Baguus Little Asia Restaurant (pronounced “baa-goose”)
23511 56th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace
“This is our first visit here,” I said when entering Baguus Little Asia. I anticipated that by laying that out there, the staff would have sympathy on us if we didn’t know the customs of the place.
The waitress immediately went to work explaining how to order: We each get a plastic beer card so we could partake of the self-serve beer and wine taps lining a long portion of one wall. We would also be given a QR code, from which we order our dishes. She recommended a rice plate, noodle plate and a few small main plates. Everything we order is designed to be shared between us.
Us first-timers went to work: My wife pulled a wine tab for a red blend. I opted for an IPA. We got giddy from the novelty of getting our own drinks. No adults were handing us alcohol; we did it on our own.
Next, we scanned the QR code and ordered:
Dragonfire Noodle: Egg noodle, pickled cucumber, sweet chili sauce, sambal hot sauce, seasonal greens, peanut sauce, and cilantro. That took care of the noodle suggestion.
For the small plates:
-Shrimp and Pork Dumpling: Steamed leek, cabbage, mushroom soy, peanut, and ponzu sauce.
-Spicy Lime Tofu: Chilled spicy soy dressing, garlic, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
-Steamed Chicken Potstickers: Chef’s sweet sauce, hot chili oil, and cilantro.
The presentation of each plate looked as if we were in a 4-star restaurant. Everything was fresh, creative and spicy without being obnoxious. One thing to note: Be ready to handle your food with chopsticks. There’s no silverware present. I’m sure the waitress would have obliged, but we wanted to have an authentic experience and ate with chopsticks, even if it required to spear our slippery potstickers sometimes.
Yuko Abe, part owner of Baguus, came to our table to see how we were doing. Sandy complimented her about the food and the atmosphere. “I’m sorry I keep praising you, but this is one of the best places I’ve eaten,” said Sandy. I said it felt like we were on our anniversary dinner.
Yuko explained that Baguus means “Wonderful.” And yes, this place is some kind of wonderful.
She and her husband, Takao, owned the Dragonfish Asian Café in downtown Seattle, near the Convention Center. But they decided to move to Mountlake Terrace during the pandemic. The food is a fusion of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and Filipino.
Nothing on the menu is fried. Welcome news to me, since many restaurants seem to rely on deep-fried everything.
She said there haven’t been as many customers as they’d hoped. But we think that when word of mouth spreads, this will be a jewel in Mountlake Terrace.
Dessert: We couldn’t decide between the ice cream sundae or the mochi brownie. So we ordered both.
-Ice Cream Sundae: Homemade ube ice cream, Thai tea ice cream, lychee, mandarin orange, coconut jelly, and sweet red bean paste. It reminded me of the Philippines’ dessert, halo-halo. Which Yuko explained is where they got their inspiration from.
-My wife had the Mochi Brownie: Made with rice flour, served with Thai tea ice cream, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The brownie looked like a brownie, it tasted like a brownie, but it didn’t cut with a spoon like a brownie. The rice flour gave it a stretchy consistency. A welcome change from the ordinary.
Finally, Yuko asked us to look at an enormous wall depicting a forest scenery. She said an Edmonds artist created it entirely with moss. She asked us to touch the moss. It wasn’t dry and crispy as I thought. It was smooth and cool. Like it was alive and breathing.
Come our real anniversary, we will return to this place. Probably sooner.
— Story and photos by David Carlos