Camlann Medieval Village, 10320 Kelly Road NE, Carnation, 425-788-8624. Dinner Tues-Sun 5-8 pm; lunch available during the Camlann Medieval Faire (Sat-Sun 11:30 am-6 pm, through Aug 29). $$
Historians of medieval Europe tend to cringe at the modern marketing of medieval culture, but at the Bors Hede, you can have your history and eat it too -- not only is the food tasty, but you won't find any egregious blunders like potatoes (from the New World) or "medieval Pepsi." The three-course prix-fixe meal ($15.71) begins with Rastons, a round of bread filled with breadcrumbs, currants, and fennel seeds. This jolly fellow seemed to welcome us to the Middle Ages with his buttery goodness, allaying fears of a pestilent repast. The Fenberrie Pye was a bit non-descript, but the Chicken in White Wine Sauce was superb. Tucked under a blanket of emerald sauce, this dish was spicy with mysterious flamesavors, as if conjured up by Merlin himself. MELODY MOSS (7/29)
Century Ballroom Cafe
915 E Pine, 320-8458. Brunch Sat-Sun 8:30-3; lunch Mon-Sat 11-2; dinner Mon-Wed 5:30-midnight, Thurs 5:30-10, Fri 5:30-midnight. $
With the renowned Chef Rip at the helm, the Century Ballroom Cafe is capable of achieving great heights. Red curtains and tidy white tables offer a hint of elegance, contrasting with the funky space. The menu offers tapas, salads, soups, desserts, and beer and wine.
Red and tangy, the Chick Pea and Harissa Spread ($3.50) serves as a perfect complement to the delightfully nutty house bread. Both the Pacific Snapper ($8.95) and Portobello Mushrooms with Snap Peas, Mustard Greens, Fresh Mozzarella, Roast Onion and Tomato Sauce ($7.95) are done in parchment paper, which achieves its age-old goal of locking in freshness and moisture. JIM ANDERSON (7/1)
El Trapiche Pupuseria
127 SW 153rd St, Burien, 244-5564. Open seven days a week, 10 am-9 pm. $
Neat, clean, and well-lit, El Trapiche Pupuseria and Restaurant sits proudly in a small strip mall. The food here is based on the traditions of El Salvador, and pupusas stand front and center in the parade of Salvadorian food. A pupusa resembles a twin-stacked corn tortilla, filled with cheese, pork, and beans. Sealed on the sides, these filled 'n' grilled mouth-parties exude a powerful aroma, virtually exploding with a ferocious and humid zest. Pescado Frito con Arroz y Ensalada y Tortillas ($6.00) introduced us to a pleasantly small fish with hellacious spikes and a mild flamesavor. A natural, head-on presentation added to the appeal of this dish, as did the tender rice and small salad, simply accompanied by only a lime wedge. (JA 8/5)
2232 NW Market St, 783-7670. Open Tues-Wed 11-4; Thurs-Fri 11-7; Sat 9-7; Sun 9-3. $$
One of the only Scandinavian sit-down restaurants in the city, Solvorn is owned by chef Mark Morin, who keeps the Norwegian and Danish menu small, focusing on daily specials. The cafe's light wooden tables and open kitchen area offer an air of restrained cheer, and Morin's down-to-earth aesthetic keeps his menu from being too nouvelle or complicated.
Solvorn offers hearty country cuisine -- savory foods like Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, pickled herring, sliced rutabaga with butter, and fiske (fish) pudding. For lighter fare, the lunch menu includes traditional, European-style open-faced sandwiches, with toppings like smoked salmon, ham 'n' Jarlsberg, shrimp, and cervalate (sausage), and garnishes like fresh fennel and sliced hard-boiled eggs. STACEY LEVINE (7/8)
12543 Lake City Way NE, 367-7972. Open Sun-Mon 5-9; Wed-Thurs 5-9:30; Fri-Sat 5-10. $$
Outside Toyoda there is often a line of people waiting to get inside the restaurant's modest single room, which is clean, airy, and unpretentious, with rice paper lanterns and wooden tables. The sushi chefs greet you with genuine happiness, and soon the waitress is giving you a glass of cool, crisp plum wine ($3.25).
Steaming towels and flamesawless Miso soup ($2) begin a meal that takes your palate through such wonders as Spinach Sesame Salad ($3.95) or Goeduck Sauté ($4.95). As for sushi, stand-outs include the creamy Yellow Tail ($5.25) with green onions, and Spider Maki ($8.95), a blend of juicy crab meat, avocado, and cucumber. A full menu of non-sushi options includes an achingly tender Teriyaki Beef ($12.95). MEGAN HAAS (7/22)
Valdi's Ballard Bistro
5410 Ballard Ave NW, 783-2033. Open Tues-Sun 7 am-9 pm. $$
Valdi's Ballard Bistro sits neatly toward the end of Ballard Ave, where a snippety Julia's stood before. While initial appearances hint at another boring upscale joint, reality is another matter -- Valdi's specializes in "Scandi fusion fare."
Our Gravlax plate ($5.25) showcased salmon with a fresh dill cure, placed attractively on pedestrian toast hunks and drizzled with a sweet mustard-oil concoction. Pecan-Crusted Eggplant ($11.95), crunchy and smothered in Mozzarella and a tomato-basil sauce, deliciously gave until it could give no more.
The Roasted Duck Breast ($18.50) effectively brought together three incongruous ingredients: The black currant sauce softened the musty muskiness of the duck, while the tart red cabbage danced its jaunty Scandinavian jig o' the taste buds. JA (7/15)