The MSG150 crew was six strong today as we headed up the hill. We were all excited to have finally passed the hurdles necessary to now be headed towards the Tamarind Tree. Many of us have been here for dinner and had great experiences. Now it was Tamarind Tree's time to show what it's got going on for lunch.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Bun dau nu nuong - Grilled Lemongrass Tofu Noodles - $7.25
Wow, this place is amazing. A beautiful interior, and a great outdoor deck to eat on when the weather is nice (as it was on this day).
If anyone could compete with Pho Bac, it's going to be this place. I ordered some Bun noodles to enjoy in the mid-day Seattle heat.
I was impressed when they brought the food out only moments later; they've got this lunch timing down pat. Let's start with the fish-sauce for the Bun noodles: it was good, and not too garlic-y, I was able to enjoy the rest of my afternoon without burping up fish sauce. The noodles were cooked well, as would be expected at a Vietnamese restaurant. The lemongrass tofu was good and had some fun flavor. Overall Tamarind Tree has decent prices, and I'm happy with the experience.
I'll visit this place again. Their menu is large, and I'm sure contains some real gems.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Bun thit nuong - Skewered Grilled Pork Noodles - $6.95
The Tamarind Tree is by far the fanciest lunch spot so far on the MSG150 tour. Real, living plants. Water features. Matching tables and chairs. It has it all, almost. It's located at the back end of an aging strip mall parking lot. It also has the most outdoor seating of any other spot and is equipped with lots of heat lamps for chilly days. We were greeted warmly by the host and seated on the patio.
Looking over the lunch menu I was pleasantly surprised by the prices. They are inline with the other Vietnamese lunch purveyors in spite of the extra fanciness. I went with the Bun Thit Nuong, BBQ pork on cold noodles with fresh veggies and sweet fish sauce, since it's a good barometer by which to measure this place against the others. I was also enticed to throw in an order for the Fresh Rolls having spotted a neighbor enjoying theirs.
The Bun was beautify presented, more than enough food, and delicious. The bowl was heaped with hot pork just off the skewer. I would have like the BBQ pork to have more crispy bits and a bit more of a saucy tang, but I ate it all and fully enjoyed it during the process. The Fresh Rolls were good, but didn't show up until I was gorged on Bun and were way more then we needed.
Finally, in summary and to conclude, the Tamarind Tree is a great lunch spot for an important business meeting or lunch date as long as your guest is blind or at least blind folded during the approach through the strip mall parking lot. However, if your date has agreed to be willingly blindfolded, it seem a shame to stop here and not just go straight home. Once in, it is a great lunch value and completes well on taste with (but doesn't quite beat) the all mighty Pho Bac.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Bun chao tom - Grilled Shrimp on Sugarcane Noodles - $8.25
Way to go on converting a strip mall parking lot into a soothing outdoor oasis. This place makes me feel like a rich LA debutante out for brunch with the grrls. There's nice music, vines, bamboo. Was there a waterfall? I don't remember. Sadly the food doesn't overwhelm.
We're big fans of the Vietnamese food here at MSG HQ, so I was excited to see a variety of options that are normal hot spots don't offer. Grilled Shrimp on Sugarcane sounded unique, interesting, and exciting! It came, and it looked good. Big cuts of sugarcane had molded ground shrimp wrapped around them like meat on a stick. I doubt it was grilled, most likely the whole thing was thrown in the deep fryer, sugarcane and all. Regardless, the flavor wasn't all that great. The ground up shrimp was a disappointment, as I was hoping for whole shrimp to be wrapped around the sugarcane. The salad greens thrown in with the bun still had a plastic label attached.
On the flip side, the spring rolls were tasty.
Luncher: AlLunch: Bun thit lui Da Nong - Da Nange Grilled Pork Noodles - $7.50
Only al fresco dining in the ID -- a little pricey, but good enough to justify it. 4 chopsticks.
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Saigon Pork Grill Noodles - $7.25
Luncher: JaredLunch: Banh man cu cai tom - Steamed Prawn Coconut Rice Cake - $7.50
Tamarind Tree PhotosTamarind Tree
Bun dau nu nuong - Grilled Lemongrass Tofu Noodles
Bun chao tom - Grilled Shrimp on Sugarcane Noodles
Saigon Pork Grill Noodles
Bun thit nuong - Skewered Grilled Pork Noodles
Bun thit lui Da Nong - Da Nange Grilled Pork Noodles
Banh man cu cai tom - Steamed Prawn Coconut Rice Cake
Emmett's Lunch is apparently a product of Thailand