12332 Lake City Way NE
Seattle WA 98125
Just Like Your 'Persian' Grandma's Homemade Meals
By: Bryan R
It was one of those days: It was lunchtime and we were hungry, and we meant to hit up this Chinese restaurant only to find it was closed for the day. Our backup option, a promising Italian restaurant, also ended up being a strike out. At this point, it was getting pretty late and found ourselves wandering the streets of downtown Lake City. We stopped to consider our lunch options and realized we were on the doorstep of this tiny sliver of a Persian eatery wedged between two larger stores. With a slight air of desperation, we decided to roll the dice.
When we stepped into Pacific Market, I'm sure a little part of all of us wanted to step right back out. The interior is a little rough clean, but not exactly easy on the eyes. A small grocery store occupies the rear of the store and encroaches right up to the three or four tables set up near the narrow west facing windows that allows plenty of sunlight to spill in. Plastic table clothes and Disneyland themed mugs can be found on each table accompanied by some slightly uncomfortable, lightly padded chairs. It wasn't the best first impression, but the sweet, grandmotherly woman tending the storefront was welcoming and rather adorable.
Although the menu selection is on the small side, there should be something for everyone. Placing our orders was a little challenging due to a language barrier, but patience and a little good humor saw us all through. A few minutes later, a small, complimentary tray of pita bread and pickled vegetables made its way to our table. The pita bread was a bit dry and the pickled veggies were an acquired taste. Never before had I tasted something so strongly pickled. If, like me, you enjoy the taste of pickled treats, then you'll be pleasantly overwhelmed by the intense flavors. Otherwise, it's probably best to avoid this dish aside from a couple of curiosity bites.
Our meal emerged from the kitchen after about ten minutes of munching on the appetizer. The dishes were simple but tasty, and strongly reminiscent of home cooking. Grant had settled on the Zereshk Polo, stewed chicken with basmati rice laced with tart burberries on the side. The chicken was tender and fell right off the bone after having been soaked in a savory, rich marinade for quite some time. Steve also enjoyed his meal but was a little disappointed when he found the Lubia Polo to be a little thin on the beef. It did, however, come with a very generous portion of saffron spiced rice and green beans. The last dish sampled was the chicken kebab served with rice. Much like the Zerehk Polo, the saffron spiced chicken was pleasantly tender and came with another huge pile of rice. Though the chicken was somewhat mild in flavor, the uniqueness of saffron flavoring and the general heartiness of the plate were refreshing.
We were about to call it a wrap when we were asked if we wanted to try the house-made saffron ice cream. It seemed such a novel idea that we had to give it a shot (even though it was a little over five bucks a serving). The generous scoop of ice cream came with a healthy handful of pistachio shavings and tasted of saffron (predictably) but also of rose-water. If you end up making your way to Pacific Market, it's worth a try.
We came away with plenty of leftovers and a food coma that couldn't be shaken for a couple of hours. The prices are decent with each plate costing around $8.00 and will likely leave you with enough food for another meal.
The combination of good food plus novelty adds to the allure of Pacific Market but its complete lack of ambiance really hurts its final score. Though definitely not a date place, the positive aspects of this locale merited our editors' Hole in the Wall award.
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