18005 NE 68th A-150
Redmond WA 98052
A Rising Star on the Eastside Bistro Scene
By: Bryan R
Pomegranate is not your typical hole in the wall restaurant. When I think "hole in the wall", I see a tiny, almost shabby kind of place that I wouldn't dream of stepping into unless I'm with a friend or the place is enthusiastically recommended. Pomegranate is not that kind of hole in the wall. It's more a hole in the sprawling-industrial-parks-of-Redmond. It's not exactly an attractive description... and it won't inspire you to check it out.
But to not visit would be a mistake.
From its exterior, Pomegranate is a little misleading, like a gem still in its rocky rough. Between several single-story, bland white buildings, one doorway has a little splash of color... a little red awning along with a simple, yet out-of-place sign proclaiming "Pomegranate". Parking can be a bit tough to find since the surrounding area, which is mostly office parks, isn't exactly planned to accommodate a highly popular, 80-seat restaurant. And at least when we arrived, towards the tail end of the lunch rush, each on those seats was filled with happy customers.
After stepping through the door, we were quickly greeted by a slightly rushed host who asked us to wait a few moments while a table was cleared. After those few moments elapsed, we found ourselves at a somewhat small corner table overlooking most of the restaurant. Our friendly server came by shortly to take our order. In the mean time, we took a few minutes to take a look around.
The interior design is simple, clean, and generous in its use of pleasant, light woods. Wine racks adorn several walls and help showcase Pomegranate's surprisingly respectable selection of wines (ranging from twenty dollars a bottle to if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it). Seating can be a bit tight but this coziness helps to create a pleasant, busy buzz. And best of all, Pomegranate has a large, cutaway window that lets diners peek into the industrious kitchen that pumps out meal after tasty meal.
Our starter, the Wood-oven Baked Flat Bread ($11.00), arrived just as our stomachs were about to start a small riot. Strongly reminiscent of an Italian-style pizza, the flat bread was a great beginning to the meal. The thin crust had a pleasant, smoky flavor while the sausage had that sharp taste of pecorino. The small slices of apples, however, didn't stand out much.
On the other hand, the Angus Beef Burger ($13.00) stood out wonderfully. Glancing at the menu, the burger didn't seem out of the ordinary, but like several other restaurants in the area, Pomegranate sources their beef from Misty Isle Farms on Vashon Island- a farm well known for their tasty grass-fed beef. The result is a simple but deliciously juicy burger that's so tender and soft it almost crumbles. And with its sizable portions, you don't have to ask where's the bee...-- sorry, this joke's just too cheesy to finish. The sweet potato fries on the side, with their firm texture and slightly sweet taste, go well with the house made catsup. If you're more of a morning person, a good breakfast choice is the Smoked Salmon Benedict ($14.00) featuring savory salmon along with some appetizing poached eggs covered in hollandaise sauce. The cheddar bread on the side is more like a biscuit than regular bread, but it's nonetheless tasty.
Slightly more on the adventuresome side, the Soy Molasses Grilled Quail ($18.00) proved to be another savory, albeit expensive, option. The plate arrived with two small whole quails perched on a wedge of stone ground "cheesy grits". Moist and tender, the spice rubbed quail tastes slightly sweeter than roasted chicken. The flavor, however, is dominated by the intensely sweet molasses-based sauce. A bit surprisingly, the most delectable part of the meal was the cheesy grits- coarsely ground bits of cornmeal and cheese pressed together into a small wedge, a bit like polenta. It's a bit hard to describe, but if you let your taste buds do the talking, your mouth will convince you it's a good thing. A small serving of mixed greens and lemon zucchini helps round out the meal. It's a good dish, but a bit on the pricey side (along with several other dishes) so it's only worth trying if you feel like splashing out a bit.
We had a truly delicious meal! With its charm, tasty dishes and its off-the-radar quality, Pomegranate Bistro is an easy recommendation and well deserves our Editors Choice and hole-in-the-wall award.
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