Noodle Boat is without doubt our favorite Thai restaurant in the greater Seattle area. Luckily for us, it’s only a fast drive down I-90 away. Many regard it as one of the truly authentic Thai restaurants in the area. The menu is quite extensive, with many items you won’t find anywhere else. We’ve been customers here since 1999.
Noodle Boat is hard to find, tucked away in one of many strips malls along Gilman Blvd. that are separated by great distances, made more difficult because Issaquah has strict regulations regarding commercial signage. To make matters worse, the storefront is difficult to see from the street, partially obscured by shrubbery in front.
We ate here for dinner and had the Queen of Banana and a rice dish called Kow Ob! Gai Tod (KOGT). Queen of Banana is really a unique dish. Whether it’s their own creation or not, I’m not sure. It boasts bold flavors from lemongrass, mint, finely shredded kaffir lime leaves, cilantro, toasted coconut, chile paste and red onions, combined with shrimp and strips of chicken breast. The sweet-and-sour dressing tastes of coconut milk, lime juice, nuoc mam and sugar. The interesting ingredient is steamed banana blossoms that have the texture of tender artichoke hearts, which they somewhat resemble. Overall, a wonderful dish that’s a little on the sweet side, not surprising for a Thai dish. The flavors were terrific, assertive. Normally, I would say this was an excellent dish, but our sample had overcooked shrimp and an overload of dressing that pooled at the bottom, something better managed in the kitchen.
The KOGT consists of turmeric-tinged rice with raisins, Chinese long beans, cucumber, cilantro, shredded carrots, and chicken tenders that have been battered and deep fried, sliced and served alongside the rice. While the other rice entrées are fried rice, this dish is baked. The crowning touch is a sweet-tart and slightly spicy sauce that suffused the rice, a combination that has savoriness, sweetness and punch.
The Barbecue Chicken was a great combination of perfectly grilled and moist chicken (the dark meat with skin still on and nicely browned), bathed in a curry-coconut sauce, served with a more-potent-than-usual sweet chile sauce.
Lunchtime offers many items printed on both sides of a oval fan-shaped menu, an excellent way to get acquainted with the restaurant’s excellent dishes.