One of the challenges of heading to the north end of the Seattle area is the lack of good restaurants. I grew up in Lynnwood, and I’ve spent plenty of time in areas like Edmonds, Mukilteo, and Mountlake Terrace. In fact, I still meet old friends from high school for food and drinks in the area, but trying to choose a great restaurant to meet up is always the tough part. Though, this is no longer the case. For a new foray into the restaurant scene has arrived. That place is Epulo Bistro.
I first heard of Epulo from my friends over at Cook Local. They mentioned trying out Epulo a bit after they officially opened. I didn’t even know about the place, so it was exciting to hear of something new. In the days following, Nancy Leson wrote about Epulo and provided more context and backstory to the crew behind the restaurant. This piqued my intrigue. I knew I had to visit soon
Here are the three cool things about Epulo Bistro:
- Execution of food
The goal for any restaurant is to rock it with the food. To come through with a delicious execution of the team’s culinary vision. And the goal for any dinner is to be fed something excellent that pleases the palate. Epulo achieves these goals. As mentioned in my posts, I love it when food is fun and has the ability to surprise. Epulo also does this. How? By having a fun menu with interesting choices. Plus it’s not too expensive; the most expensive item is $20 with much of what we ordered in the $5-15 range.
In the several visits that I’ve had to Epulo, I’ve tasted a bunch of different dishes. There were some misses (a ‘meh’ short rib plate; good texture, but not much flavor), but definitely some hits. I really enjoyed the tomato soup; rich, bold and bright. A nice way to start a meal. For the small plates, the sliders were really, really good; excellent in fact. Made with duck confit, this unctuous dish was served with a nice side of polenta fries and two dipping sauces. I liked it so much, I would go back to order it exclusively. Order this.
For the main plates, we tried a bunch of stuff. I mentioned the short rib, and the NY Strip was substantial, rich and a solid portion of food. But the winners for me were their two chicken dishes. Ordering chicken at a restaurant can sometimes be a bit anti-climatic. After all, chicken is just chicken. But on a recommendation, we tried the crispy chicken breast. We were glad we did. Deeply flavored and perfectly cooked, this was a chicken breast that wasn’t at all boring, almost exciting. The other chicken dish that delighted me was the smoked chicken leg. A quarter piece of chicken that had great smoky flavor while meltingly tender; alongside were caramelized brussels sprouts, this was a great dish.
- Neighborhood vibe
Growing up I always loved the downtown area of Edmonds. The area right around the fountain on Main Street is quaintly walkable with a small town vibe that is perfectly Edmonds. From one of my favorite movie theaters ever, to some nice shops, Epulo fits in nicely. It’s hip and trendy without trying too hard or alienating the locals that are so used to humble cafes. What I really like is that the place has a vibrant energy; from being family friendly, to serving brunch on weekends, to late night hours that encourage people stick around Edmonds, Epulo is doing their part to make the downtown area a destination. I think this is very cool.
The service of Epulo also fits its friendly atmosphere. On one visit, our party had an allergy to be concerned with and there was also a birthday in the group. These are all small things that any restaurant should be able to handle smoothly, but you’d be surprised at the number of places that don’t meet expectations. Epulo performed well.
One last note about Epulo; they are very active on Twitter. From sharing a pride for their town to talking about their specials, they use Twitter effectively. I’m a Twitter fiend and I appreciate the personal touches that Epulo takes to arm their brand.
- North End aspirations
I touched on this earlier, but I have to reinforce this again. I love the fact that there is a restaurant like this in the Lynnwood/Edmonds area. The area has suffered a stigma of big box stores and strip malls (which is partially true), but there is starting to be a murmur of a more personal food experience. Olives used to be the only a beacon of good, personal food in the area. Now there is another.
Food and restaurants in Lynnwood/Edmunds is a work in progress. From a great Chinese food restaurant to a Peruvian spot that dishes moist and flavorful roast chicken, Lynnwood is starting to offer some great options. Also, there are a wealth of Korean restaurants that I want to visit. And now Edmonds has a restaurant that is striving for larger goals than just another soup and sandwich joint. This is a good thing.
I appreciate the fact that restaurants in Snohomish County are becoming part of the food discussion. Yes, Seattle is where the culinary pulse soarings, but it’s noble that places in the ‘burbs are attempting to be in the clouds as well. We appreciate places like Epulo, because they aren’t like the other places in the area. And that’s a good thing. I look forward to going back and seeing what else Epulo Bistro has in store.