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Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant

418 8th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA
(206) 340-1388

Vietnamese food always seems to be good, but Green Leaf brings my experience with the cuisine to a whole new level in terms of the depth and combinations of flavors that are involved. Located in Seattle's International District, an area not generally known for the best Asian food, it is a small-scale operation with a kitchen just about big enough for two cooks to work in at the same time. Possibly because each meal is individually prepared, the food far surpasses the quality that is served in many surrounding establishments.

There are so few tables you are likely to experience a wait, as I did. A good strategy may be to look around at the other tables to determine what would be good to order, but the problem was that everything looked good. Once you are seated, this is the type of restaurant in which you can ask questions, ask for recommendations, take your time to decide what you want, and make special requests. Peter, the owner, told me it would be no problem making some of my favorite dishes that are not on the menu, but I would probably have to call a day or so ahead so he could purchase the proper ingredients. With such a small kitchen it is understandable that the menu is not overly ambitious.

What is served, though, represents the freshest and best Vietnamese cuisine that I think I have experienced anywhere. Green Leaf does not try to offer the upscale, French influenced food such as is served at Monsoon, but rather the traditional cuisine prepared very well.

I started with a Green Mango Salad, something I was assured was an appetizer but that almost filled me up before I got the main course. One of their most popular salads, it was not spicy as is the case at Lao restaurants, but had such rich and fresh flavors it was truly like eating an Asian salad. The owner described it as "sweet and sour," with the green mangos providing the sour element and the cucumbers, greens, and vegetables giving neutral and sweet offsetting flavors. This salad was truly the highlight of my meal.

The main course was a dish I frequently order at Vietnamese restaurants-- Grilled Chicken Vermicelli served in a bowl with fish sauce as a topping. I probably did not like this dish any more than at Pho Saigon in Kent, but it was prepared differently giving some variety to this standard Vietnamese "classic," and top quality ingredients were used.

The Thai Dessert can serve as both a drink and dessert. Made with Jack-fruit, herbs, water chestnuts, longen, jello, and half & half milk, it is good to drink as an appetizer and to refresh the palate before being bombarded with the explosion of flavors that comes with the meal. I think it is also good to save some of the drink for the dessert. Complimentary green tea is served with the meal, so I did not want for anything to drink with the meal.

Green Leaf truly lived up to be everything I had read in reviews on the Internet, and the people there make it a point to give individual attention to each customer and each meal served.



Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Tea: Green (brewed) house
Smoking: No Smoking

Most Recent Visit
May 18, 2006

Number of Visits: 1

Best Items
Mango Salad, Vermicelli Dishes

Special Ratings
Green Mango Salad:
Grilled Chicken Vermicelli:
Thai Dessert:

Restaurant Web Site
Green Leaf

Health Dept. Report
King County