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Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant
Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant  View Other Businesses Near ByNearby Businesses

Telephone: (206) 340-1388   Fax:
Address: 418 8th Avenue South
Seattle, Washington - United States  98104
Operation Hours:
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(4 Votes)

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The Scene
Snug and often crowded, there's not much privacy on offer at this bustling International District restaurant. The décor is a step up from the average pho joint, but is still casual enough that it's not embarrassing to show up in workout clothes. Heavy ceramic bowls add welcome elegance, but bumping elbows with the next table happens frequently during lunch and dinner rushes. Multi-lingual servers are highly efficient, and work to accommodate everyone equally.

The Food
Equally appealing for a quick pho fix or a multi-course meal, this spot offers a wide range of possibilities. Well-crafted fresh rolls come built around fat prawns or firm tofu and a surprisingly crunchy centerpiece. Their lightnes leaves plenty of room for a refreshing green mango salad or beefy bowl of pho; the addition of brisket enriches the broth while adding minimal grease. Expect plenty of fresh herbs with almost every dish; if extra heat is desired, ask for a bowl of chili paste.

Hits: The menu variety is much larger than the majority of inexpensive Vietnamese places in town; this is a great spot to try new dishes or hunt down hard-to-find favorites.

Misses: During peak dining hours, narrow aisles are nearly impossible to navigate for strollers and wheelchairs, and noise can become a major factor as well.

Source: City Search

Seattle Times Review

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 Food & Dining » Restaurants
 Food & Dining » Restaurants » Vietnamese Restaurants
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Visitor Comments for "Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant"

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Add Review     Number of Reviews:  [4]

1) Review added by Bethany Jean Clement (04-28-2008)
Green Leaf Love
Culinary Greatness at Hole-in-the-Wall Prices

Green Leaf is the kind of place you selfishly want to keep a secret.

It's been open for about three months on a quiet block in the International District. The Vietnamese food is delicious and exciting and satisfying and good-looking and cheap as hell—a gift of greatness at hole-in-the-wall prices. The narrowish eight-table space is far nicer than need be; it's nearly lovely, done in soothing taupe with bamboo wainscoting, thoughtfully put together with attractive chairs and sconces that carry out the bamboo theme. The servers are like ideal older sisters: kind and pretty and instructive at the right moments. Even the Muzak, while inherently terrible, is kind of enjoyable in this context as it veers calmly from the longest-ever version of "Tequila" to Simon and Garfunkel to a synth-on-crack rendition of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."

Women Seeking Men A tactic of choosing among the weirder-sounding dishes yields extremely gratifying results. I'd heard about bahn xeo, a savory Vietnamese crepe/omelet-type thing, but never experienced it. At Green Leaf, it's a thrill when it's brought to the table: two giant half-moons, turmeric scented and colored ($6.95). Made with rice flour and coconut milk (no eggs, despite the texture), bahn xeo are crisp outside, moist and chewy inside; these are filled with tons of bean sprouts, shrimp, and pork. You also get an enormous heap of cilantro, basil, mint, and lettuce leaves; you're meant to wrap a piece of bahn xeo with herbs in lettuce, then dip it in fish sauce (as kindly explained by your server). It's messy, fun, and brings together greasy and fresh in an outstanding way.

You'll want to share your bahn xeo; same goes for "Fried Flour Cake," which is basically a heart attack on a plate. Picture the unholy offspring of a crouton and a beignet: glistening pieces of fried-brown dough with green onions and egg clinging to them. You dip them in a sweetish soy sauce, then have a bite of the crinkle-cut, lightly pickled jicama/carrot/green papaya garnish as a health measure. Like a savory funnel cake, it's so bad, it's terrific.

Another odd dish, "Stuff Escargot Meat & Pork Meat" ($5.50), proves to be big oblong meatballs skewered through with lemongrass—funny looking, but beautifully presented on a small field of salad and indubitably tasty. Rice noodle with coconut sauce ($3.50) is blander than you might like, but still different and good, made with springy noodles and shredded pork, served room temperature. As for strange dessert, it doesn't get much more bizarre than "Herb Desse[r]t (seaweed, dried longan, dried plum in light syrup)" ($2.50), a tall glass of iced, excruciatingly sweet brown liquid with waterlogged plums, miscellaneous peelings, and plumped-up whole oat berries (I think) suspended in it, creating a demented bubble-tea effect.

2) Review added by Matthew Amster-Burton (04-28-2008)
A great new find in Chinatown ID

Special to The Seattle Times

Green Leaf, a new Vietnamese restaurant in the Chinatown International District, serves a variety of rice dishes, noodles, soups and salads, all at reasonable prices. Of course, you could say the same about most neighborhood Vietnamese restaurants in town. But Green Leaf is special: It sets a new standard.

Green Leaf's street presence is nothing more than a tall sign with a green leaf on it, but step inside, and you'll feel instantly welcomed.

The small dining room, comfortably bustling, is decorated with tons of bamboo and has those snazzy, black reflective tables. The service is friendly and watchful. Empty platters seem to disappear of their own accord, and everything I ordered arrived quickly.

What really sets Green Leaf apart, however, is the food. The pickled carrots and daikon, which come with nearly every dish, are crunchy and plentiful. The herbs that accompany vermicelli plates and other entrees feature perfectly fresh rau ram (Vietnamese cilantro). The nuoc cham (dipping sauce or dressing of lime juice, fish sauce and sugar) is delicious, if mild. The presentation is attractive but never too formal or embellished.

The full menu is available at lunch or dinner, but by all means warm up with a bowl of fragrant pho ($5.95) while the weather is still chilly.

There's no single factor that makes Green Leaf great. It's an accumulation of minor victories: The stealthy plate clearing, the smiles, the addictive pickles. If you need a regular destination for Vietnamese — and who doesn't? — Green Leaf deserves an audition.

Check please:

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake): I've never had a better one than at Green Leaf. This crispy rice-flour crepe, which looks like an omelette, is filled with pork, shrimp and an overly generous portion of bean sprouts. Tear off a chunk, wrap it in lettuce and dip it in nuoc cham.

Goi Xoai (green mango salad): Shredded unripe mango with pickled vegetables and grilled shrimp come with nuoc cham on the side. The shrimp are served on skewers with heads still on. Eat the heads, shell and all, and enjoy the fattiest and tastiest part of the shrimp.

Mi Vit Tiem (duck soup): This big bowl of broth, with noodles and bone-in pieces of duck, lacked the spicy or sour elements that made the rest of the meal seem so alive. Luckily, this soup came with a jar of pickled jalapeños, which I applied liberally.

Banh Nep Chuoi Nuong (grilled banana cake): Anything with sweetened coconut milk and sticky rice is fine by me; wrapping the rice around a piece of banana and grilling it is just gravy.
Tamarind soda: This is sweetened tamarind pulp mixed with soda water. Totally satisfying and refreshing.

Itemized bill, meal for two
Banh Xeo $6.95
Goi Xoai $5.95
Mi Vit Tiem $6.50
Banh Nep Chuoi Nuong $2.50
Tamarind soda $2.00
Tax $2.22
Total $26.12
3) Review added by Lisa (03-07-2008)
Came here with a couple of other friends. Great little restaurant with good food. The service was very good.
4) Review added by Bao Truong (01-12-2008)
This is a very nice and coze restaurant. The food is very authentic and the service is excellent. It is a little bit tight.

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Average menu price is $5 - $7. Example.

Mi Vit Tiem $6.50

Banh Nep Chuoi Nuong $2.50

Tamarind soda $2.00

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