For me, teriyaki has always existed on a spectrum between edible and delicious.
SOLID Modern Teriyaki in Mill Creek fits the latter.
We recently learned about the newly rebranded teriyaki restaurant in Mill Creek Town Center — formerly Town Center Teriyaki — and a son taking over for his mom who was considering retirement. It immediately rang a bell for my editor, Sara Bruestle, who had eaten at the restaurant before. She tells her friends it serves the best teriyaki she’s ever eaten.
Sara and I went to see if the quality was still the same, even if the restaurant’s name was different.
I ordered my go-to dish: a chicken teriyaki and gyoza combo ($10). It came with a filling portion of rice, shaped like a football, and coleslaw. The chicken was charred just the way I like it — with a little bit of crispiness. The meat was juicy and tender.
Next up was the gyoza. I’m a self-proclaimed gyoza and potsticker connoisseur, so I hold them to a very high standard.
The wonton wrappers, which are stuffed with pork and cabbage, were fried and crispy. The first bite came with a satisfying crunch, followed by the intermixing flavors of the pork and cabbage. It was so good that I made a comment about it to Sara. Normally, I would just shut up and eat.
Sara ordered her usual chicken fried rice ($11), which comes with colorful bits of diced egg, peas, carrots and zucchini. She called it her “litmus test” for the change in ownership.
She gave it a thumbs up.
“I love the fried rice because of what it isn’t: The chicken is juicy, not dry; lean, not fatty,” Sara said. “The pieces also don’t look like they’re oddly shaped scraps left over from other chicken dishes.”
We topped our food off with some bubble tea ($5.45). There’s nearly two dozen flavors to choose from; I ordered raspberry, while Sara chose taro.
I also opted for less tapioca balls so I could focus more on the taste of the tea. It was one of the best I’ve ever had.
The restaurant is owned by TK Kim, a 36-year-old Shoreline resident and Seattle bartender for 10 years. He took over the space for his mom, Kay Kim, who originally opened the restaurant in 2009.
He not only wanted to continue serving teriyaki — with a few modifications to the menu — but give it a modern face-lift as well.
It opened April 3 with a new look and feel.
“The whole interior of the restaurant, from the boards on up, is pretty brand new,” Kim said.
The goal for the renovations was to make it a welcoming restaurant, in contrast to the repetitive-looking teriyaki restaurants he’s seen in Seattle. The space felt cozy, spacious and sleek to me.
One of Kim’s most prized modifications to the menu is the Far East Philly ($11).
He essentially took his mom’s recipe for Korean bulgogi and made it into a sandwich. Kim considers it a melting pot between a French dip and Asian cuisine.
It comes with bulgogi on a French roll with spicy slaw, sesame aioli and lightly seasoned tempura crisps, plus beef broth for dipping.
SOLID Modern Teriyaki
15603 Main St B104, Mill Creek.
Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dine in or order takeout.
Call 425-379-5000. More at www.solid-mt.com.