The stars aligned to justify the longest trip to a dining destination I've ever made! I'd eaten only once before at Xinh's and that was occasioned thanks to having business in the Shelton area about five years ago. This time, it was an opportunity to tour the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island yesterday afternoon, and then to drive another 75 minutes to Shelton. Quite a distance total from Mill Creek including a ferry ride!
Fresh fresh fresh seafood made for tasty entrees and appetizers! Friends and I were there to celebrate one friend's 70th birthday. He chose the cioppino loaded with shellfish and squid, all brewed together with wonderful seasonings, and heaped atop a bit of pasta. Friend loves seafood and proclaimed the dish to be the best cioppino he has ever had. It was the cioppino which I'd had five years ago on my first visit.
This time, I chose prawns in tamarind sauce. Such a beautifully colorful dish with thin but slightly crunchy slices of celery, red and yellow peppers and carrot and perhaps a dozen medium large shrimp. I'd never had a tamarind sauce but have had tamarind in some commercial meat sauces and moles requiring the sweet and sour taste. So good with the shrimp! Other friend had a Manila clam and hoisin sauce dish which he very much enjoyed.
I shared the Thai crab cakes (two large cakes) accompanied by small cups of sweet pepper and hoisin sauces. After first bites around, we placed another order to share. I could be content with an order of two plates of crab cakes along with the dinner salad and call it good, along with the tasty bread which greets diners.
A Pinot Gris proved a good choice for the three orders last night.
Although tummies said "enough!" we ordered desserts. With the barest of crust, the apple pie ala mode turned out to be a small mountain of cinnamon-flavored apples covered by toasted pecans. Oh, to have that again and again.
At the moment, Zinh's is open only Thursday through Saturday rather than Tuesday through Saturday. The place was mobbed last night through two seatings from our arrival at 5:45 pm to 7:30 pm departure, with people lining up for the next seating. Reservations are strongly advised during Xinh's summer vacation of sorts. Judging by several overheard conversations, our party was not the only one to have traveled some distance. I asked our server and she said most last night were from the Shelton-Olympia area, with people at the door and opening of 5 pm. Xinh herself visited all tables, and to us apologized for the slow service. We hadn't noticed "slow service" but she said that last night the kitchen struggled a bit and thus an apparent delay between when orders were taken and delivered.
No complaints from our table!
My friends were truly shocked at the menu prices. The final tab easily could be a third or half less than in Seattle. Entrees would definitely have cost more and with less seafood to enjoy! The Taylor Seafood Company which is apparently an owner in the business is itself well-served by Xinh and its own product contributions!
It was agreed that it would be well worth the long drive from Mill Creek to Shelton via I-5 and US 101 in the future. Distance not a good reason to deprive ourselves until the next trip to Xinh's!