Chawanmushi at Flo

We love this comforting custard.

Like the first time I wrap myself in a trusty woolen sweater, there are culinary rites of passage that I find myself revisiting as autumn softens into the cool, dark months of winter.

Chawanmushi (“tea cup steam” in Japanese), a fragrant, soft egg custard steamed in a pretty ceramic cup, is a new favorite ritual. And despite its nondescript space in the basement of a condominium complex in Bellevue, Flo is a very good place to experience the magic.

Tender shrimp and slivers of shiitake mushroom scent the ginkgo-nut custard; when the cup’s lid is removed, the hot steam escapes, and I find myself deeply breathing in its subtle perfume. The custard is whisper light, soft and supple, but hot and utterly warming. Like new, natty mittens, it’s an embrace of the season. Allison Austin Scheff

Bellevue, 1188 106th Ave. NE; 425.453.4005;