After almost a week, the MSG150 rolled on again today. We continued south on 8th to Green Leaf. Many of us have been to Green Leaf before and we were excited to go back. Since it is tiny and usually packed for lunch we got an early start. We were an MSG150 record sized group of eight so we had to split up into two tables. Even so, we got seated right away.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Mi Vit Tiem - Fried Duck Noodle Soup - $7.95
Fortune: You will be a winner.
Ah, Green Leaf at last. Are ye thy savior of mine overly Kung Pao’ed soul? Green Leaf is one of the top rated Vietnamese restaurants in Seattle and, since I like even the crappy ones, my hopes were high. Green Leaf is in a tiny spot but runs like a much bigger place. It is packed with eleven two and four top tables and had eight people working lunch between the kitchen and wait-staff. It has a nice atmosphere enhanced by the friendly and beautiful servers. Some Saigon soap opera is missing their cast.
I chose the Fried Duck Noodle Soup because I like duck and soup seemed like a good choice on a cold day. We called back our cast member to order a Fresh Spring Roll after seeing the other table get theirs and becoming overcome with jealousy. The fresh rolls had a beautiful presentation and came with four separate peanut sauce bowls, perfect for no guilt double-dipping. The fresh roll was fresh (and rolled) and similar to what I expected other than it had a single piece of crispy fried shrimp in the center which gave it a pleasant Kit-Kat like crunch. I only wish the peanut sauce had been a little more peanutty.
The duck soup was good, but not the five chopstick good I was hoping for. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the soup seemed a bit boring for all the restaurant’s hype. Other’s dishes looked good. I will definitely be back again, but will probably not order the duck soup.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Bun Ga Noung - Vermicelli with Grilled Chicken - $6.95
Fortune: You or a close friend will be happily married
There has been a lot of hype around Green Leaf: Everyone says its one of the best Vietnamese restaraunts in Seattle. Thats a pretty big statement to live up to.
We ordered some spring rolls, because there had been some rumors that they were really good. The first thing I noticed about them was a very nice presentation. There are 4 on a plate, and they're arranged so that two rolls are "standing up" and two are "laying down". Before dunking my spring roll into the peanut sauce, I decided to taste the sauce first. I dipped a chopstick in the bowl, and tasted: It was much sweetier than a standard peanut sauce, and well... not very peanutty. Then I took a bite out of my spring roll that allegedly contained pork and shrimp. I never saw nor tasted the pork, but was assured by my coworkers that it was supposed to be some there. Then the roll suprised me by containing something crunchy. There was a fried stick of something in there, and it was awesome. A little crunch suprise. I guess that makes these the Twix (tm) of spring rolls. Overall, these spring rolls were kind of a let down because of the blandness. Don't feel like you're missing anything special if you skip these.
Because I had high expectations of Green Leaf, I ordered something that I already had a "baseline" of, so I could make a decent judgement. I routinely get the vermicelli noodles with chicken at other Vietnamese restaurants, so I went with that. The Bun Ga Noung was definitely above average. The chicken wasn't overcooked and was a little bit crispy. Combine the chicken with some perfectly fried onions, and you will have a savory treat that will make you want to visit this place often. I'm not sure what they had marinated the cucumbers in, but whatever it was... it was sweet and delicious. The cuc's complimented the all of the dishes other flavors very well. This dish was served with fish sauce on the side, and I poured my whole bowl of fish sauce on the noodles. The fish sauce was awesome, and really enjoyed it on my Bun noodles. I really enjoyed my dish as a whole. I'm writing this review as I ride in my friend's car a across the lovely (and partially snow covered) state of Washington, and I'm burping up fish sauce. My friends are not happy with my decision to pour the whole bowl of fish sauce on today's lunch.
As far as hot sauce goes, this place's was pretty good. The sauce was thicker than normal, and had no visible oil. It seemed like it might have been a mixture of Sriracha, tomato sauce, and pepper seeds. If you're afraid of hot sauce, be careful when using this one because it does contain some actual hotness.
Mediocre spring rolls. Delicious Bun noodles. Good service. Nice atmosphere. Definitely visit this restaurant.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Hu Tieu (hoac) Mi Dac Biet - House Special Noodle Soup - $7.25
Fortune: You will develop a new interest.
I approached Green Leaf with high hopes. It opened with gushing reviews last year, and it was hard to get a table. The asians I knew raved about it, so I was like, hellZ yeah.
