Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Grouchy Chef

The Grouchy Chef is both the name of a restaurant in Mukilteo, Washington and a particularly apt description of what (or whom) you will find inside. We tried quite a few excellent restaurants on this trip, but the Grouchy Chef stands out, certainly in terms of experience. The food is pretty good, too, especially considering the moderate prices.

The chef tends to be fairly short with his customers, and he doesn't say a lot. Posted all over the walls of the place are lengthy, handwritten notifications, detailing the economics of serving drinks and paying rent, laying down the rules for ordering, seating, and the care and handling of the delicate temper who is preparing the meals. The restaurant is a one-man show, and that one man hasn't had a day off since he opened in 2002 or so, as the signs indignantly detail. One of the signs forbids photography inside the establishment, then proceeds into a diatribe about how this is disrespectful and invasive and he doesn't take photos in your home, so the photo above was shot surreptitiously, from outside.

The chef is Japanese (perhaps one reason he prefers to speak very little), and one sign reads, "If you make fun of my English, please show me your ability to mangle a foreign language." Having thoroughly mangled a foreign language for several years now, I must heartily agree with this sentiment, at least.

This lunch was also the one intersection of our Vancouver friend with our Seattle friend. The choice of establishment, and its just-as-grouchy-as-advertised proprietor, certainly gave us all something to talk about as we trod as lightly as we could and did our best to enjoy the meal without running afoul of the rules.


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