As cooling temperatures hint at the arrival of the fall season in Bellevue, Washington, there’s no better time to visit some of the city’s celebrated bars and restaurants for steamy entrées and smoky beverages for a warming lift. Bellevue’s diverse dining scene hosts an array of enticing options, from innovative cocktails enveloped in a cloud of smoke to delectable dishes that will delight the eye as well as the palate with their misty presentations.
Civility & Unrest
A Tale as Old as Time cocktail
Drawing inspiration from the timeless tale of Beauty and the Beast, Civility & Unrest’s innovative A Tale as Old as Time cocktail utilizes smoke to take an already dramatic concoction to a whole new level. This libation blends the tanginess of passion fruit and lime juices with a gently sweet chamomile-citrus simple syrup, along with whiskey, bitters, and a top layer of whipped egg white foam. The addition of squid ink discreetly conceals this otherwise vibrant flavor profile, creating an element of surprise. As a nod to the classic tale, a single dried rose petal is added as the cocktail’s final layer. Once shaken together, the drink is then placed in a smoked-filled cloche, which further adds to the enchanting experience.
Go behind the scenes! Join Visit Bellevue’s dining and nightlife ambassador Nelson Yong on The Vue as he visits Civility and Unrest to see how they craft of some of their unique cocktails.
Whiskey by John Howie
Smoke on the Water cocktail
The skillful mixologists at Whiskey by John Howie have developed a drink that masterfully allows robust flavor and a smoky essence to take center stage in the Smoke on the Water cocktail. By incorporating Laphroaig 10, an exquisitely smoked Islay scotch, with sugar and an array of citrus-infused bitters, they have achieved a harmonious fusion of peaty richness and invigorating zest. Sip and savor the smoky undertones that persist even after the glass is empty.
Photo Courtesy of Whiskey by John Howie
Innovation meets time-honored tradition at Farzi Café, where a popular Indian street food, the Puchka Tartlet, is taken to new heights and is presented in an almost mystical fashion through the use of fog. Seasonal fruits such as kiwi and mango are used to flavor delicate drops of water placed in a bed of fried dough and topped with a tamarind chutney. What further sets this treat apart, however, is a bed of dry-ice that emanates fog from the bottom of the dish, producing a wonder-inducing spectacle.
Photo courtesy of Farzi Cafe
Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi
Step into Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi, where elegance and class immediately envelop you. This aura of sophistication carries through to the presentation of their menu items, such as the exquisitely crafted Skyfall dessert. Pastry Chef Marta Eimer has artfully blended textures and flavors, combining circular goat cheese panna cotta cutouts, blueberry macarons, and fresh berries to create a harmonious masterpiece. At the heart of this dish, you will find a well brimming with lavender-scented dry ice that, when activated by the server, engulfs you in a cloud of fog that adds a layer of elevated sophistication to the sweet and savory combination you are about to indulge in.
Photo courtesy of Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi
Cadillac Fog cocktail
Cantina Monarca is another restaurant that excels in using scented fog to create mesmerizing presentations, showcased perfectly in one of their signature cocktails — the Cadillac Fog. This margarita-esque creation contains one of Cantina Monarca’s specialty tequilas blended with a tangy citrus base and topped with a Grandeza orange liqueur float. For a touch of theatrical flare, the Grandeza liqueur is also poured into a beaker containing dry ice, and as the fog gracefully ascends, it co-mingles with the drink to create a visual spectacle that unites the flavors and delights the senses.
Get a glimpse into the flavors that await. On this episode of The Vue, Nelson takes us through the grandeur of Cantina Monarca that transports you to a Tulum-inspired paradise.
Photo courtesy of Cantina Monarca
Tea Smoked Chicken
Smoke isn’t just used to enhance the flavor of cocktails, but also of food. At Peony Kitchen, the Tea Smoked Chicken undergoes a fascinating flavor and texture transformation through the use of tea-infused smoke. A blend of traditional recipes and innovative techniques, the chicken is infused with tea leaves, grilled, and presented whole and encased within a dome of fragrant smoke. This captivating presentation not only preserves the essence of smokiness but also provides a tantalizing aroma that heightens the anticipation for that first delicious bite. Paired with a ginger-scallion aioli, this dish imparts a burst of flavors that linger long after the meal is over.
The art of crafting delectable dumplings is not an easy task, but the expert chefs at Dough Zone make it appear effortless. From their mouthwatering soup dumplings to their signature pan-fried buns, bursts of flavor are nestled into each warm, juicy bite. However, it’s not just their culinary expertise that makes these dumplings exceptional; it’s the steam that is harnessed and woven throughout the cooking process. As these dumplings are carefully steamed or fried to perfection, the steam infuses each morsel with tenderness and rich flavors that elevate the dining experience to a whole new level.
Photo credit Dough Zone
Prepare to be enchanted by an elegant fusion of steam and tea at FogRose Atelier’s afternoon tea experience. Delicate cups of exquisite tea take the spotlight as their warmth and wisps of steam float up to awaken your senses and provide you with a feeling of serenity. Complemented by tiers of delicious treats, including dainty finger sandwiches and intricately designed pastries, this steamy infusion not only enhances the flavors but provides an invigorating journey for your palate.
Raise those pinky fingers and join Nelson on The Vue for an exquisite afternoon spent sampling savory and sweet treats at FogRose Atelier.
Photo credit FogRose Atelier
Third Culture Coffee
Indulge in Third Culture Coffee’s globally inspired brews, where each steamy sip transports you to another land. Rooted in Indian influences, this cafe is dedicated to sharing the art of coffee from around the world, expertly crafting beverages that pay homage to the traditional origins they come from. A decadent French drinking chocolate, an espresso and condensed milk Spanish rendition, and a range of imported teas are just a few of the piping hot items on the menu that beautifully showcase its diversity. Driven by a mission to champion inclusion through the use of health-conscious and sustainable products, this cafe is working to unite individuals from various backgrounds while also providing you with a jolt of steamy indulgence to brighten your day.
Lao Ma Tou
As you step into Lao Ma Tou, one of Bellevue’s newest and most vibrant hot pot destinations, the air comes alive with the sizzle of meats and a captivating cloud of fragrant steam. The experience unfolds as you dip an array of fresh ingredients — fried pork, rice cakes, shrimp balls, beef tripe, and more — into the bubbling broth at your table. As the ingredients cook and release their enticing fragrances, the rising steam piques your senses, creating an eagerness for the explosion of flavors to come.