The first to open was Mezcaleria Oaxaca atop Queen Anne Hill, where tastings of mezcal (like tequila, but smoky) accompany the fantastic Mexican food we’ve come to expect from the people behind Ballard’s La Carta de Oaxaca. An entirely new menu accompanies the mezcal, including a terrific goat meat platter ($13), freshly pressed tortillas ($1), the freshest salsas, even a mixed seafood soup ($13) so good we have to order it every time we go.
Across town in the International District is the sliver of a space where Green Leaf makes its home. For about eight years, the bun (vermicelli noodles) with grilled pork or shrimp ($9.95–$10.95) or crisp egg rolls ($5.95), or any combination thereof, each with crisp veggies and fried shallots, has kept us stopping by for a regular fix. Now, thankfully, we’ve got a new Green Leaf to adore. We’ve delved deep into the menu at the new Belltown restaurant (also called Green Leaf, and with a menu that’s nearly identical to the original), which lists wild betel leaves and pork blood cubes (in several soups, and it’s not as spooky as it sounds) among its more esoteric ingredients. For the less daring, there is roasted duck, crab and shrimp served in soups, crunchy salads bright with lime and heady with fish sauce, and noodles galore. The lunch and dinner options in Belltown just got a whole lot more delicious.