Last month when my friend C and I visited the Seattle area, we decided to stop in at Tamarind Tree for dinner. Tamarind Tree had been on my list of places to try for a while now ever since my friend raved about their Vietnamese crepe. Up until this point, I’d never tried a Vietnamese crepe before so I was really intrigued.
Located in Seattle’s International District Little Saigon area, Tamarind Tree specializes in provincial Vietnamese cuisine. Compared to most Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been to, the decor at Tamarind Tree seems rather Westernized and upscale. I must admit the restaurant was a bit difficult to locate as it is tucked away at the back corner of the parking lot. The restaurant is hugely popular and we were lucky to get a table without reservations on a Sunday evening. It didn’t take long for the restaurant to be lined up out the door.
We started off with an order of the Tamarind Tree Crepe – Bánh xèo Cây Me ($12), which consisted of scallops, prawns, pork slices, shiitake mushroom, bean sprouts, and mung beans in fried rice batter, topped with coconut milk and served with various Vietnamese herbs and pieces of lettuce. The crepe was delicious! It was really crispy and light. To eat it, we would wrap bite size pieces of crepe with lettuce and then top it with some of the herbs. We then dunked it into the accompanying nuoc cham dipping sauce. I really enjoyed the contrasting textures and flavours. This dish was definitely a winner and I could see why my friend loved it so much.
Based on our servers recommendation, for our second dish, we tried the Garlic green beans – Đậu que xào ($10.75). As the name of the dish suggests, this dish consisted of tender green beans stir fried with garlic. The dish tasted ok but was rather pedestrian. It certainly didn’t have much of a wow factor.
Lastly, we tried the Chili beef lemongrass – Thịt bò xào xả ớt ($12.95). Again, we chose this based on our server’s recommendation. He told us this dish was hugely popular along with the Tamarind Tree Crepe. This dish consisted of beef slices stir fried with fresh lemongrass, freshly chopped chili peppers, white onion, and green onion. This dish was just ok. The flavours were great in this dish but I found the beef slices to be a slightly overcooked and chewy.
Of the three dishes we tried, the Tamarind Tree Crepe was hands down the winner. I’d definitely go back to Tamarind Tree for the crepe. I was so impressed with how crispy and light it was. Since they have quite a diverse menu, I look forward to trying some of their other dishes as well on my next visit, but the crepe is definitely the must order item on every visit.
Tamarind Tree Restaurant
Suite A, 1036 S Jackson St