Spiced isn't shy about turning up the Szechuan heat
Spiced in Bellevue specializes in the numbing heat Szechuan restaurants all over America pretend to serve, and while a meal here might make you sweat, the food is deeply flavorful and worth the spicy price.
Seattle Times staff reporter
1299 156th Ave. N.E.,
Suite No. 135, Bellevue
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.
Etc: Beer served, $8 corking fee for wine, parking in lot, wheelchair accessible, MC and Visa.
There is the kind of spicy that makes your mouth tingle pleasantly; there is the kind of five-alarm spicy that makes sweat roll down your temples; and then there is the spicy at Spiced in Bellevue's Crossroads neighborhood.
Spiced specializes in the numbing heat Szechuan restaurants all over America pretend to serve. Sadly for Kung Pao chicken, most of it is a poor imitation of the real thing in China's Szechuan province.
But at Spiced, if there are stars indicating "numbing spicy," take it to heart. A meal at Spiced might make you sweat, but the food is also deeply flavorful and worth the spicy price.
The menu: Spiced separates Szechuan dishes by sauce, such as Boiled in Chili Bean Paste Sauce and Chopped Fresh Chili Pepper. Feeling the heat yet? The restaurant also has an array of spiced cold dishes (3 for $5.99) absolutely worth exploring. The spice-averse will find dishes, too.
What to write home about: Why don't other restaurants serve scallion pancakes rolled around beef and cilantro with plum sauce ($8.99)? The crispy pancake and beef roll is simple — and genius. The cold dishes include delicious, chewy chicken gizzards. But the spicy star was Dry Pot Lamb ($12.99). It came with maximum heat — three chili peppers and three numbing stars. There are no Szechuan peppercorns in sight amid piles of chili peppers, but our tongues told us differently and we still reached for more delicious lamb piled on soy bean sprouts.
What to skip: If you have a weakness for sizzling crispy rice (ahem), our squid version ($11.99) was oddly underseasoned. I think they forgot the salt. Really. The dish still satisfied, with crackling rice in a light sauce with shiitake mushrooms, lilybuds, bok choy and squid curlicues.
The setting: The restaurant is comfortable but nondescript, with round tables for big parties and mostly prompt service.
Summing up: At $50 for two appetizers and two entrees, far more than two can eat, Spiced is irresistible and perfect for heat lovers looking to take it up a numbing notch.
Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.