Than Brothers (Bellevue)

January 21st, 2009

Pho-Than-Brothers-exterior

OGF: 4/5
Not exactly a hole in the wall – these jokers have 11 locations.  If you like pho (fuh fuh fuh!) you’ve probably been to one of them.  If not, go!  They treat you to some puff pastries as an appetizer.  This offends Andy because they are dessert.  But you can just stare them down until you’ve polished off a hot steamy bowl of beefy goodness.

Taste: 5/5 – Pretty standard fare Pho, but the broth is just a bit better than the rest.  Addictively so!

Price: 5/5 – For the amount of food you get, the prices are great.  Pho is under $5.

Quantity: Just Right - I’ve never ordered more than a small and it’s plenty for my normalish appetite.

Wait Time: 10 minutes. Beware, if you can’t find a seat right away, you might be better off coming on another day.  It can take a while for them to turn a table.  Come early or come often.

Rotation: 1/5 – They specialize in Pho without much variety.  Unless you are a pho-fanatic I can’t see going here several times a week.

% MSFT employees: 50%

Parking: Easy – usually not a problem aside from being on a busy street and some killer speedbumps.

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Chili sauce in your Pho.

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Than Brothers

1299 156th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98007
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&where1=1299%20156th%20Ave%20NE%2C%20Bellevue%2C%20WA%2098007-4599&encType=1

Pizza & Sandwich House

January 20th, 2009

Pizza&Sandwich Exterior

OGF: 2.5/5
A small family run shop selling pizza and sandwiches along side Chinese food.  Family pictures line the walls.  About half full, immediate service.

Taste: 2/5 – we ordered a pizza, a sandwich and a Chinese noodle dish.  All decidedly average, didn’t find a “crave-it” dish.

Price: 5/5 – Easy to find a $4-8 entree including a full “grinder” sandwich for $4 as a lunch special.

Quantity: Just right

Wait Time: Less than 10 minutes

Rotation: 0.25 – While it would be easy to go several times a week by rotating between sandwhich, pizza and chinese, there’s nothing here to draw you back.

% MSFT employees: 25% or less

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: No

Don’t miss: The warm cookies provided with the bill

Pizza & Sandwich House
2245 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x15733845&encType=1

Ooba’s Mexican Grill

January 20th, 2009

Ooba's-Exterior

OGF: 5/5
Cafe style Mexican behind the Redmond Way QFC.  Neither taking pains to be authentic, nor the typical Americanized mess of refried beans and cheese, Ooba’s is some of the best Mexican food in the Puget Sound.  The highlight of the menu is their deliciously marinated grilled meats, so we recommend passing on the burritos for an option that highlights the eponymous grill like a quesadilla or one of the excellent daily specials.

Taste: 5/5 – You might find Mexican to match if you sniff out an excellent taco truck or take the trek out to Ballard, but you won’t find a more delicious piece of grilled meat.

Price: 3/5 – Prices are reasonable, but expect to pay about $10 for a main which while high for a cafe, is well worth it for the food.

Quantity: Just right

Wait Time: 15 minutes, but you may want to come a little early to avoid long lines

Rotation: 2

% MSFT employees: About half

Parking: Reasonable – street parking only, but usually not a problem

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Chuletas (rotating special) or a dinner-style quesadilla (adds sour cream and guacamole)

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Ooba’s Mexican Grill

15802 NE 83rd St, Redmond, WA 98052
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&sp=Point.rych4b4tp6ws_Ooba’s%20Mex%20Grill_15802%20NE%2083rd%20St%2C%20Redmond%2C%20WA%2098052___&encType=1

Inaugural Post!

January 19th, 2009

While the nation celebrates the inauguration of Barack Obama, our first African American president, we too have a (much less momentous) beginning to celebrate.

Welcome to MicroGrub.com, a new blog on lunch spots in the Redmond area.  As folks who’ve “enjoyed” Eurest for a few years, we’ve decided it’s time to the explore non-cafeteria options the East Side has to offer.  Now that’s “Change We Can Believe In!”  While we’ve hit up many of the obvious choices – Mayuri’s, Bento Box, Malay Satay Hut and Red Robin, we also know there are many hole in the wall places spread across the parking lots and strip malls of the corporate suburban wasteland.  In the past, we’ve looked over such options for the sure bets.  But no longer!  In the process, we’ll post our experiences here, distilling the wheat from the chaff, allowing you to follow in our path, choosing only the diamonds in the rough.  Hopefully we can execute more fluently than a chief justice administering the presidential oath.

To maintain some consistency we’ve established the following rating system:

O.G.F. (out of 5): The overall goodness factor.  Our overall recommendation for a restaurant.
Taste (out of 5): the yumminess quotient
Price (out of 5): The value per dollar.  1 for expensive, crappy food; 5 for delicious and cheap (3 could mean cheap but bad or expensive but decent – we’ll provide explanation if necessary)
Quantity: Too little, Doggie bag or Just right
Wait time: the number of minutes from walking in the door until food is on your plate.
Rotation: the number of days a week we could imagine eating there.  It should be rare to see more than a 1 in this slot.  The more variety in the menu, and the better the food, the higher this will go with 5 meaning that we think eating at the restaurant Monday through Friday for every lunch would be a viable option (we don’t expect to see this, but who knows?).
% MSFT employees: We’ll lump this into 25% or less, half, 75% or more and “close to 100%” to indicate our sense of what percent of the other diners are from Microsoft.
Parking: Easy, Reasonable, Difficult or Non-Existant.  Unless a place is right by your office, you’re probably not going to want to walk.
Prime Card: does the restuarant offer a discount?  If so, how much?
Don’t Miss: A menu item or aspect of the lunch that stands out.

We’ll also try to include links to the restaraunt’s site and directions from Live Maps.  If you have any other suggestions, would like to learn more, or have experiences of a place to share, let us know in the comments!

- The MicroGrubbers