We had the nice table by the window on a frigid, sunny Seattle day. The service was attentive, polite, and quick. I wanted something beyond the normal Pho I usually get, so I asked about specials. There were no daily specials, but I quickly spied the Hu Tieu (hoac) Mi Dac Biet (House Special Noodles, number 29). It promised lots of good stuff - bbq pork, shrimp, fish balls, and WONTONS. It's like all my favorite foods in a bowl.
Our partys' other table had ordered the spring rolls, and we were like, "screw you and your hogging of all the spring rolls." We ordered our own, and they were delicious. They were fresh, had a nice crunchiness to the texture, and the peanut sauce wasn't overly peanuty. The main course came soon after, and it was fantastic. In addition to the listed ingredients, there was some baby celery, green onion, and what appeared to be ground pork in it. I added some red pepper sauce and a bit of hoisin, and dove in. There was only one wonton in it, but by god it was a good wonton.
Oh yeah, the spoon I got had a picture of a Geisha or something on it. Bonus points for that.
All in all a great experience. 4/5.
Luncher: ErinLunch: Bun Bo Xao - Vermicelli with Grilled Steak and Onion - $6.95
Fortune: You will receive a compliment from a stranger
On entering the restaurant, you can see that it’s a very small space! However the entry is well separated from the dining area, and the space is warm and comfortable with soft lighting. There was one spot available for more than four people, and it was occupied, so our group sat at separate tables – there were 8 of us. I had a Bun dish with sauteed beef and onions (7.95). Our table also ordered spring rolls with shrimp and pork (about 4.00). I had a Vietnamese coffee – strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk (3.00). I should be wide awake all afternoon. My entree was very good; the beef was sauteed to tender, and there were both fresh onions and frizzled (canned, I think) onions on the fresh rice vermicelli noodles. There was the usual vinegar sauce with shredded carrots and a side of chopped lettuce and cucumber, all very fresh. The dish was well made, however, it could have used some additional flavoring or spice – it was a little on the bland side. The spring rolls were disappointing; the rice wrap was fresh, and the dish arrived creatively plated, but the pressed pork tasted old and the peanut dipping sauce was bland. Service was prompt and friendly and well understood; food arrived quickly after being ordered, and mostly the table’s food arrived at the same time. The place must be popular as it was very crowded. Overall I’d rate this hole in the wall spot 4 chopsticks, because the service was quick, the atmosphere was pleasant and decorative and the food - although needing a bit of spice or flavor - was well cooked and presented.
Luncher: RobLunch: Bun Chay - Vermicelli with Grilled Tofu - $6.95
Fortune: You place in the path of life is in the drivers seat
I've been looking forward to Green Leaf. On the down side, they pretty much have just a couple vegetarian entrees on the menu, of which I've only had one, the Bun Chay. But on the up side, it's so good that I keep ordering it, and today was no exception. It's basically a bowl of vermicelli noodles topped with all sorts of goodness: mushrooms, fried tofu, green onions, frizzled onions, peanuts, bean sprouts, and, for better or for worse, vegetarian ham. It comes with a small bowl of sauce (usually fish sauce, but the Bun Chay came with something that looked soy-sauce-based) that you pour over the noodles and then dig in. I don't particularly care for fake meat, so I asked them to hold the vegetarian ham, and in its place they put grilled tofu. The grilled tofu, I must say, was sublime -- slightly crispy on the outside, which gave it some great texture. The veggie sauce was quite nice, as well, not overpowering but still complementary to the dish. The salad that comes tucked in on one side of the bowl was awesome -- fresh and crisp, and the bits of mint really made it quite refreshing.
Luncher: YvonneLunch: Pho Tai Gan - Rare Beef with Brisket - $6.50
Fortune: You or a close friend will be happily married.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Hu Tieu (hoac) Mi Dac Biet - House Special Noodle Soup - $7.25
Fortune: You have a natural grace and great consideration for others
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Hu Tieu Xao - Egg Noodle with Grilled Chicken and Bok Choy - $6.95
Fortune: You will find fortune.
Green Leaf PhotosGreen Leaf
Green Leaf is tiny
Fresh Spring Roll
Rob's Vermicelli with Grilled Tofu
Erin's Vermicelli with Steak and Grilled Onions
Micheal's House Special Noodle Soup
Adam's Vermicelli with Grilled Chicken
Geary's Fried Duck Noodle Soup
Emmett's House Special Noodle Soup w/ Naked Lady Spoon
Torrey's Egg Noodle with Chicken and Bok Choy
"As the Vietnamese World Turns"