Bottomfeeder: Postal Kitchen

Cheeky Café is where the ID meets the CD.

Only jingoistic freedom fryers and 6-year-olds order hamburgers at Asian restaurants. And really, it's neither group's fault; they've no doubt been outvoted and shoved through the door by their dining companions or parents. Cheeky Café, which opened in June where the Central District meets the ID, offers a unique solution to this dilemma. For one thing, while undeniably Asian-influenced, it's not really an Asian restaurant. Doesn't sound like one or look like one, and its menu gives but a thickly crusted whiff of one. More important, its hamburger isn't half-assed by some understandably insulted Szechuan master working the grill. Rather, it's the sort of John & Yoko/Russell & Kimora/CD-ID mutt that might get that 6-year-old begging mom for pot stickers before he learns to write in cursive. It's no wonder, then, that Cheeky Café's executive chef, Kiyomi Rankin, is half-Japanese and half-Scottish. Her menu, which house manager John Pickens-Green loosely defines as "comfort food from both sides of the Pacific," celebrates such exotic pairings, as if a tornado might swoop up the dining room if fusion cooking weren't pushed past comically broad constraints. The Cheeky Burger is a burger insofar as it contains a patty, tomato, lettuce, and onions on a toasted bun. But blending green onions and ginger into the beef and topping it with katsu sauce and Japanese mayo is hardly something you'll see attempted beneath the golden arches. Pickens-Green hails from Chicago, while Cheeky's owners, sisters May and Wendy Wong, are Chinese. The cafe puts kimchi and Four Sisters chili sauce in its macaroni and cheese and meatloaf in its loco moco; deep-fries its peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches; serves oxtail soup every Wednesday; slathers cranberry hoisin sauce on its chicken wings; serves stuffed French toast and sugared fry bread for brunch; and features such specials as pernil (Puerto Rican pork shoulder) and sweet-potato chipotle soup. "We have a very multicultural staff," explains Pickens-Green. "Really, the only limit to what we won't cook is based on what we keep in the house." That house is the size of Jay-Z's sprawling hideaway in Turks & Caicos, one imagines. mseely@seattleweekly.com

 
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