Posts Tagged ‘Rotation1’

ZenYai Noodle House

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

ZenYai-exterior

OGF: 4/5
One of the more interesting of the abundant Asian pseudo-ethnic restaurants surrounding the Microsoft campus, ZenYai serves primarily Thai dishes of widely varying quality.  Sometimes excitingly named, it’s worth going in with a recommendation or spying on your neighbors dishes before making a decision as while the “Hot Mamma Noodles” (usually on special) are delicious, dishes like “Noodle Explosion” are decidedley “meh”.  Despite the name, there are also a large variety of non-noodle dishes.

Taste: 4/5 – While we’ve had our share of bland dishes here (avoid the Ramen and the  aforementioned Noodle Explosion), they have a number of delicious and highly satisfying options such as the “Angry Curry Noodles”, “Hot Mamma Noodles” and “Crispy Garlic Chicken”.  It’s also hard to go wrong with Thai staples such as Pad Thai and Panang Curry.

Price: 3/5 – What you’d expect, roughly $8-10 a meal.

Quantity: Doggie bag – always more than you can eat.

Wait Time: 15 minutes on a normal day, but this place can get busy!

Rotation: 1

% MSFT employees: close to 100

Parking: Difficult – in the frustrating Mayuri/Trader Joe’s/Can-Am complex

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: The Hot Mamma Noodles when they’re on the special’s bored at the front if you like spicy food, or, if you’re feeling unadventurous, the Crispy Garlic Chicken is a decidedly unhealthy yet scrumptious option.  Also, unlike the entrees, their appetizers are universally acceptable.

ZenYai Noodle House

15400 NE 20th St, Bellevue, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x15738201&encType=1

Black Bear Diner

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Black-Bear-Diner-exterior

OGF: 3/5
Upon entering Black Bear Diner, you may feel as though you’ve been transported out of the software developer cultural epicenter that is Redmond and straight into small town American West.  A chain started in Mt Shasta, California, the Redmond location certainly exudes the National Park family restaurant vibe.  Surprisingly given its proximity, it doesn’t seem to be frequented by many Microsoft employees, but rather a selection of the plaid button down shirt types.

Taste: 3/5 – Typical American restaurant food with burgers, sandwiches, salads and breakfast served all day.  Many of the entrees have a California twist, often by incorporating avocado in some way.  Most of us opted for the breakfast options and were not disappointed.

Price: 4/5 – Undiscounted prices are what you’d expect, however recently they’ve started offering a generous 20% prime card discount.

Quantity: Doggie bag

Wait Time: 20 minutes

Rotation: 1

% MSFT employees: 25% or less

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: 20% off

Don’t Miss: The “hobo” omelet with it’s huge accompanying biscuit

Black Bear Diner

14804 NE 24th St, Redmond, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x151462429&encType=1

KoBe – Sushi Sake Robata

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

KoBe-exterior

OGF: 4/5
A Classy Japanese restaurant with more elbow room and variety than Bento Box, KoBe is located in the plaza just south of Fred Meyer’s.  Recently opened, KoBe was surprisingly empty for a restaurant of its quality, low price and speed.

Taste: 4/5 – It’s hard to find a bad dish.  Whether you’re craving soba noodles, sushi, teriyaki or katsu, you’ll be sure to find something you like .

Price: 4/5 – Surprisingly low prices despite giving off a higher end vibe; you can find many lunch dishes for $9.

Quantity: Just right

Wait Time: 15 minutes

Rotation: 1

% MSFT employees: About half

Parking: Reasonable

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: The donburi was quite good, but really, you can’t go wrong with any of their dishes.

