Levitate elevates pub grub from the mundane to the sublime

August 11, 2015

UPDATED — 9:25 a.m. Aug. 13, 2015

*Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Levitate Gastropub was located in the former H&H Tavern. The H&H Saloon is still open and located at 91 Front St. N.

Restaurant reviews are a regular feature of The Issaquah Press. Reviewers visit restaurants unannounced and pay in full for their meals.

There are plenty of options for “pub grub” in Issaquah, consisting of your typical bar food, from burgers to salads.

However, there’s only one eatery in town touting itself as a “gastropub” — Levitate.

By Greg Farrar The wild boar pulled pork sandwich (top) and the fish taco with mahi mahi are two upscaled pub grub menu items featured on the Levitate Gastropub menu.

By Greg Farrar
The wild boar pulled pork sandwich (top) and the fish taco with mahi mahi are two upscaled pub grub menu items featured on the Levitate Gastropub menu.

The basic definition of a gastropub is a pub that elevates its menu fare with high-end ingredients. Read more

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August Moon offers full menu of diverse Chinese cuisine

July 16, 2015

Appearances can be deceiving.

By Greg Farrar The Dragon and Phoenix Combo (left) and the Seafood in Vermicelli Sauce entrées were a good choice from August Moon Chinese Restaurant’s lunch menu.

By Greg Farrar
The Dragon and Phoenix Combo (left) and the Seafood in Vermicelli Sauce entrées were a good choice from August Moon Chinese Restaurant’s lunch menu.

Take for example, August Moon. Don’t decide whether to eat there or not by its empty parking lot at 2 p.m. on a weekday, or by the Yelp review that described the interior as a Chinese retirement home, with a décor that hasn’t been updated since 1982.

If you went by appearances alone, you’d be missing out on a darn fine meal with some of the best customer service.

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Feel like family when Uncle Si serves up a slice of that pie

May 20, 2015

When the owner of Uncle Si’s Pizza was looking to open a second location outside Snoqualmie Ridge, he chose a curious spot.

By David Hayes The barbecue chicken (front) and the Old Standard are two good choices for pizzas at Uncle Si’s.

By David Hayes
The barbecue chicken (front) and the Old Standard are two good choices for pizzas at Uncle Si’s.

A few months back, he opened that second location in the Sammamish Lakeside Plaza on East Lake Sammamish Parkway. Commuters to and from Issaquah drive past it daily, while schools are all up the hill in Sammamish and businesses are south, closer to downtown Issaquah. So it’s not very conveniently located for the typical lunch crowd, unless you live in the nearby apartment complexes.

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Let Tantalus take you on a culinary cruise to Greece

February 3, 2015

The Issaquah dining scene has quite the selection of international flair, covering the standard in Italian, Chinese and Mexican. But if you’re craving a little Mediterranean cuisine, your choices are limited.

By Greg Farrar The Olympus Plate at Tantalus offers a wide variety of Greek standards from the restaurant’s menu.

By Greg Farrar
The Olympus Plate at Tantalus offers a wide variety of Greek standards from the restaurant’s menu.

Luckily, you can’t go wrong with The Tantalus Restaurant in Gilman Village, which features a menu of Greek standards.

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Kansas City ’cue — During the winter, leave the barbecuing to Stan’s

December 23, 2014

Buyer beware — you really can get too much of a good thing.

By Greg Farrar An order of Who’s Your Daddy? at Stan’s Bar-B-Q comes with three ribs, a half-pound of beef brisket, a half-pound of pulled pork, two sausage links and two sides, all for just $25.99.

By Greg Farrar
An order of Who’s Your Daddy? at Stan’s Bar-B-Q comes with three ribs, a half-pound of beef brisket, a half-pound of pulled pork, two sausage links and two sides, all for just $25.99.

Take Stan’s Bar-B-Q, for instance. Just don’t take it all at once like I did. After downing just half of the “Who’s Your Daddy” sampler platter, I was ready for a meat nap.

