PICT3747.JPG
© Siiri Sampson 2010.
While the plating leaves something to be desired, you'll quickly be distracted by perfection of doughy bliss that is a pogacha.

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Pogacha Gotchya Covered for Heavenly Flatbread

PICT3747.JPG
© Siiri Sampson 2010.
While the plating leaves something to be desired, you'll quickly be distracted by perfection of doughy bliss that is a pogacha.
Carbs, carbs, carbs. The answer to any and all problems. Stuff your face with something bready, starchy, or doughy and feel instantly better! Of course you may regret the binge later, but let's focus on what's really important here: what kind of carb are you putting in your face, and where is it coming from? If you live in Bellevue, it better be a fresh, out of the oven, pillowy flatbread, or pogacha, from the original Pogacha in Bellevue (119 106th Ave. N.E.).

If they made one the size of a bed, you'd have a hard time not taking it home and putting sheets on it. The daily handmade Croatian biscuits come out of their wood fire oven and land in the middle of your table - almost in unison with you - piping hot and with plenty of butter.

One piece of advice to heed when eating at a restaurant named for its food: order that item, or something with that item in it. Yes, this is pretty obvious, but you might be surprised how often folks stray from this basic rule. You don't go to Burgermaster for their soup, so do yourself a favor and sample one of the fifteen "pogachas" (pizzas) like Fennel Sausage & Kalamata Olives ($9.95) or Chicken, Gorgonzola and Dried Apple ($10.75). Of course besides the addictive and superior crust, these non-traditional discs of happiness also come sans red sauce, although you can opt to add it for a little extra dough (of the green, paper variety).

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© Siiri Sampson 2010.
While attractive on menu and plate, the Shrimp & Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad falls short on depth of flavor.
If you feel the need to break the rules and order something else, they have some interesting dinner pasta dishes that lend an Italian edge to the Mediterranean-centric menu like their Portobello Mushroom Ravioli ($17.99) or their "fifteen year favorite" Chicken Dijon ($15.99) - fettuccini smothered in garlic, French shallots and Dijon cream sauce. If you happen to stop by for lunch, you'll be equally happy with any of their sandwiches (and yes, the bread used is more fresh pogachas), from the Chicken Salad & Avocado ($9.99) to the consistently tangy Lemon Chicken with pesto mayo ($10.99). Steer clear of Shrimp & Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad ($10.99), which may need another round of recipe development to pull it out of the flavorless department.

With rotating art shows and installations sprinkling the walls, and butcher paper and crayons at your table, there's no shortage of entertainment or dinner conversation. The crayons may tempt you to bring your kids, but you're better off leaving them at home, as the palette is decidedly geared towards fully developed taste buds (besides, you could use a night out, right?!). While the service is definitely friendly and fairly prompt, be prepared to "join the ranks" as you'll catch more than you need of their personal conversations from behind the bar. If that's not your speed, you can certainly call ahead and order take out, which tastes just as good sitting in front of your own wood burning fire at home.

 
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