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Originally published Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 7:01 PM

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Dining Deals

Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine: simple abundance in Ballard

Think simple abundance when you dine at Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine in Ballard. Standout dishes: Nun's Noodles and the Jhanjay sampler platter — especially the fried lotus root, corn patties and wontons stuffed with cream cheese.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine

Vegetarian

5313B Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle

206-588-1469, jhanjay.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, noon-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Etc: Visa and MasterCard accepted; no obstacles to access; street parking; beer and wine.

Prices: $-$$

There's a serene, minimalist outlook at Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine in Ballard that's a welcome departure from the noisy, busy world outside its doors.

Upon being seated in the expansive dining room, you'll see a nine-panel wall that is like a periodic table of elements for the cuisine you're about to consume: Each panel sports an icon, such as chili pepper, peas, broccoli and carrots. Think simple abundance.

The Ballard restaurant, which opened in December 2009, is the newest location for Jhanjay, which started first three years ago in Wallingford. According to the owners, "jhan-jay" means "vegetarian dishes" in Thai.

Most of the dishes at Jhanjay can be made vegan. If you ask for ketchup, be prepared to be met with disbelief.

The menu: Aside from standard Thai dishes, such as phad Thai and red curry, the waiters will encourage you to try the house specials. These include mango tofu ($11.95), abundant asparagus ($12.95) and mountains of mushrooms ($13.95). If you've never had lotus root before, try the Asian Fries ($7.50). The $8.25 lunch special is tofu stir fried with various vegetables and sauces, served with rice and soup of the day.

What to write home about: We enjoyed Nun's Noodles ($8.95) — udon noodles stir-fried with steamed tofu, enoki mushrooms and mixed vegetables in a light chili sauce. The tofu was soft as poached eggs but firm enough to hold its shape. We were wowed by the Jhanjay sampler platter ($10.95) — especially the fried lotus root, corn patties and wontons stuffed with cream cheese.

The setting: You won't feel cramped in the elegant dining room — framed by exposed brick, polished wood and accent walls — as you look up at lights hanging from the high ceilings and listen to the easy jazz soundtrack. You can watch as your meal is prepared in the open kitchen area. Service is friendly.

Summing up: We ordered the Jhanjay sampler platter, Nun's Noodles, eggplant in black bean sauce ($10.95), brown rice ($2) and coconut ice cream ($3.75) for dessert. With tax and tip, our total bill was $47.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or sbhatt@seattletimes.com

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