The owners of Soi, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, were kind enough to invite me and my husband in for a Thai-style brunch. Soi, while only being 16 months old has quickly become a Cap Hill favorite.
When we first arrived, we were warmly greeted by Gabe, 1/2 of the husband and wife team who own Soi. Walking to our table, the first thing I noticed were the rich colors, reclaimed wood, and high vaulted ceilings. Having visited Thailand last year, I could see the casual aesthetic found in many Thai dining establishments infused with a modern vibe, making it a perfect fusion for the trendy neighborhood.
We had a few moments to speak with Gabe about the restaurant and learned that it is family owned and ran by him and his wife, Yuie. Yuie, who devised much of the menu, studied in Northern Thailand to learn the art of cooking Isan food. From looking at the menu, you can tell a lot of thought and care was put into the creation of each dish. I was so impressed by the presentation at Soi, especially after learning that it is independently owned and not a part of one of Seattle’s growing list of restaurant groups. After our quick chat, Gabe gave us some time to browse the menu.
Soi’s menu features many unique and tantalizing dishes from the North-Eastern region of Thailand called Isan. As described on their menu, ‘the food from Isan can be funky, pungent, and more fragrant than you may be used to, but it’s because we do it ‘bo lan’- the original way.’ While you may not find typical Thai dishes like Phad Thai or Green Curry, there are a vast array of flavorful options that will surely satisfy any appetite. And if you aren’t familiar with the offerings, the helpful waitstaff can walk you through the plentiful options.
Since we came for brunch, I was delighted to see a fun mix of traditional Isan dishes as well as a few Western favorites like waffles and French toast. But even the familiar brunch dishes had a Thai twist, which made them sound all the more interesting.
The first dish to arrive was a Thai-style Chicken Congee – Chicken breasts stir-fried in garlic sauce served with fresh ginger, spicy boiled egg, soy sauce and street vendor doughnut, $9.
With our palettes warmed up and our stomachs excited for more, we were ready to try the next dish. The server laid down a beautiful array of meat and vegetables in a cast iron skillet. This is a popular street-breakfast served in Northern Thailand called Kai Grata, which translates to Pan Eggs. Kai Grata – Chinese sausage, two eggs, pork belly, green onions, mushrooms, tomato, and spinach in a skillet, rustic peasant toast, $14.