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Grouchy Chef

Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce | 05/02/2017 | Restaurants & Bakeries, Snohomish River Valley

For Seinfeld fans, Mukilteo can provide a fond reminder of a minor, but memorable character. Do you recall the Soup Nazi? For those who missed the oddball, sometimes sophomoric sitcom that ran from the late 80's to the late 90's, Seinfeld was the story of four eccentric friends, living their daily, often tedious lives in New York City. They took quirky to a whole new level; hence the introduction of the Soup Nazi.  

One of the characters, Kramer, discovered a soup stand with an owner who offered (selectively) soups to his customers. However, the soup came with so many restrictions regarding how to order, "line behavior", salt usage and more, that successfully getting the soup became more important than actually eating it.  

Mukilteo has the Grouchy Chef. Now I've been there, and as far as I can tell, if you follow the rules (and there are many) you can enjoy a wonderfully prepared four course meal. The setting leaves much to be desired. Yep, its located in an industrial park off the beaten path, and the decor is kitschy but you quickly get into the swing of things with your first course.  

Let me go over the rules first so that we can all be clear about patron requirements before even placing an order. First off, the handwritten sign taped to the door clearly warns that "this is NOT a cheap eatery" and that a certain dress code is expected. No "flip flops, man with shorts, dirty sweatpants, grungy t-shirt..." (you get the picture).  Here are some of the requirements: 

  • Upon entering, you are seated, and you better have a reservation or you'll be asked to leave. He times each party so that he doesn't have too many guests at one time. He seats, waits tables, cooks, and collects money all by himself, so timing is crucial. 
  • Women, no make-up (or you'll have to pay for the dry cleaning of his napkins). He stared long and hard at me, but I'd been prewarned so I had bullet proofed my face. NOTHING was going to come off! I gave him a shaky smile and he glared but let it go. 
  • "Glasses are fragile and pricey. Do NOT CLINK." 
  • Cash only, and you'll pay at the table when he tells you to. 
  • My favorite mandate was listed on the menu: "I also appreciate you to avoid shoveling in a bunch of items together in your mouth since each item on each plate represents each independent flavor. I put a lot of my effort to keep the prices low. But this is not another cheap eatery you may use for quickly filling up your stomach." Signed, Chef Masamoto. 

Before your knickers get in a twist, there's a bit of a language barrier there, so the wording is harsher than Americans may be used to, but the guy just wants you to appreciate his efforts. His price point is great because he does everything and offers only 3-5 entree choices, but boy,  his creations will not go unappreciated. From the squash soup, hand-picked salad, duck breast mashed potatoes, to an entire plate of dessert choices, you will not be disappointed.  

Go ahead, make that reservation, it will be culinary experience that you'll talk about for 'a long time. Isn't that what food is all about? Experiencing, not just tasting?

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