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Originally published Friday, May 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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At Royal Grinders, a toasty sub and a scoop (or 2) of gelato

The Lenin statue has its place in Fremont lore, but on a hot summer day, the savvy among us know to look behind the statue. That's where gelato fiends...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Royal Grinders

American/Gelato

3526 Fremont Place N., Seattle

206-545-7560

www.royalgrinders.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.

Etc: Street parking, no obstacles to access.

Prices: $

The Lenin statue has its place in Fremont lore, but on a hot summer day, the savvy among us know to look behind the statue. That's where gelato fiends can find their fix.

The gelato shop once known as Postmark Gelato has been a fixture in the plaza corner behind Lenin for several years. Now, under owners and brothers Jai H. Suh and Jai S. Suh, it has been renamed Royal Grinders, undergone a renovation and added toasted subs while still serving Procopio gelato. The grinders are a good bet for a quick, filling bite, followed by gelato goodness.

The menu: The grinders ($7.29) are toasted subs built on soft French rolls from Coeur d'Alene French Baking Co., with meat combinations such as roast beef and ham or salami, pepperoni and ham. They are then layered with thinly sliced tomatoes, red-onion slivers, black olives and chopped pepperoncini that give the subs texture and tang. A garlicky, homemade grinder sauce adds some zip. You also can choose from a couple of grilled paninis ($7.29), a gourmet club ($7.29) or a French dip with au jus ($6.99).

The gelato selection ($2.95-$6.50) is extensive, ranging from the classics (Italian chocolate flake, hazelnut and panna cotta) to the more adventurous (strawberry jalapeño).

What to write home about: The large subs are toasty, tasty and filling, but save room for the gelato. The Spicy Azteca Chocolate was a dreamy mix of chocolate, cinnamon and spices, while the Orange Cream tasted like a sophisticated orangesicle. Each order of gelato comes topped with the Lenny Scoop, a free cherry-size dollop of your choice, giving you a chance to try another flavor.

What to skip: A Lenin's Club panini ($7.29) featured crisp and chewy bacon, turkey, provolone and lettuce, but was topped with an overly sweet marinara and sweet chili sauce.

The setting: The renovation added counters for seating and a bright gelato display. Enthusiastic signs inform you about gelato and recommend options like lettuce or jalapeños for sandwiches. Service is friendly and helpful. A board asks for gelato flavor suggestions — kimchi was a recent request.

Summing up: The total for a grinder, a panini and two single scoops of gelato came to $20.48 before tax, and includes a can of soda or bottled water with each sandwich. With warm weather on its way, next time we'll probably make that two scoops.

Nicole Tsong: ntsong@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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