Dinner at Monsoon East (Bellevue, WA)

Twice before, we had gone to Monsoon East and enjoyed happy hour. Tonight, we got more serious and ordered from the menu.

We started out with two superb cocktails.

French Pearls Martini – Elderflower liqueur, lillet blanc, champagne, lemon twist and basil seeds that moved up and down with the champagne bubbles
Moondance – blueberry juice, huckleberry vodka, rhubarb bitters and champagne

French pearls martini and Moondance cocktails

The squid appetizer (pictured at the top) was very good—baby squid that were grilled and stuffed with minced duck, basil and jicama. They were “cute,” chubby little tubes that were tender and savory. They sat on a bed of shredded romaine dressed with a vinaigrette and were drizzled with a little green onion oil. Nice flavors.

The half chicken was moist and had a nice charred, crispy skin. The chicken hardly tasted of lemongrass, though it’s probably an indication of a well-balanced marinade. There was a green bean side with very flavorful baby oyster mushrooms. Also accompanying this dish was mashed taro with coconut flavor, a very interesting and, to us, a wonderful concoction.

Bricked lemongrass chicken

The star of the show was without question the catfish dish. It takes a mere 15 minutes over an intense flame to produce this deeply flavored claypot of catfish, onions, and chiles (both dried red and bird’s-eye) in a sweet soy-based sauce. It’s no wonder that it is a regularly featured item at both Monsoon locations.

Caramelized Idaho catfish claypot

The banana cake was kind of like a bread pudding, served as five small cubes, with a thick, salty coconut cream that provided a wonderful contrast to the dessert. There were also three insignificant squirts of a sweet mint syrup.

Banana cake with coconut cream

According to the waiter, other popular dishes are the Dungeness crab (either half or whole) stir-fried in a wok with black pepper and pineapple salad; and luc lac filet mignon with sweet onions, oxtail sauce and watercress.

Monsoon East
10245 Main St.
Bellevue, WA 98004