Exotic meats are lean, tasty and, well, something fresh and original at Stuff What I Like: An Eclectic Grillery, a new restaurant in downtown Everett.
Chef and owner Shawn C. Lloyd created a menu that pays homage to a wide range of meats, plus recipes from his mother's native Saipan.
At Stuff What I Like, diners choose from Micronesian plates including lumpia (like eggrolls), chamorro chicken (a tangy, spicy chicken) and Spam fried rice, or grilled burgers such as cow, buffalo, lamb and elk, topped with fixings and Baconnaise, a blend of bacon and mayo.
The restaurant's logo looks like a biker's tattoo, heavy metal-style lettering with crossed butcher knives below a bison head. Inside, the restaurant is bright and colorfully painted. The death metal playing on the sound system may be a good choice for a tattoo parlor, but not so pleasant when trying to have a conversation over lunch.
Lloyd worked with his partner, art teacher Cynthia Gaub, to create a rotating venue for local artists on the restaurant's walls. Megan Noel's collection was on display during my visit. Her paintings nicely complemented the pastel wall colors. The art is scheduled to change monthly, and the restaurant is participating in the Everett Art Walk on the third Saturday of each month.
A friend and I went for lunch the other day and tried to explore the diverse menu.
From the "Stuff to Snack On" part of the menu, we tasted the lumpia. These are fried packets of cabbage, carrots, onions and ginger mixed with ground beef then wrapped up like an egg roll ($5.50). The hand-rolled lumpia were larger than I've seen in other places, more the size of a small burrito than an appetizer. The zingy, soy-based dipping sauce added nice flavor.
We tried the grilled chicken thighs, chamorro style, from the "Stuff What is Grilled" menu ($9). The wonderfully charred meat was marinated, well-seasoned and terrific.
The pair of thighs came with a generous serving of Spam fried rice and potato salad. Yes, you read right. Fried rice with Spam, that ever-present protein favored in the Pacific Islands.
I couldn't help but order an exotic burger and chose the antelope ($17).
The half-pound, hand-formed patty was served on a grilled bun and came with a nice crisp char. (Lloyd installed a special lava rock grill.) Piled on are cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles plus the Baconnaise.
The sandwich was juicy, fresh and satisfying. I kept searching for that antelope flavor. It tasted like beef, maybe a bit more bland.
An advantage to eating game meats is that they are generally seasonal and much lower in fat than beef. While an 8-ounce burger can pack nearly 40 grams of fat, the same size elk burger has fewer than 3 fat grams, according to a chart on the menu.
Unless you're a real fan of elk, ostrich or yak, I'd recommend saving your money and eating the beef burger ($10 for a half-pound). Even the low-fat elk comes with a heaping pile of crispy French fries. Kind of defeats the low-fat savings, no?
"Stuff What I Like" also has a full selection of other burgers -- offered in wraps, quarter-pound and half-pound sizes -- a portabella mushroom burger ($9), a lamb burger ($12) and "Buffalo's Bill," bison topped with smoked Gouda ($12).
There are wraps, including a ginger-and-lemon chicken wrap ($7.50) and a grilled chicken wrap ($7.50) and salads.
Kids can chose from chicken or burgers ($5), milk included.
Desserts include champoladu, a kind of chocolate rice ($4), and Sweet Mama's lumpia, fried banana and chocolate with whipped cream ($6).
After feasting on antelope and Spam fried rice, I didn't have room for something sweet. But dessert is stuff what I like, so I'll be back.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; email@example.com.
Stuff What I Like
2915 Colby Ave., Everett; 425-257-0357.
Specialty: Exotic burgers and Micronesian.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Drinks: Soda pop for now, microbrewed beer and local wines once the place get its liquor license.
Vegetarian options: Green salad, potato salad and fries.
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