I’m always fascinated with Seattle
|April 12, 2012||Posted by hog under Restaurant Reviews||
I’m always fascinated with Seattle. As a born and bred East Coast girl, the PacNorthwest has all ways felt intrinsically foreign; almost like, I made my way to California, do you really expect me to embrace lumberjack country too?!
And, yes, the first time I was in Seattle, pre Microsoft days, it did feel like a lot of flannel shirts and facial hair. Now Seattle is different. Its food savvy feels the least bit sycophant-like, it’s simple but creative, earthy and honest. In fact, I found the boutique sensibility, kind service and human touch without overt snobbery to be downright refreshing–almost a little like Baltimore! Although I still can’t understand how the growing climate is conducive to all of this beautiful produce?!
It is all there, on parade like a beauty pageant at the Pike Place Market. The produce is overwhelming as is the energy and monkeying around- that’s probably why the book Fish –a quick, must-read managerial guide– was so successful! The bells ringing, the fish flying through mid-air, the spirit was so intoxicating I found myself dragging home an unexpected hunk of hot smoked salmon. Thirty five bucks later and I didn’t even know I needed one, but dined on it without complaint for days. Their salmon jerky was also a rock star– candied and dried, better named salmon candy.
I get it from the second I cross the threshold. Beautiful glass cases gleam with local meats and cheese. Fresh flowers set up in tiers are out of a Paris street scene. The restaurant is in the back and I’m having a bit of Bay Area deja vu from Boulette’s Larder at the Ferry Plaza. The difference is, we are all huddled around a communal table with all of the ingredients open on the end of the table– the chef’s mis en place in a table shared by guests.Very different, and yet wonderfully appealing.
Falafel and celeriac completely hits the spot with the perfect amount of curried seasonings. The home baked scones are also delicious, as is the comforting bowl of polenta. Top it with one of Seattle’s brilliant coffees and you’ll really feel like a local.
Next stop: re:public bar and restaurant. We stumbled right into this one, it wasn’t on any list. What a great find. the industrial setting and large bar belied the first rate food. Simple as pie but ever so fresh. The baby iceberg, overnight tomatoes and Rogue smokey blue cheese is a salad that keeps your food memory alive, and the open faced Dungeness crab melt, really gave Bay Area Dungeness a run for their money. Dessert was served on the house, a sublime lemon verbena, coconut panna cotta, as the waiter turned out to be an SF transplant. I wondered as I ate the last crust off of the housemade wheat bread if the ever-so-understated Seattle had actually slid right in next to its snobbish San Francisco sister in the world of ingredient-driven, fine food.
Pike Place Market
85 Pike Street Seattle, WA 98101
Sitka and Spruce
1531 Melrose Avenue Seattle, WA 98122
429 Westlake Avenue North Seattle, WA 98109