photo credit: Nate Watters

The Boat review image

The Boat


1314 S Jackson St, Seattle
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Everyone loves a comeback story, like Dunkaroos, Brendan Fraser's career, and the West Seattle bridge. But the best one of all, at least in 2022, was The Boat. This wooden ship in the International District serves Vietnamese fried chicken rice and waffles, and it's an ideal spot for an easy brunch you don’t have to overthink.

The fact that The Boat is anchored in the parking lot of Phở Bắc Sup Shop is no coincidence—it used to be home to a Phở Bắc location itself before they moved in 2018. In 2022, the same team decided to revitalize it for its second voyage.

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The Boat review image

photo credit: Nate Watters

The boat exterior is deceptively small—inside, there are plenty of stools and four-tops (plus a disco ball and some vintage chandeliers). The best way to describe the space is probably "funky garage energy." Wherever you sit, you'll be able to smell The Boat's trifecta of fragrances coming out of the kitchen: fried garlic, chicken skin, and toasting waffles.

The cơm gà mắm tỏi and waffles are the only dishes served aboard this faux watercraft, but they’re a dynamic duo we’ve replayed in our minds over and over again like all 92 minutes of George Of The Jungle. Their fried cornish hens are super moist, coated in a crackly glazed exterior and toasty garlic sprinkles. On the side, there's a refreshing lemongrass-dressed chrysanthemum greens salad and phở broth for sipping. That plate would be enough for a good time, but then they go and add crisp-and-fluffy pandan and pink pineapple waffles with salted whipped coconut and a peanut sesame crumble. And this is not a place to "stick with just water." Pair it all with an iced coffee that should caffeinate you for the next 48 hours. Or, go for a cocktail like the Vietnamese twist on the espresso martini or a rum and pandan water drink that tastes similar to liquified candy.

The Boat review image

photo credit: Nate Watters

While The Boat makes for a solid dinner option, it's an even better early weekend lunch move for a few reasons. Sure, the disco ball is more glittery at night, and the waffles taste just as great at 7pm. But in a city full of hard-to-get-into brunch places where it can be impossible to decide what to get, there always seems to a table at The Boat, and your order is basically already decided for you. Besides, we can't think of a better meal before going home to flop on the couch and watch The Mummy. Followed, of course, immediately by The Mummy Returns.

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Food Rundown

The Boat review image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Coconut Cloud Coffee

While you can get a typical stiff Vietnamese iced coffee here, you should absolutely order yours crowned with a frothy mound of coconut cream and pandan dust.

The Boat review image

photo credit: Nate Watters

Cơm Gà Mắm Tỏi

This is the only entree here, and it’s a damn good one. This cornish hen is juicy on the inside and brittle on the outside, with a sweet glaze that pairs nicely with the blizzard of sizzled garlic that coats the entire half-bird. The plate also comes with pandan-infused rice, an optional (read: essential) runny egg, greens, and soothing phở broth. It all comes together in a beautiful mess of chicken drippings swirling with rice, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Boat review image


You can’t board this boat and order chicken without also tacking on a stack of waffles. They’re non-negotiable, whether you go for fluffy lime-green pandan or pink pineapple. The edge goes to the latter for the delightful pop of sweet fruit bits that caramelize on contact with the hot iron, but you should get half and half to try both types. For best results, request them crispy, and dunk liberally in the accompanying salted coconut whip.

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