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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Fri 11:30am–10:00pm
Sat–Sun 10:00am–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines, outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Capitol Hill
615 19th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA
(206) 325-2111

10245 Main St.
Bellevue, WA
(425) 635-1112
Tricked-out Northwest Vietnamese for an upscale crowd

Monsoon serves haute Vietnamese, and the Northwest pops up on the menu often—among the selection of lovely stir-fried greens are items like fiddlehead ferns. More ambitious crossovers occur in dishes like wok-cooked razor clams from the Washington coast served with asparagus and fermented black beans.

But most favorites, like drunken chicken, barbecued spare ribs with ginger-hoison sauce, and catfish claypot with coconut juice, have an older, if no longer straightforward, lineage. Dishes can come out over-seasoned, occasionally too sweet, but there’s an underappreciated amount of talent here.

Brunch is among the best in the city: mix and match between traditional Vietnamese offerings like banh xeo (rice-flour crepes with pork belly and shrimp) or oxtail pho; a modest but excellent selection of dim sum; and “colony favorites” like Belgian waffles, pancakes, and baked eggs.

The interior is elegant enough to appease the wealthier crowd, but it’s basically a fancy version of an I.D. joint: plain wooden tables and what looks like a designer’s play on the padded black banquet chairs ubiquitous in Asian eateries. And the wine list is well-matched to the food, with plenty of aromatic wines to stand up to the Vietnamese fare.

A second location (out in Bellevue) called Monsoon East has accomplished the date night vibe with a more cohesive design, dimmer lighting, and gauzy white curtains cordoning off the main dining room.

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