Seattle is well-known for its seafood cuisine, tourist come from all over to take part in Pike’s Place fish markets and enjoy classic seafood dishes along the waterfront. What many tourists may not realize is that Seattle also has a great many vegetarian options around town that would satisfy even the pickiest carnivorous patrons. Being a meat-eater myself, I decided to try several of the most loved vegetarian restaurants around town and see how they matched up to their more mainstream companions. My favorite find, In the Bowl. In the Bowl is located in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill District.
Located off of Thomas and Olive, next to Apocalypse tattoo, In the Bowl serves up Thai cuisine with a very unique, and very delicious, vegetarian flair. Nothing in the house contains any sort of animal product; instead, dishes are served with vegetarian “fake” meat in the form of chicken, duck, or beef. During my visit, I asked several guests of the restaurant what they thought of the fake meat and most agreed that it surely rivaled real meat, and one even ventured to say that In the Bowl was their “meat fix,” and “the one thing that kept them from missing what they used to have in their diet on a daily basis.”
Skeptically, I ordered several items containing the fake meat varieties. I was shocked. Not only where the dishes full of flavor, but the fake meat options, especially the chicken and duck were extremely convincing. So much so, that I would have to agree with the patrons that stated that the meat rivaled real chicken. I’d go so far as to add that if I were able to find a place to buy those non-meat options, I’d certainly work it into my own cooking.
While there I started with the smooth tofu satay, a traditional style satay but dressed up with a sweet and tart cucumber salad, and grilled bread, both of which went excellent with the tofu and peanut sauce. My main course was the yellow friend rice, a yellow curry paste fried rice at four stars. The spice was perfect, and didn’t cover the flavor of the curry. The plate was full of perfectly fried rice, carrots, onions, snow peas, and sweet pineapple to complement the spicy curry. For protein I chose the “chicken” option. It was well cooked, flavored, and perfectly blended with the curry rice in a way that made it hard to recognize that the chicken wasn’t really…well, chicken. I also ordered the coconut milk noodle, a wide rice noodle fried dish featuring eggplant and basil to add a delicious punch to the green curry base, definitely one of my favorite dishes tasted. With this dish I chose to add the “duck” option. Again, it perfectly complemented the curry and matched the flavor and texture of actual duck (one of my favorite proteins when eating Thai food).
Overall, I give In the Bowl 5 stars out of 5. The cuisine is well made, tasty, and quick. Despite the fact that the restaurant is actually more of a hole in the wall than anything else, I cannot dock a single star. I will most definitely be visiting In the Bowl again to taste more of their unique take on vegetarian Thai cuisine.