With its tranquil room, excellent service, and elegant Pacific Northwest/Vietnamese cuisine, Monsoon has quietly continued to be delicious since 1999. Dinner is not inexpensive, but Monsoon is always a good value; the less-well-financially-endowed should treat themselves to lunch or brunch, with oxtail/wagyu beef pho that’s the best in the city. (As soon as that first glorious, marbled slice of pampered-cow meat contacts your taste buds, the $10 price makes perfect sense—don’t think of it as expensive pho, think of it as inexpensive amazing.) Weekend brunch also features great dim sum (some made in-house, and some at the venerable Jade Garden)—Monsoon cooks it to order, getting a really nice level of crispy-browning on the dumplings, and where else will you find dim sum made with local/organic/etc. ingredients? Note: If you’re on the Eastside, there’s Monsoon East, and you might also try Ba Bar on Capitol Hill, a cheaper noodle (and cocktail!) bar from the same owners.
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