Lucky residents and visitors in Lynnwood get two new restaurant choices:
The Lasa Sandwiches and Pearls opened last week. One of South Snohomish county’s newest eateries, it’s another sign of the growing Filipino food scene in the Puget Sound region. It’s located at 180009 Highway 99, Ste C in Lynnwood – adjacent to the driver’s licensing building and parking lot.
Lasa Sandwiches and Pearls suffered a bit of a setback when power issues caused a temporary closure, but they haven’t missed a beat. The support from the community had been overwhelming.
Our “Just Around the Corner” writer/photographer David Carlos spoke with owner Jhef Romero and his parents Jerry and Aliw — the matriarch of the family). “From day one, it’s been 100%,” Aliw said.
Support from family members means no shortage of staff to work at the restaurant. In addition to Jhef and his parents, other family members complete the business: Jhef’s wife Katrina, sister IJ Romero, and cousins Francene Romero and Russell Arellano.
Aliw stated that their business mantra is “Everything has to be fresh.”
Proof is served up on the plates. You can tell that every bite of their offering, from the breads to the meats, is fresh and made with care. Lasa means tasty, and that’s embodied in every item on their menu.
David Carlos cautions: “Don’t be expecting traditional food like your momma used to make. This place is Filipino fusion.” One example, Carlos said, is the Lumpia sub sandwich: “It’s not the cute eggrolls you had growing up: Instead, you get beef meatballs garnished with papaya relish on a French roll, garnished with chips of fried Lumpia wrap. As you bite, you taste the meatball and spices, followed by a light sweetness of the relish and chili sauce.”
I consulted Wikipedia on the origins of Filipino cuisine: Wow!
“Composed of the cuisines of more than a hundred distinct ethno-linguistic groups found throughout the Philippine archipelago, Filipino food today has been shaped by history and society of many unique and affluent cultures. Influences from China, India, and Arabia are seen throughout Filipino food and culture due to the agricultural trading of the times. Influences from Spain and the United States are seen through past colonization of the country.”
Happy to see the post on Instagram that Lasa reopened, our family headed out late afternoon on Friday. Inside are seven tables and the place was packed…with customers waiting for their food.
Staff was gracious and took our order after cautioning it would be a 40-minute wait. Decisions were difficult: So many great choices displayed on the colorful electric menu. A few items were sold out — understandable on a busy Friday.
The delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen held promise. While we waited, we hopped in the car and headed to nearby North Lynnwood Park (18510 44th Ave. W.), where we enjoyed watching kids in the sprinkler portion, as we strolled with our dogs. Plenty of picnic tables too — I’d recommend this as a great spot to enjoy your food.
When we returned to pick up our menu items, I realized the place closes at 7 p.m. The staff had cleared out most of the orders and the woman who’d taken ours trotted out and handed us the bag, with a big smile.
I love pork and especially pork belly… so I’d ordered up on any menu item that listed it as an ingredient. Just opening the bag that contained our food was nirvana.
Here’s what it contained:
Lechon Kawali Roll: A hoagie bun, loaded with crispy pork belly that was coated with a sweet soy glaze, and topped off with chili, herbs, citrus onions. I had a hard time sharing , but …
Pressed Adobo: Served up in a French roll, soon took care of my cravings for more pork. Shredded pork adobo, roasted garlic, atsara (a relish of shredded green papaya), sili pipino (salad of cucumber, red onion dressed in a vinegary fish sauce), and melty Swiss cheese held it all together.
Fries: this one word on the menu doesn’t do justice to the big hand-cut potatoes that are in the order. Skin is still there, which takes me back to childhood memories of a time when most fries were hand cut from fresh potatoes. Sisig Style Fries takes potatoes to a whole ‘nother level. Topped with sizzled pork, citrus onions, and chilis, ours sported an over-easy egg! I helped myself to the pork strips, and share the rest with my non-meat eater, who absolutely loved this option. (As he isn’t a strict vegetarian, he was fine with a bit of flavor from the pork.)
One look at David’s photo of Adobo marinated fried chicken means another trip to Lasa very soon. Tucked into a brioche bun, crispy chicken sauced with roasted jalapeno, and fresh lettuce: Simple ingredients, and classic taste.
A big reward for those who don’t eat meat is the Halo-Halo. Lasa’s version is not the “traditional” version. David Carlos shared that Jhef’s dad’s desire for this item to be more traditional, was “ vetoed” by his partner/son, who insisted on putting his own spin on the dessert.” This version totally delighted all of us. Shaved ice, milk, pandan rubies and specialty halaya, macapuno, kaong, jackfruit is topped with coconut whip, ube ice cream, and leche flan.
Two sips of the tube cookie, meant to be used as a straw, resulted in its consumption. The tall spoon made better work of finishing this drink. For those expecting really sweet, it’s not overly sugary. The various ingredients did not lose their identity, even as the ice cream began to melt and blend with the fruits.
The Boracay Breeze isrecommended by staff as a good foil to all the pork. The simple combination of fresh-squeezed orange and a citrus hybrid of lemon/lime made up the lemonade. Cubes of green gulaman and pearls added texture and color, and refreshed our palates.
I hope as business increases, they are able to expand hours. They are currently closed Mondays but open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
With only seven tables inside, and no exterior seating, plan on a wait for an open spot during busy times. Or just order take-out as we did, and grab a table at the park.
And there’s more…
Q-Sushi Bar and Kitchen opened recently in Lynnwood at 20101 44th Ave. W., Suite E. With the construction of the light rail, it’s a bit daunting to find, as Google maps gets confused with all the street closures, etc. But – soldier on folks, the rewards are worth the challenge.
Q — the name surely stands for “quality” as the ingredients in all the items we orders were uber-fresh and presented to perfection.
Our server shared that sushi chef Kenny has been working his trade for 19 years. The experience of watching him work — albeit from our table, as the “bar portion” is still closed due to social distancing — is like fine choreography as he executes each order.
That evening an extremely sweet and accommodating hostess doubled as our waitress. Fast and efficient with our order, food arrived to table very quickly.
I just couldn’t decide between seaweed and cucumbers, so asked for both. Traded bites of the two — the super-fresh wakame strands, followed by the tang of rice vinegar that dressed the crisp slices of cucumber and slivers of nori, readied our palates for the coming main attractions — the sushi and rolls.
I love gyoza, but wanted to get steamed, not fried as described on menu. “No problem at all” — our server cheerfully added the request, and I enjoyed every tender bit of dumplings filled with chicken. Gyoza sauce accompanied — refreshing and subtle tastes after the salads.
Tempted by the pictures, I had to try out the tempura. I’d skipped the fried gyoza, so gave myself permission to indulge. Generous-sized veggies and shrimp featured light, thin, crisp batter; the dashi in the dipping sauce highlighted the flavors of the fresh broccoli, mushrooms and other ingredients to perfection. My hubby and I almost had to arm wrestle for the last piece.
On to the main attractions:
Okinawa Sushi Set contained California roll and five pieces of sushi — salmon, albacore, tuna, yellow tail and shrimp. All the seafood was expertly cut, presented and melt-in-the-mouth tender.
We ordered an additional California roll, cause who wants to share? Next we added a spicy tuna roll, which tuned up our taste buds for the last item…
Yakisoba: Chicken chunks infused with chili, soy sauce and garlic, then topped off the tender thin noodles, decorated with thin sliced carrots, peppers, and shredded cabbage. A generous portion easily shared by two.
The best saved for last: Chef used his skill with knives to make “dessert” out of fresh oranges. Too cute and a perfect, refreshing endi to our meal.
— By Kathy Passage
A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.