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December 12, 2008 at 2:25 PM

Where Made in Kitchen once stood, Crawfish to be King

Several of you have e-mailed, crying about the closure of the 2-year-old Vietnamese restaurant Made in Kitchen. What can I say? I feel your pain. But get this: last week, I happened to be driving past the vacated premises when I spied this:

Crawfish King Cajun Seafood Boil, coming soon to the ID? Huh? So I got out to investigate, and that’s when I found this menu, taped to the storefront:

I tried the front door but it was locked, so I went around corner to the service entrance. Bingo! Inside, a handful of construction guys were busy working on a serious remodel. They’d left the existing bar intact and were building a faux “deck” along the front window — complete with cedar planks to give the spacious restaurant and bar a kind of seaside feel. And that’s how I met Trieu Dinh, who will be running the place when it opens in January:

Trieu, as it turns out, is no stranger to the restaurant business. He told me he was one of the co-founders of Bellevue’s Vietnamese pho house What the Pho! (Which, by the way, is exactly what I said when I saw that yellow banner hanging at Made in Kitchen.) What the Pho now has a location in Bothell, and another one soon to open in Southcenter. When I asked, “What’s a nice Vietnamese guy like you doing opening a Cajun joint in Seattle’s Chinatown International District?” Trieu didn’t miss a beat before waxing rhapsodic about his frequent trips to Texas to visit his cousin James Nguyen — the owner of Crawfish King.

While hanging with his cuz down south, he got hooked on crawfish boils. And when it comes to an unabiding love for sucking crawfish, whether it’s here or in Texas, Trieu is clearly not alone:

Fresh, seasonal seafood — including the Louisiana crawfish he’ll be flying in daily via Southwest Airlines — will be the star of the show. But Trieu also plans to import blue crab from the Gulf Coast and sell fresh Dungeness crab, oysters, clams and shrimp from right here in the Pacific Northwest. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

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