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Herfy’s extensive menu offers something for everyone

October 21, 2014

The problem with so many family restaurants is how commercialized they have become, from Applebee’s and TGI Fridays to Red Robin and Denny’s.

By Greg Farrar Herfy’s varied menu includes a solid presentation of a Philly cheese steak sandwich and fries.

By Greg Farrar
Herfy’s varied menu includes a solid presentation of a Philly cheese steak sandwich and fries.

That’s why Herfy’s was such a pleasant discovery.

No pretensions, no waitresses singing a customized happy birthday song to a slightly embarrassed group of diners, just a large menu full of delicious food.

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Pabla Veggie Cuisine has good food, is good value

September 16, 2014

Let’s talk about Indian buffets.

By Peter Clark Pabla Veggie Cuisine has all the standards of most Indian buffets.

By Peter Clark
Pabla Veggie Cuisine has all the standards of most Indian buffets.

When I first started eating this divine cuisine oh so many years ago, I treated buffets like the Holy Grail of exotic dining. Every buffet gave so many choices and so much of them. But as years and restaurants pass, a palette refines and buffets disappoint.

While I looked forward to my experience at Pabla Veggie Cuisine in the Meadows Shopping Center, I was skeptical of the buffet. While it did present a good representation of what the vegetarian restaurant can provide hungry customers, it also fell to many of the same bland faults as other Indian buffets.

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Noodle Boat keeps fresh flavors afloat

July 1, 2014

Noodle Boat has long been one of my favorite Issaquah restaurants and a return visit for a review does nothing to change my opinion.

The little Thai restaurant at the end of a strip mall off Northwest Gilman Boulevard seems a little buried among the storefronts. But once you step inside, the clean and charming atmosphere welcomes you into a comfortable dining environment.

Noodle Boat is outfitted with traditional decorations in a modern setting and has a confident sense of design. During the day, the windows offer wonderful lighting and the evening provides a relaxing place for a repast.

By Peter Clark Noodle Boat’s red curry is just one delicious menu item that showcases the restaurant’s Thai cuisine.

By Peter Clark
Noodle Boat’s red curry is just one delicious menu item that showcases the restaurant’s Thai cuisine.

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Chan’s is the place for fine food

April 15, 2014

Chan’s Place is extremely unassuming, given its location. Its name is lit up in neon running over the strip mall exterior. A banner touting Chinese food and decrying MSG hangs over the neon sign.

There is no way you would expect its interior by walking past it. It is light and open and airy inside. The decor is filled with warm to neutral colors encouraging a calming meal.

A dinner in the first part of the week is nothing to hurry for; a Tuesday night dinner will get you prompt and pleasant seating by the hostess. There is ample seating around but you won’t feel isolated. Even with four or five tables in the relatively spacious dining room you still feel like you are around people. Conversations are carried throughout the room at just the right level: enough to hear them, but not enough to drown out your own conversation.

By Dan Gunderson The beef with black bean sauce is a can’t miss meal at Chan’s Place.

By Dan Gunderson
The beef with black bean sauce is a can’t miss meal at Chan’s Place.

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Pine Lake Ale House offers up some fine pub grub

April 1, 2014

Sometimes, when together with a group of co-workers, you just get a hankering for some pub grub. So, we trekked up to Pine Lake Ale House to check their offerings.

The first good sign was how packed it was. A successful restaurant needs to maintain a solid base of regulars while constantly attracting new diners.

By David Hayes Pine Lake Ale House offers such pub grub staples as (clockwise from top) the grilled chicken taco salad, teriyaki chicken sandwich, fish and chips, and the spicy chicken sandwich.

By David Hayes
Pine Lake Ale House offers such pub grub staples as (clockwise from top) the grilled chicken taco salad, teriyaki chicken sandwich, fish and chips, and the spicy chicken sandwich.

I went right for their top item from their menu’s list of specialties — the fish and chips. Glancing around the pub, it appeared to be a popular order among the many other diners. It was easy to see why, as the combination of flaky Alaskan halibut, the Mac & Jacks beer batter and the chili tartar sauce combined for a satisfying whole.

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