Pam’s Kitchen: Restaurant review

greatlocationFor my friend’s birthday dinner, we dined at one of the Seattle U-District’s Caribbean and Trinidadian cuisine hotspots, Pam’s Kitchen.

The place was completely packed, wedging our party of eight to the restaurant’s entrance when we arrived.

Taking the extra time to book the table in advance got us no closer to getting seated however, because when we asked the host if our table was ready, he said, “Table, what table?” Pam’s Kitchen lost our reservation. We couldn’t bring ourselves to leave the crowded hole-in-the-wall restaurant, enticed by the wafting aroma of spices that seasoned delicacies we couldn’t even imagine.

We waited for a half an hour before the waiters could push together tables and make space for us. We were all grazing elbows to occupy the small space that could be made for us.

I ordered a drink of the hibiscus variety but was brought back a ginger-flavored beverage. Too thirsty to care at this point, I took a sip of whatever the waiter brought me. It was delicious, with the acidity hitting all of the right taste buds. Unwilling to make trouble for the waiter, who only very occasionally came by our table, I stayed content with the ginger concoction.

The arrival of our entrees was delayed and anxiously anticipated. Once they were brought out, however, they were distributed stylishly and in mass quantity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much food on one table. Every dish was accompanied with a side of bread, having a texture and taste very similar to naan. As a group, we ordered a few plates of roti, curry, dahlpuri (vegan roti) and aloo vegan pies to go around. Everyone devoured the food and had enough to share, leaving a very satisfied table at the end of the night.

There was no shortage of spice on the menu. My friend Jordan said, “I’ve never wanted a glass of water more in my entire life.” On the other hand, I quite enjoyed the fireworks of flavor. If you can’t take the heat, get out of Pam’s Kitchen.

In retrospect, service was notoriously slow but worth the effort in terms of flavor. This location is perfect for meeting with a group of friends or family where each person is in need of catching up with one another. Pam’s Kitchen left me with a lingering desire to travel the world and immerse myself in culture and cuisine.