Noodle Ranch

I ended up at the Noodle Ranch on one of those first warm sunny days we had a while back, and many of their happy-hour offerings (Monday through Friday, 4–6 p.m.) seemed, so appropriately, to harbinger summer. The shrimp spring rolls—$3.50, like the other small plates on offer—were bright-flavored and served refreshingly cool, while the "violet" (Absolut Kurant, Chambord, triple sec, and lime), off their $5 fancy cocktail list, arrived ice-cold and shimmered like rosy stained glass. The Laotian cucumber salad startled me: These cucumbers weren't proverbially cool, but fan-your-mouth spicy. I could almost sense the salad snickering at me as I lunged for my water glass. My plus-one liked his $1.50 miso broth, but was less impressed by the too-thin peanut sauce served with the spring rolls: "It shouldn't drip," he said, lifting his roll out of the sauce bowl. Maybe if he'd been sitting facing the light-drenched window, he'd have been in a sunnier mood? 228 Second Ave., 206-728-0463. BELLTOWN

 
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