Recently a rep from a television network got in touch. Said rep was wondering where she and her crew could get their kicks eating hot and spicy foods. So Nosh Pit put its collective heads together to come up with this list.
What follows are restaurants and dishes—some bordering masochistic—that just might melt your mouth. Breathing fire because we neglected your favorite spice spot? Do tell!
Spicy Talk Bistro
As was noted in our recent roundup of best Szechuan restaurants, “heads regularly explode” at this Redmond strip mall stalwart. That’s probably because half—nah, make it three-fourths—of the dishes on the menu are flagged by a wee red pepper, a whole bunch of them with a rating of 4 or 5. Even boring old potatoes promise heat. Going balls to the wall? Order the Chong Qing hot chicken. And say a Hail Mary.
To take another cue from that roundup: the Bellevue restaurant options heaping hot pots and stir fries in two kinds of kick: “hot spicy” or “numbing spicy.” Remember the first time you touched an iron as a kid? Same thing here, but with your tongue. Consider: when Jonathan Kauffman, late of Seattle Weekly, ate at Spiced, he wrote that his “entire body seemed to turn Hello Kitty pink.” That’s a hard color for anybody to pull off.
Japonessa Sushi Cocina
True, the downtown crowd-packer mostly deals in raw and cold, but do note the inclusion of the word cocina in the name. Here and there seasoned rice roller Billy Beach mashes Japanese fare with Latin flair, such as with the Tres Diablo signature roll: tuna, salmon, yellow tail, and tobiko, dripping in a lip-incinerating strawberry habanero sauce. Your nose will drip too, there’s just no avoiding it.
Pecos Pit BBQ
Hellooo heartburn. The SoDo shack prepares dreamy beef sandwiches smothered in a holy-hell wallop of a sauce. Even the mild version is a mouth tingler. Also: Weakling taste buds have been known to spontaneously combust upon biting into “The Man” sauce at Dixie’s BBQ out of Bellevue.
Kokiri Korean Restaurant
K cuisine really knows how to do spice right, and this Federal Way joint is no exception. Lather dishes like stir-fried squid in gochujang, a red chili paste, and prepare to see red. If you’re looking for something more centrally situated, find a similar condiment on the tables at Revel in Fremont—kicky, very addictive.