The Place: Goji Bistro
Where: North Bellingham, Cordata area
4260 Cordata Parkway #105
Bellingham, WA 98226
When: Mon.-Fri. 11-3:00pm & 4:30pm to 9pm Closed on Sundays
Finally I've gotten to eat out at another place, this time the place was Goji Bistro which one of my co-workers suggested I try. This place serves several types of asian cuisine and the menu is divided into five different sections Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, and finally Goji. (I believe that Goji is a small area of Japan that serves a distinct style of food but I'm not completely sure of that.) I ended up going with five of my friends two of whom birthdays we were celebrating so since we almost all got something different I was able to try a lot of different things on the menu.
The entry way to the bistro was nice but people come in through the front and back door since the back door is actually the one facing the street and the entrance faces the back parking lot. The decor of the place is nice, there were vibrant colors on the wall and all the tables and chairs as well as the bar and lower half of the walls are beautiful wood blocks with a nice high shine. The wood was really nice to look at and it gave it a very modern, casually open feel. This place was obviously made for people to come and relax have a few drinks and some good food with your friends because the bar is huge and there are even tree stumps with cushions on them for seats at the bar. It did make the place a little more crowded though since the bistro is pretty small in the first place, it makes me wonder how well they do with the community college practically next door to them. The wall on the right side also has these metal things on the walls which, it took a moment for me to realize, were actually bottle holders, that looked really cool.
That being said I do feel that the whole theme of the restaurant isn't as cohesive as it could have been. It felt like it was missing and element to really bring it all together, maybe if they added a few more small asian touches it would make more sense. There was one thing negative about the restaurant though it isn't a problem that they created but one that they might be able to remedy. We sat at the largest table and that table was pretty close to a wall full of windows and we started eating around 5:30pm so my friends sitting on the side facing the widow were getting a face full of bright blinding sun. It would be nice if they put up a sun shade that way people don't have to feel like they need to bring sunglasses to eat there.
Our waitress, Amber, was very nice and not intrusive at all while we ate and seemed to come in and refill everything at the right time and she went out of her way to make sure that we were taken care of. In fact one of my friends ordered iced tea which is just hot tea they added ice to but he doesn't like ice in his drinks so she only added a little ice to his and then offered to put it in the fridge to chill some more. I thought that was very thoughtful of her and she didn't forget about it later but brought it out with our second appetizer when we'd pretty much forgotten about it and even gave him an extra cup to scoop the ice into. She also remembered who ordered what. I was very surprised to find that the water served was actually lemon water rather than regular water, it was a pleasant surprise, not overly lemony too.
Now on to the food. One of my friends decided to order and appetizer for him and one of the birthday girls which was the gyoza which are basically Japanese pot stickers or dumplings. You get five of them for about $4 and they were delicious, They came out and everyone at the table started salivating on sight of them. They had the most beautifully browned exterior and were plated very prettily. They were chicken and vegetable and the flavors were all equally balanced and it wasn't overly salty which I feel often happens with pot stickers. The dipping sauce was something of a surprise because it wasn't just soy sauce and wasn't even a salty kind of sauce it was actually more on the sweet side but still somewhat savory and light. Everyone went crazy for that sauce, so much so that we even ordered another one some we could all have some more and we were even dipping our chopsticks in so we could have even more of that taste.
|Chicken and Vegetable Gyoza $4|
|Gojilian Beef $9|
I ordered they Gojilian Beef which was stir fried with vegetables and crispy noodles in a sweet goji sauce. The beef was delicious, it was cooked till it was very hard and crusted with sauce on it and had tons of flavor and some pieces which were a little bit softer had some fatty bits as well which just increased the flavor. Yum. :) I felt that my bell peppers were slightly under cooked and firm for my taste but cooking wise they were probably spot on, the mushrooms were awesome with the sauce and the crispy noodles were a nice addition. This dish also normally comes with onions but they left out the onions at my request. All of our orders came with rice as well which was unexpected. The rice was very well done with every grain perfectly cooked and slightly sticky but still individual.
Other dishes that were ordered: (I'm sorry if the prices are a little off, I got them off the website menu which isn't up to date but is pretty close or correct on price, because I couldn't remember them myself)
|Tiger Shrimp Yakisoba $9.50|
Tiger Shrimp Yakisoba
The shrimp were nicely cooked and the noodles were so good in the sauce that they stir fried it in I think I'll have to order this next time.
|Chicken Teriyaki and Mixed Tempura a.k.a C & T $8.50|
Chicken Teriyaki and Mixed Tempura a.k.a C & T
The tempura was well done with all the vegetables well cooked although I felt that the broccoli had a bit to much of that kind of broccoli gas that is emitted when you steam it with the lid on. I don't know if that makes any sense but it was a little too broccoli for me. There was also supposed to be some tempura shrimp as well but this friend is allergic to shellfish. The batter on it was more of a deep fry type of batter that makes it fluffy versus the kind where it seems more like just a sprinkling of panko crumbs. I like both versions personally but my friend did mention (although I didn't notice it with my piece of broccoli) that the batter was probably a thin batter because it got into all the broccoli crevices and he said some of that wasn't fully cooked. He said the asparagus tempura (which I've never tried) was delicious but there was one one piece of that and he split it with my fiance. The tempura came with a more salty soy sauce-y dip that was good with that as well.
|Chicken Teriyaki and Mixed Tempura a.k.a C & T $8.50|
Chicken Terriyaki and Chicken Katsu a.k.a C & K
The chicken katsu was also nice, it wasn't greasy at all and was perfectly breaded, the chicken in the middle was a little hard for what I like personally (I like my chicken to be juicy and moist) but I think that is the way this dish is supposed to be made. It wasn't extra tough or chewy or anything it was just not soft in the middle. It also came with a dipping sauce which hinted at barbeque sauce and was more savory than the gyoza dip but still slightly sweet.
|Chicken Teriyaki and California Roll a.k.a C&C $8.50|
Chicken Teriyaki and California Roll a.k.a C&C
Both of the birthday girls ordered this one and I was surprised with how much sushi they got. They got like 8 pieces plus there was their teriyaki chicken over rice all for under ten dollars, now that is a really good deal. The chicken teriyaki was good, it had a lighter thinner sauce then I have been used to lately and seemed to lean heavily on soy sauce for flavor (I'm not an expert so I couldn't tell you for sure this was just my impression) so that means it leaned more to the salty side but was still balanced with the sweet. All in all not my favorite chicken teriyaki but still good with a deep flavor. The sushi pieces were good sized and came stuffed with crab. It was good crab but I think it was imitation personally just from taste but I think the price is also another indicator because it would definitely be a lot more expensive if it was that much real crab.
Altogether this is definitely a place that I would go to again when I want good asian food. The prices are very fair for the amount that you get and well worth it for the flavor. Everything is served on heavy ceramic dishes and the plating is pretty nice as well. Also we informed the waitress of the birthday girls and they were each given a free slice of strawberry cheesecake of which I had a small bit and they serve some really good cheese cake. Also if you are thinking of eating here for lunch they have a lunch menu where everything on the menu is $7.77 and for just a dollar more you can make any of those dishes a lunch dish as well.
Recap: Flavorful food for a decent price in a clean easy going atmosphere with good service, a bit of a heavy sunlight problem and yummy dipping sauces. Definitely a place I would go to again.