Longtime readers might recall Dawn’s post earlier this year about Jack’s Tapas Cafe in the U-District. We thought it was worth sharing some more thoughts on Jack’s, now that we’ve had a chance to dig in and try more of their menu.
Jack’s, Chiang’s Gourmet (in Lake City), and Szechuan Chef (in Bellevue) are our favorite Chinese restaurants in town. Jack’s cafe is a very friendly, low-key, family-run affair, and is the kind of place where you can easily fall into a rut – once you stumble upon an excellent dish, you may find yourself ordering it time and again. But fight the temptation! There are many great dishes to be had. For starters, try the hot and sour soup (it’s among the best we’ve had around here), or the sesame scallion bread (with its many soft layers and crispy pan-fried exterior). Their hand-shaved noodle stir fry is a must, as is the sour napa cabbage stir-fry with lamb; the latter has a wonderfully unique flavor that keeps me coming back.
Green beans, pigs ears, and sesame scallion bread at Jack’s Tapas Cafe.
We’re glad our friend Jim recommended we try the mixed vegetables, chicken, translucent noodles with golden crown dish – a large plate with an egg omelet serving as the crown, covering the rest of the ingredients. (We’ve found that this dish doesn’t fare quite as well for take-out, so save it for your in-house dining.) On a lunch visit just today with friends, we finally tried the eggplant with basil and now it’s on our must-order list for next time. In return, we introduced them to the slightly spicy green beans with beef. We always order too much food at Jack’s, but I have no problem eating those green beans leftover.
Not everything makes it on the must-order-again list for us. I found the pigs ears appetizer to be a bit too tough and leathery, and the tofu with Chinese chives was good, but not top-tier.
Next visit, I’m trying the highly-recommended three cup chicken. What else do you think we should try? Post your recommendations below.
Jack’s Tapas Cafe (Mainly Chinese)
5211 University Way, Seattle