KoBe

14603 NE 20th St, Bellevue, WA 98007-3750
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&where1=14603%20NE%2020th%20St%2C%20Bellevue%2C%20WA%2098007-3750&encType=1

Taj Palace

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Taj-Palace-exterior

OGF: 4/5
With more and roomier seating, a wider selection of vegetarian dishes (along with all the meat dishes you’d expect) and far easier parking, we can heartily recommend Taj Palace over the slightly closer Mayuri to satisfy your Indian lunch buffet needs.  The day we visited, there were all the standards (Tandoori and butter chicken, palak paneer etc) along with an additional set of 4-6 rotating dishes.  The fruit, vegetable and desert selections are also worth a stop.

Taste: 4/5 – The dishes seemed slightly better prepared and of higher quality than Mayuri.  Nothing amazing, but solid choices all around.

Price: 3/5 – Typical price for a buffet lunch in Bellevue of about $10.

Quantity: Just right – It’s an all you can eat buffet, so quantity is not an issue

Wait Time: 3 minutes – there was a short line for the buffet when we arrived, but nothing compared to Mayuri on a typical weekday.

Rotation: 1

% MSFT employees: 75% or more

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Those balls floating in goo at the desert tray are actually honey and cardamom soaked donut holes.  Delicious!

Taj Palace

2331 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x15733839&encType=1

Celtic Bayou

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Celtic-Bayou-exterior

OGF: 3/5
Probably a better choice for dinner; if MicroGrub weren’t specifically rating spots for lunch, we would have gone for a higher OGF.  As it is, Celtic Bayou probably won’t make it into most people’s regular lunch rotation, despite its surprisingly complimentary mix of Irish, Cajun and burgers with a Pub atmosphere.  Which is a shame since it’s one of Redmond’s more unique restaurants.  If you’re a trivia fan, be sure to stop by Monday nights for some friendly competition.

Taste: 4/5 – It’s hard to find a dish here that’s a disappointment, with the possible exception of vegetarians, it should be easy for everyone in your group to find something they like whether it be a Cajun gumbo, an Irish stew or a surprisingly good burger.

Price: 3/5 – Nothing shocking, dishes usually clock in at just over $10.

Quantity: Just right – maybe even a little too much, but you most likely won’t be bringing home leftovers

Wait Time: 25 minutes – this really is the main issue preventing us from giving it a higher recommendation, CB is definitely more of a dinner and drinks place making it hard to be in and out for an hour lunch.

Rotation: 1 – there’s a decent variety, but more in terms of the spices used than the meat + starchy carbs theme

% MSFT employees: 75% or more

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Adding some novelty hot sauce to your Jambalaya.

Celtic Bayou

7281 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&sp=Point.rybdt74tp7jz_Celtic%20Bayou_7281%20W%20Lake%20Sammamish%20Pkwy%20NE%2C%20Redmond%2C%20WA___&encType=1

Thai Chef

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Thai-Chef-Exterior

OGF: 4/5
Good Thai food at a fair price.

It’s easy to overlook the Thai Chef restaurant as it’s nestled in the Safeway / Office Depot strip mall at 140th Ave and Bel-Red Rd.  But it’s still a pretty popular spot with the soft, inside is a sea of badges and glasses.

Taste: 3/5 – My cashew chicken was a bit too sweet, but cooked perfectly and very pleasing to the eye.  Rated a 3 because it’s pretty generic Thai food, which isn’t a bad thing!  Were it not for luminary Thai spots like Chantanee I could easily rate this place higher.

Price: 5/5 – Great lunch menu prices ($7 for an entree or $8.50 with salad/pad thai).

Quantity: Just right.  But if you have a hearty appetite you should probably get the combination.

Wait Time: 5.  This is a pretty big place and they serve the food up fast.  I could only imagine getting the food faster by calling ahead or installing some sort of ESP device.

Rotation: 1.  Could easily be your regular Thai lunch.

% MSFT employees: 75%

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Super heavy chairs!

Thai Chef

1645 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98005-2320
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&where1=1645%20140th%20Ave%20NE%2C%20Bellevue%2C%20WA%2098005-2320&encType=1

Than Brothers (Bellevue)

Wednesday, 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.

View Phở Than Brothers
View Full Album

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