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Posts Tagged ‘belltown’

The last time Cherry and I did Seattle Restaurant Week (SRW), was two years ago, so you could imagine I was bursting at the seams with eagerness and excitement to participate this year! In a nutshell, restaurants participating in Restaurant Week, offer a 3-course lunch menu for $15 and a 3-course dinner menu for $28. It’s an excellent opportunity to try restaurants you wouldn’t normally visit. With so many restaurants participating and so little time, I narrowed down the enormous list to one, TanakaSan! This newest addition to Tom Douglas’s restaurant empire is led by TD’s long time Executive Chef and Partner, Eric Tanaka. Located on 6th Ave and Lenora, TanakaSan occupies a large portion on the bottom floor of a residential tower. Cherry and I came for lunch and made the mistake in not making reservations. We ended up having a little wait before being seated… c’est la vie!

 

tanakasan_outsideoutside dining area

tanakasan_insideinside dining floor

tanakasan_kitchenopen kitchen across the hall

 

The Appetizers:

 

tanakasan_friedchicken 2 twice fried chicken wings: smoked Korean chili, franks hot sauce (l) & salty caramel, serrano chile (r)

The serving size of the chicken wings was a little smaller for SRW (3 pieces), but they were still able to split them up for me. The first thing I immediately noticed when I took my first bite was how crunchy the skin was! It reminded me like biting into a fresh chicharrón from Mexico! The meat underneath was juicy and perfectly fried. The salty caramel wing was more salty than sweet. It actually tasted like it was tossed in fish sauce. Still quite tasty, but to me, the taste didn’t match what the menu read. I had mixed feelings about the smoked Korean chile wing. On one hand, the Korean chile’s had a great smokey flavor with a subtle spice. On the other hand, the extremely bright and vinegary flavor of the Franks hot sauce completely overpowered everything. The concept was great but I feel a hot sauce that carries more heat and less vinegar flavor may be better.

 

tanakasan_braisedbeefgeneral tso’s spare ribs: blistered chilies, scallion, orange, puffed rice

These spare ribs were awesome! The meat was literally fall of the bone tender and full of flavor. I really liked their version of general tso’s sauce. It had a much deeper, richer, and sophisticated flavor, than what I’ve had at other restaurants. The scallions added a bright note to each bite and the puffed rice provided a pleasant little crunch. This dish was a highlight of the meal.

 

The Entrees:

 

tanakasan_teriyakichickenteriyaki chicken: savoy cabbage, pickled carrots, furikake

This was a well prepared dish. The chicken thigh was tender, juicy and nicely gilled. The teriyaki sauce they used as a glaze (I believe?) had a nice balance of sweet and savory. Cherry would have liked to have seen a little less char on the edges, but I don’t mind it. She chose their potato mac salad which was also very good. They use a sriracha mayo as their base and it worked well.

 

 

tanaksan_coconutbeefcarmelized coconut beef: jasmine rice, coconut sambal, crispy shallot, pea vines

The beef was nicely braised, tender and carried a very subtle coconut undertone. The pea vines added nice color to the dish, but I especially enjoyed their coconut sambal. At first, I didn’t know what the little white pieces were mixed with the sambal – I had to re-read the menu again. Once I read coconut sambal, I had that, “aha!” moment. The rich flavors of the beef combined with the heat of the sambal, creamy flavor of the coconut and the slight bitterness of the pea vines, came together like a well trained orchestra, and was quite palatable.

 

 

The Desserts:

 

tanakasan_coconutpietriple coconut cream pie

Cococonut, on coconut on coconuts! The triple coconut cream pies served at TD restaurants all originate from Dahlia Bakery. I’ve already reviewed the pie, here. Do yourself a favor and try a slice!

