liked the way that the place looked as soon as I walked in.  I knew I would want to return, so I hoped the food would be good.

I was in luck, but we will get to that.  The decor is not understated, but it is very organic. The owners obviously put a great deal of thought and effort into the design of the place, but they did not go for flashy or a disney-esque theme.  Instead, the place seems to have been dug out from the roots of a massive, mystical tree.  The tables and seats and even the menus all came from this same tree.  The space is dark and warm.  I felt like some cool Asian hobbit, and that was before I even had a drink.  I am really starting to like Ballard.

Now the food was as creative and interesting as the interior of the restaurant.  Sometimes when restauranteurs have such a clear visual concept, they feel that they can coast a little in the kitchen, but not here.  I love Thai food and have eaten Thai food in many different cities.  There are dishes that I can eat over and over again, but I  always like to try something new.

We started with some Root Fries.  Yes, I was a surprised to see fries in a Thai place too, but of course they were no ordinary fries.  They were seasoned and hand cut root vegetable fries with housemade spicy ketchup.  I am a big fan of french fries, but these were more interesting, and made me feel like I was eating something a little more healthy.  Maybe I wasn't, but I am going to run with the illusion that I was eating vegetables.  This was a good start.

For an entree, I had the Menage-a-Thai.  Is it me, or do Thai people have a great fascination with puns?  I have just noticed that they are often used in Thai restaurant naming (Thaitanic, Thaiku, Thaiger Room, Thai me up, Thai me Down), second only to hair salon naming.  I will say that Thai restaurant puns tend to be better than hair salon puns.  The one exception is a salon I saw called "Curl Up and Dye."  That was good.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, puns.  While we are on the subject, is Menage-a-troi one of the most common subjects of puns or what?  

Back to the food.  Despite its punny name, the food was good.  You get to choose your protein, and I chose chicken.  I received a spread of medallions of grilled chicken with three dishes containing three different curry sauces.  I love different curries, so this was perfect for me, and I must say that all three were different than any other curries I had tried.  Some might not like this, but to me it was exciting.  The roti and jasmine rice were great along side.  It was cool to get bread at a Thai restaurant, another sign that this is not your daddy's Thai place.

I also tried the Crouching Tiger (not so Hidden Pun), which was pan-grilled Black Tiger shrimp and vegetables with Massaman curry and rice.  I liked this dish too and wish my partner had shared a bit more.  The resident Massaman curry expert gave it the thumb of approval. 

Overall, I was really happy with the whole experience, and it was that - an experience.  I like their sense of design and I love their food.  It is fresh and the prices are reasonable.  Usually you have to pay extra for creative decor, but not here.  I can't wait to return.



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