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First Look: Trader Vic’s



Originally published on The Spirit World in May 2006.

I’m not sure that "First Look" is the right category for this post – I mean Trader Vic’s has been around since the 50s and in their heyday you could find one in nearly every major city in the US, it seemed. And, before they began slipping from favor, I had visited several of them starting sometime in the late 70s. However, one by one many of the US locations have closed, even as their popularity overseas has been increasing. Both the Trader Vic’s in downtown Seattle and in Portland (Oregon) closed several years ago. So, we were all excited when they announced the opening of a new location Bellevue.
So I guess this is a First Look – of the second time around.
The Cocktail Club gathered at the new location last Monday. We had a really good turnout as some folks who hadn’t been able to make it the last few times were able to show up and a couple people also brought friends along (yeah!). So along with about 6 regular members we had 1 newer person and 2 brand-new people.
It was a good thing we had such a large group! Take a look at Trader Vic’s Cocktail Menu (pdf) and you’ll see why…
I am happy to report that we made a good sized dent in that menu. Between the 9 of us we sampled quite a few offerings:
    • Gun Club Punch
    • Tika Puka Puka
    • Honi Honi
    • Mai Tai
    • Soft Bahia
    • Zombie
    • Suffering Bastard
    • Pino Pepe
    • Scorpion
    • Menehuni
    • Dr. Funk of Tahiti
    • Potted Parrot
    • Peach Tree Punch
    • Cafè Diable
    • Tortuga
    • Tutu Rum Punch
    • Navy Grog
    • Dr. Funk’s Son
Of all the drinks we sampled I am happy to report that only one seemed a bit sweeter than necessary – always a challenge when the theme is tropical, with all the fruit juice involved! All of the others seemed to strike a nice balance with their various ingredients and were well-crafted.
We also sampled a few nibbles – I can tell you that the Crab Rangoons were excellent and the Almond Duck Tidbits were good but odd textured. I heard the Cheese Blings hit the spot and the Cosmo Tidbits (a pupu platter) were yummy. A couple people ordered full meals and they looked great but by that time I was deep into socializing and not so much documenting so I have no photos or any real evidence about those meals!
All in all it was a very good evening! Good location, great friends and conversation, fun times! I would say that all of us plan to return sometime soon – so many cocktails to explore – to say nothing of other menu items that called our names!
Trader Vic’s Bellevue
700 Bellevue Way NE, Suite #50 (In Lincoln Plaza, across from The Westin)
Bellevue, WA 98004

  1. 17-Jan-2007 8:49 am

    You MUST write a book.
    The CC at Trader Vic\’s looks like a kick!  Those drinks are very interesting.  I\’ll need to give them a try to broaden my horizons.  I don\’t like too-sweet-cocktails but it sounds like these were well made.  If I can taste the liquor in any of these concoctions, I\’d dig it!

  2. Culinary permalink
    17-Jan-2007 12:25 pm

    Hi BH!
    You are such an ego-booster! :-)  Thanks much.  (hope things are progressing nicely for you, too.  You know – in FL and all.)  I am with you on the too sweet cocktails.  And sometime even if the booze is predominant enough the combination makes me a little squeamish.  These are well made well balanced drinks.  Plus the place is such a kick you got to give it a try. 
    ~ B

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