 

 

tanakasan_spongecakeyuzu pudding cake: shiso cream, sweet and sour rhubarb, yuzu curd

I felt guilty breaking this plate down and eating it – it just looked so pretty! Each individual element was delicious on its own, but when combined – perfection. The shiso cream had a very mild sweetness to it, the yuzu curd tasted like an egg custard you find a Chinese bakery, but with a much lighter texture. The cake was moist and airy and the sweet and sour rhubarb was awesome in providing a bright touch on an overall very creamy dish.

 

My Conclusion:

You cannot go wrong participating in SRW and you definitely cannot go wrong with any of Tom Douglas’s establishments. He and Tanaka San have created a wonderful new spot showcasing Asian-influenced dishes with fresh ingredients from the Northwest. Word to the wise, if you do decide on participating in SRW, reservations are strongly encouraged!

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I apologize for how long it’s been since my last post, I’ve been extremely busy with work and school… I know, that’s no excuse… But as a result, I’ll share a post that’s been just marinating in my queue for several months, waiting to be shared. Enjoy!!

**Note: We went to Palace Kitchen back in December, and since the menus change like the seasons, the Flat Iron Steak isn’t currently offered.

 

1. The Bravehorse Tavern:

bravehorse.shuffle

 

bravehorse.pretzelbasket

bravehorse.pretzel

brick oven pretzel with pimento  cheddar dip $6

The pretzels alone are $4.50, which is  kinda steep for a pretzel, but the moment you bite into them, they’re worth it! The soft inner and lightly salted and firm outer provide a nice bite. The pimento cheddar (additional $1.5) had creamy and cheesy balance with a very subtle heat from the peppers. Even with generous dipping of the pretzel, we had enough dip for another preztel… so we ordered another 😉

bravehorse.porkschnitz

pork schnitzel on a pretzel bun: fried pork cutlet, cabbage apple slaw, swiss $9.5

This sandwich was excellent. The cutlet was fried to perfection – crispy on the outside and juicy tender meat underneath. The cabbage apple slaw was refreshingly crunchy and sweet, while the melted swiss added some creaminess to the party. The sandwich was served with a side of stone ground mustard that provided an awesome sharp and bold flavor.

bravehorse.doubler

double “r” ranch chuck house: dahlia workshop bun with smoky burger sauce,
iceberg, dill pickle, mayo, cheese $7.5

Cherry went with the double “r”, which was clean and juicy. The cheddar cheese (extra $1), which was melted perfectly, added an additional layer of flavor to an already great burger. The rest of the ingredients all came together wonderfully.

palacekitchen.entrance

2. Palace Kitchen:

palace.porktail

fried pork tail: maple, smoked chili, fresh crunchy vegetables  11.

I always  like to try something outside our comfort zone… well I do more so than Cherry. This was my first time having fried pork tail and I’m glad I did! The skin was crispy and the maple glaze made it taste like candied bacon. Beneath, was a small amount but extremely tender amount of meat cartilage. The pigtail was countered nicely by the bright flavors of the pickled carrots and daikons and the subtle heat from the smoke chili. Oh yeah… did I forget to mention, candied bacon!?

palace.bread

dahlia baker bread: olive ciabatta, dark rye $2

Nice little bread basket featuring foods from Dahlia Bakery. There was a dark rye and a seasonal type with olives baked inside the bread. Both selections were fresh and smelled great. The olives that were baked into the ciabatta had a pleasant flavor that didn’t overpower. It was served with a balsamic/olive oil sauce which had a pleasantly sweet undertone.

palace.royalburger

palace burger royale: 1/2 pound of hand ground chuck, dahlia bakery onion bun, fries  $15

Cherry went with the burger again. One thing is for sure, she sticks with what she likes! Like the burger at the Bravehorse, chuck is the meat of choice. With minimal toppings, the meat was the focal point of this burger. Cherry’s favorite part however, was the cheese! Go figure… The fries were plentiful and well seasoned, One thing I would have liked, is to have the bun toasted

palace.flatironsteak

flat iron steak, greens, mashed potatoes, aged parmesan, portobello mushroom, balsamic reduction $28

