Dear Critic,

It’s a tradition in my family to go out for Chinese on Christmas Day, only we’re new in town and have no clue where to go. Any commendable Chinese places open that day?

Signed,

Never Made Gravy, Never Will

Dear NMGNW,

You are in good company…Seattle’s full of gravy-avoiders and the restaurants that welcome them.

Bellevue boasts one of the great Szechuan joints in the region: Szechuan Chef. Only it’s not really a joint—it’s a place of some atmospheric achievement, for its bright orange walls and preponderance of greenery. But order a whole chile-kissed Dungeness crab—what the heck, it’s Christmas—or a big hot pot for the table, and the atmosphere will fade away anyhow. You’ll be swooning.

Maybe you’d rather drink in Seattle’s International District. If so, make for the fluorescent-bright Hing Loon for seafood or noodles. (Or any one of a thousand exotics scrawled in Sharpie on notes on the wall.) Better yet if you like your Christmas dinner roundabout 2 in the morning. That’s when Hing Loon’s just getting good.

Finally, if you’ve a yen for dim sum, Christmas would be a good time to give downtown’s O’Asian Kitchen another try. I know, I know…you’ve tried it, you found it too pretty (it is, in shades of lacquered black) and perhaps not quite as trusty as its Bellevue cousin, Top Gun Seafood. Go back, because when O’Asian’s on, it’s on. And what could be happier than dim sum on Christmas? Open 11am to 3pm only.

And to the questioner who wants Chinese on Christmas Eve? See above; they’re all open then too.

Gung Ho (ho ho) Fat Choy, people.

Signed,
The Critic