The strength of Dao Tai House, a 9-month-vintage restaurant jammed among a liquor store and a dance studio on Capitol Hill, is its Russian-inflected Chinese food, not its storefront.
The show windows are plastered with bright images of bubble tea and noodles, however, they mask a cramped, generally-empty bar, divorced from the relaxation of the eating place — and sadder for it.
Walk thru the front door and things don’t get any easier. There’s a perplexing, concrete-floored foyer. Branch right for Velocity Dance Center and the lavatories left for the bar. There are a bulletin board and a water fountain. It feels just like the lobby of a community center.
But steer left of the little table with the dance brochures, thru a hard and fast of double glass doors and also you’ll discover Dao Tai House. It’s a heat, present day room with masses of blond timber, exposed brick, and a few ornamental ropes. There’s a repurposed sushi bar (this become previously the house of Octo Sushi).
Dao Tai House is a circle of relatives affair, owned and operated by means of Bo-Ying Fu and her dad and mom, Frank Fu and Kelly Zhu.
The own family emigrated from Harbin, in northern China, to the Las Vegas area about two decades ago. Frank Fu, after culinary school and a career spent inside the kitchen, was the executive chef at the Harbin International Hotel, his daughter said, however when they came to America, with confined English, he started over.
He labored as a line prepare dinner at carry outs, in sit-down eating places, at Caesar’s Palace and different casino kitchens. Zhu labored in casinos as well. At one factor they opened a small takeout restaurant, however, needed to sell it after a family member in China had a health scare.
They wanted to begin their own area, but they didn’t virtually know where to begin. So Bo-Ying Fu satisfied them to return to Seattle, in which she’d moved after college to paintings as a software supervisor for Microsoft (where she nonetheless works) and in which she stated Chinese restaurants tended to be concentrated either in the Chinatown International District or on the Eastside.
After visits, they packed the whole thing in a shifting truck remaining winter and drove to Seattle. Six months later, they opened Dao Tai House.
You’d be sensible to start with the appetizer platter. It’s a DIY platter — there’s a list of cold dishes, you pick a pair and get heaping portions — and it’s $8 thoroughly spent.
Cucumbers come peel-on, gently smashed, bathed in garlic and sesame oil, beneath a flurry of cilantro. They’re an ideal cooling evaluation to chili oil hen, that’s, well, aptly named. Chili oil cloaks hunks of bloodless poached bird, torn ragged. It thrums with warmth, without quite overpowering.
A plate of sautéed inexperienced beans ($eleven) comes blistered from the wok, slicked with oil and soy, spiked with chili and garlic. They’re excellent.
Dao Tai House serves northeastern Chinese meals. With longer and chillier winters than the extra populous parts of southern China, the delicacies lean heavier on pickling and have a variety of Russian effects — Harbin is simply a couple of hundred miles from the border.
“A lot of northeast delicacies could very taste excessive,” Bo-Ying Fu said. “Up north, nothing really grows, so you pickle cabbage inside the wintertime and eat that inside the winter.”
Pickled cabbage soup ($15) tastes like a soupy choucroute garnie, the Alsatian braise of sauerkraut and red meat. Glass vermicelli subs for potatoes inside the starch role, however, the cabbage has that identical fermented twang, and slices of fatty beef stomach abound.