Hidden in the back of a sketchy strip mall on Jackson St in the International District is a small but swanky Vietnamese restaurant - Tamarind Tree.
The menu is vast and at first I wasn't sure what to order. So I decided to stick with one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes - Bánh xèo Cây Me, or Vietnamese Crepes. These crepes are nothing like a French style crepe. Rice flour and coconut milk are combined to form a shell of sorts around various fillings. The crepe is super crispy almost like a cracker. It sizzles and lightly pops while it's frying.
Tamarind Tree's Bánh Xèo Cây Me ($12) is stuffed with Tons of ingredients such as sallops, prawns, pork slices, shiitake mushroom, bean sprouts, and mung beans and it's served with greens on the side and Nuoc Cham for dipping. Their version is good, my crepe was a little pasty, likely because the rice flour batter wasn't cooked enough. The bottom half was a bit soggy, maybe from too much moisture during cooking? I didn't love it, but it was ok.
I have tried the Bun, (noodle salad) and it was great... Pretty hard to mess that one up! Also the Bò xã lụi ~ Lemongrass beef satay ($6) - This is ground beef seasoned with lemongrass and served on skewers of sugarcane. It's served with peanut sauce. Although it looks odd at first, the beef is full of flavor and goes well with the peanut sauce! I think the satay dishes are probably where this restaurant shines!
The servers are usually nice but there is some bald guy often standing around or talking on the phone that is incredibly rude. He rarely smiles and practically ignores you while you are waiting to ask for a table...
Tamarind Tree, although really good, isn't my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the city - I especially hate the messed up dimly lit parking lot and the pretenntiousness of the employees here, (well actually, just that bald guy). I would like to try their other restaurant, Long, downtown. Despite being downtown without a lot, i think parking would be better at Long.
1036 S Jackson St, Ste A
Seattle, WA 98104
Hours: Sunday - Thursday 10:00am - 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday 10:00am - midnight