I’ve reviewed Monsoon East in a previous post. Located in Old Bellevue on the Eastside, it (along with the original Monsoon) is the best Asian fusion restaurant in the Seattle area. If there is any single reason why we don’t come here often, it is that the restaurant seems more appropriate for a special occasion or a mecca for the after-work happy hour crowd of professionals who work in the downtown Bellevue core. Not that there is anything wrong with either. After all, Monsoon East’s happy hour menu is pretty darn good.
Our special occasion tonight was to celebrate two birthdays.
I love hot pots. Not only do they look cool, simmering in attractive earthware vessels, but are relatively healthful as they don’t rely on fats for cooking. Monsoon’s hot pots are excellent, such as their one with caramelized catfish whose virtues I extolled in the past. On the appetizer list tonight was Clay Pot Manila Clams. The thick, complex tomato sauce, flavored with pieces of pork and shrimp sausage, was not only terrific on perfectly cooked clams but lip-smacking, slurped directly from the shells. The clams were garnished with sliced jalapeño chiles, ngo om and lime aioli, more like a citrusy yogurt than an emulsion tasting of garlic. There was nothing left of the sauce after we spooned the rest of it over steamed rice. Simply wonderful.