Set in a post-modern great room, Boom Noodle (1121 E. Pike St., 206/701-9130, www.boomnoodle.com , 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., noon–midnight Fri.–Sat., noon–10 p.m. Sun., $15) offers a trendy take on cafeteria-style seating, minus the buffet line or the mustached lunch lady. Sit at one of the banks of long communal tables in the boisterously loud dining room to partake in stylishly presented Asian fusion, including a dizzying array of ramens, sobas, and udons.
Try the substantial Vietnamese fare at Monsoon (615 19th Ave. E., 206/325-2111, 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. daily, $18), which, most impressively, offers up banana-leaf wrapped halibut. This place is delightfully different.
Fill up on bento box lunches, salmon teriyaki, sushi, sashimi, tempura, and other simple Japanese meals at Hana Restaurant (219 Broadway Ave. E., 206/328-1187, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $15).