Solid Vietnamese standards at Ballard's Monkey Bridge
The Nguyen family, who operated the Viet Chi restaurant in downtown Seattle for 15 years, has opened a restaurant in Ballard, joining the...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Monkey BridgeVietnamese
1723 N.W. Market St., Seattle
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays.
Etc: No obstacles to access. Customer parking lot or on-street.
The Nguyen family, who operated the Viet Chi restaurant in downtown Seattle for 15 years, has opened a restaurant in Ballard, joining the spate of neighborhood eateries boasting influences from around the world. The Monkey Bridge, named after the bamboo bridges in rural Vietnam, opened in early March, offering both standards and specials in a welcoming setting.
The menu: The mainstays found in most local Vietnamese restaurants are here, with pho (rice noodle soups) in the $5.25-$6.25 range, banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches) around $4-$5.50 and bun (rice noodle bowls) about $7-$9.50. Many of the same dishes are offered for lunch and dinner, with the dinner portions slightly larger and $1 more. An array of entrees with rice, such as curry chicken, is also offered, as are dinner specials, including salmon or sea bass ($16).
What to write home about: The house special rice noodle ($8.50 lunch), with its crispy egg rolls, pork, prawns, fresh veggies and noodles, has a nice mix of textures. The grilled-pork baguette ($4.50) was warm and tasty, with the baguette crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The complimentary shrimp chips that start the meal and chocolate mints that arrive with the check are thoughtful touches.
What to skip: While the portion size of the garlic and lemongrass beef ribs ($8.25) was huge, the ribs were fatty and tough. The rainbow dessert ($3.50) — essentially canned tropical fruit in half-and-half and syrup — was overly sweet.
The setting: The rich aubergine walls and ample use of dark wood and bamboo, combined with the friendly service, create a casually elegant and relaxed vibe.
Summing up: The total for two for lunch, with an appetizer, two beverages, three entrees and a dessert — and plenty of leftovers — came to $38 including tax. True, there are more inventive Vietnamese restaurants in town. But if you're in Ballard and have a hankering for some bun or banh mi, The Monkey Bridge offers some solid renditions.
Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or email@example.com
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