FOOD MATTER | The sap rises
Thursday, May 30, 2013 11:10 AM
It’s spring, the traditional time for new places to open, so let’s go for a spin.
Ivar’s Salmon House’s salmon skewers are part of the restaurant’s new menu. Photo by Ronald Holden
There’s a new menu at the Belltown Pub (2322 First Ave.), with flatbreads, meat platters, poutine, Szechuan-style ribs and a whiskey fondue.
Down the block, The Lost Pelican (2400 First Ave.) has opened with a Cajun-Creole menu (including a crawfish cheesecake).
On Lake Union, the bar at Ivar’s Salmon House (401 N.E. Northlake Way) has undergone a $750,000 remodel and has updated its menu, as well (no more creamed corn).
Henry’s Tavern (1518 First Ave. S.) is now open across from Safeco Field, with 100 beers on tap, and tucked into the Safe’s left-field bleachers, Edgar’s Cantina is serving designer Mezcal cocktails and Mexican tortas.
On the terrace level of the Red Lion downtown (1415 Fifth Ave.) is a newly refurbished, indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar called Frolik.
Inside the Sheraton Hotel (1400 Sixth Ave.), the Fountain Wine Bar has reopened, with, as its centerpiece, a long-neglected fountain designed by George Tsutakawa.
In the Pike Place Market, Dan Bugge and his chefs, Tyler Palagi and Charlie Garrison, have opened Radiator Whiskey (90 Pike St., third floor) with a menu of deep-fried pork products and barrel-aged cocktails.
Billy Beach has opened a new sushi restaurant in Ballard called, you guessed it, Billy Beach Sushi & Bar (5463 Leary Ave. N.W). Beach is the chef behind Japonessa (downtown) and Kushibar (Belltown).
Serafina (2043 Eastlake Ave. E.) and its sister restaurant, Cicchetti (121 E. Boston St.) both have new executive chefs and a new cocktail menu, with housemade tinctures and infusions.
Pie Bar is opening on Capitol Hill (1361 E. Olive Way), and West Seattle’s Bakery Nouveau is adding a store on the hill, as well (137 E John Ct.). Also new on the hill is Chico Madrid (711 Bellevue Ave. E.), with Spanish-style sandwiches. Another intriguing new spot: Harry’s Chicken Joint in West Seattle (6032 California Ave. S.W.), which brines its birds in buttermilk, smokes them, then deep-fries them in a stovetop device.
On the way out, in
Alas, with all the new openings comes word, as well, of closings: The Viking (6404 24th Ave. N.W.) in Ballard; the Grill on Broadway (314 Broadway E.).
The First Hill Bar & Grill (901 Madison St.), which will be replaced, we’re glad to hear, by a new outpost of Ridgley Kuan’s Green Leaf Vietnamese restaurants.
Urban Enoteca (4130 First Ave. S.) has closed for good; it will be taken over by a SoDo neighbor, Herban Feast, and relaunched as the Foundry, a private event space.
Another closure: Tup Tim Thai (118 W. Mercer St.), on lower Queen Anne.
A couple of new places on the horizon: Din Tai Fung, the popular dim sum parlor in Bellevue, is planning an expansion into University Village.
Skillet Diner (1400 E. Union St.) announces that its patio is now open for outdoor dining, and that it’ll have a new Ballard location (2034 N.W. 56th St.) open later this spring.
And we can expect Max’s, a meat-centric deli, to open in South Lake Union later in the year.
Still going strong
In the meantime, a grand, old restaurant continues to dazzle in Pioneer Square: Il Terrazzo Carmine (411 First Ave. S.). Longtime owner Carmine Smeraldo died a year ago, but his longtime deputy George Dyksterhuis is at the podium to greet guests, who fill the white-tablecloth dining room every day, even at lunchtime. As always, the focal point is the antipasto buffet; as always, the service is polished and the food is sublime.
And this bite from Belltown: Spur (113 Blanchard St.), a very upscale gastropub launched five years ago by chef-buddies Dana Tough and Brian McCracken that continues to turn out food that far exceeds the “gastropub” image. (The duo went on to start Tavern Law on Capitol Hill (1406 12th Ave.) and The Coterie Room (2137 Second Ave.) just up the block.)
Take, for example, a dish called Sockeye Salmon Crostini. It’s pricy, at $4 per bite, but you won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else. The salmon is poached sous vide, served on a bed of marscapone with some capers and pickled shallots, atop a perfectly toasted slice of bread. (Drop of olive oil and garnish of microgreens: gilding the lily.)
It’s a shame to eat this in one bite, so feel free to use your knife and fork. You’ll understand in a flash why so much is made of New York’s lox-and-bagel breakfasts; there’s an unctuousness to the salmon, underscored by the creamy cheese, offset by the sharpness of the condiments and the crunchiness of the crostini. It’s one of those transcendent moments.
And, finally, Urbanspoon.com’s blog lists 101 “best breakfast” places around the country; five are in Seattle: Cafe Presse (1112 12th Ave.) and Skillet Diner (1400 E. Union St.) on Capitol Hill, Le Pichet (1933 First Ave.) and Lola (2000 Fourth Ave.) downtown and 5-Spot (1502 Queen Anne Ave. N.) atop Queen Anne. I’m fine with those, but just as sure there are at least another dozen, no?
RONALD HOLDEN is a restaurant writer and consultant who blogs at Cornichon.org and Crosscut.com. To comment on this column, write to CityLivingEditor@nwlink.com.