Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Triple Door

216 Union St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 838-4333

The Triple Door is great in theory... I love the idea of a live show coupled with a lingering evening of food and drinks. But in practice, it is lame lame lame for a vegetarian.

The Triple Door has a menu that is smaller than, but related to the Wild Ginger upstairs. The entrees are mostly in the mid teens to 20's range in dollars, which feels spendy.

We were out for the full night on the town experience, and it went like this:

Appetizer: Much discussion with the friendly and attentive waiter over what was vegetarian. Answer: One thing. Salad rolls with pineapple sauce. Not in the mood for this, we tried for a salad appetizer. All of the salads had meat. We settled on a version of the Green Papaya salad specially made with pineapple sauce instead of the usual (which includes fishsauce). It was decent... better than I expected given my distaste for sweet sauces, and was presented in an ample pile that made the price feel almost justified.

Main course: The waiter checked with the kitchen to see what could be made "vegan". The "vegan" vs. "vegetarian" label was tricky here, as they viewed both shrimp and fish sauce as vegetarian-friendly. There weren't many choices on the menu that were even close to vegetarian, and of those that were listed as vegetarian (squash curry, some tofu dish with peanut sauce, "vegetarian" phad thai), none could be made without some sort of sea-animal-flavouring. He said that they could, however, make the Seven Spice beef with tofu instead of beef, and that became my easy choice.

It arrived and was a grand disappointment. I had the choice between fried and not-fried tofu, and chose not-fried. What arrived was a large plate with a scoop of slightly off tasting brown rice, a bed of beansprouts and barely-cooked onion pieces, and a big pile of my absolute least favorite type of tofu... it was the variety that is extremely dense with an entirely homogeneous and rubbery texture. The meager quantity of sauce glossed off the unmarinated cubes, leaving my palate the rather daunting job of choking them down without much to distract. The beansprouts and brown rice weren't able to take up the slack either.

We also ordered a side of Sechuan greenbeans, which were delicious and are, I believe, the redeeming factor of this restaurant. They are a little bit spicy and garlicky, not too salty. I could have eaten them all night. (And they are truly vegetarian.)

Ordered dessert too, somewhat against my will given the guilt I was feeling over the growing bill for an unsatisfying meal, but was hungry enough after barely eating my dinner that I heeded the urge to fill my belly. Ordered a rolled up carrot cake, which, apart from the too-small portion size, was quite good, if sort of spiced for the masses. It was really moist and had a thick ribbon of orange flavored cream cheese frosting swirled inside. The top was sprinkled with some sort of roasted nuts and really delicious candied pineapple. The cake sat on a little swirl of slightly bitter orange caramel sauce.

Didn't have any cocktails tonight... everything else felt too poor in value to warrant it to my frugal pocketbook. But people were slurping them down all around us, and they looked delicious. I believe most were under $10.

I think the thing to do for a vegetarian headed out for an evening at the Triple Door is to eat elsewhere. Then sit back and have a fancy drink while you watch your show.


Unknown said...

the triple door experience as a vegetarian (i'm vegan) depends greatly on your server and their knowledge of vegetarianism. i'm guessing you had the same server i had once, who also pushed the beef dish with tofu sub and seemed unaware of other options. the other times i've eaten there, i had vegetarian waiters who let me know that in addition to their menu, i can order from the wild ginger's menu. what i always order (it's not on the menu) is the green beans and a side of tofu. delicious! they'll do up the tofu however you want and have only charged me $3 for a huge plate! also, the drinks are outstanding. :)

Tofu Hunter said...

Good advice about ordering from upstairs! I didn't realize you could do that. Thanks for the comment!