Off the bat, this plate was very appealing to the eye. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, extremely tender and juicy- the rest of the ingredients all added layer upon layer of flavors. The balsamic  reduction and mashed potatoes nearly outshined the flank steak with the deep and rich flavors. The mushroom added a firm texture that countered the sautéed greens nicely and the parmesan provided a very subtle umami to each bite. Cherry took a bite with all of the ingredients and before she even finished her bite, she proclaimed, “Ooh man, this is bomb!” I’d concur.

palace.triplecoconut

dahlia triple coconut cream pie: white chocolate, toasted coconut $9

By this time, Cherry and I were already pretty full and didn’t have much room left. But hey, it was my birthday and  if the server offers a dessert as a treat, who I am to argue?!  The pie was delicious – not too sweet and not too heavy. The toasted coconut added nice texture to the otherwise very light cream.

 

3. Etta’s:

ettas.entrance

3. Etta’s:

ettas.oysters

oysters on the half shell:  kushi, sister point, penn cove, stellar bay

My favorite were the sister point oysters. They were extremely clean and had a sweet flavor. The kushi and stellar bay carried a more briny flavor and the penn cove were right in the middle – clean and fresh.

ettas.bread

dahlia bakery bread: olive ciabatta, french $2

Same olive ciabatta as earlier, but this time it was paired with french bread and with butter. The breads were fresh and aromatic.

ettas.fishandchips

ettas.slaw

true cod fish & chips, green cabbage slaw $14

These cod fish and chips were delicious. Each had a very crispy crunch outside and a perfectly cooked center with the meat maintaining a tender, flaky and almost buttery texture. As I’ve stated before, my ideal fish and chips have a batter/breading that maintains its crunch even with a drizzling malt vinegar or lemon juice – they did here. The hand cut shoe french fries were well seasoned with a good crunch.  I was pleasantly surprised by the green cabbage slaw that was also served. At Etta’s they toss the slaw in a simple malt vinegar dressing that brought a wonderfully balanced sweet and salty flavor – non of that overly sweetened mayo sauce you find at picnics.

 

ettas.combo

combo: 1 pc cod, 2 shrimp, 2 oysters, fries, green cabbage slaw $17

This plate was a fried food lover’s dream. The cod was cooked equally well as Cherry’s plate however it came with two jumbo shrimp and two large oysters. Even with the shrimp butterflied, each half was bigger than a whole shrimp you would find at other spots. The crispy shrimp were delicious on their own, but there was also a side of a rich, sharp and smoky cocktail sauce. Our server also included that there was a secret ingredient to their cocktail sauce – espresso. The oysters were also fried nicely and maintained good texture and bite.

 

My Conclusion:

If I could describe my experiences dining just three (of a plethora) of Tom Douglas’s restaurants, it would be: memorable. Each restaurant offering very different foods, yet all surrounding the common theme of having fresh and local ingredients  – executed perfectly… and will blow your taste buds outta this World! Tom Douglas currently has 10 restaurants in the Seattle-Metropolitan area, and having been to four of them (Serious Pie), I can whole-heartedly say that, his James Beard awards and many nominations are no fluke – this man can burn.  Don’t believe me? Ask Iron Chef  Masaharu Morimoto (season 2, episode 10… secret ingredient: salmon).

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Proudly serving since “1948,”  Market House Meats is a meat shop and deli specializing in corned beef & pastrami. The first time I saw the huge “CORNED BEEF” sign calling in hungry patrons off the street, I immediately added it to my little list of places to try. Conveniently located on Minor Ave, it’s an extremely popular spot for people working nearby to drop in for some delicious sandwiches.  Entering the shop, you immediately notice a meat cooler filled with their vacuum sealed meats for sale and a small sign instructing sandwich goers to circle whichever sandwich you want and write your name on top. To make it even simpler, they only offer about four different sandwiches; famous Reuben, pastrami (hot or cold), corned beef (hot or cold), barbecue brisket and currently a Philly cheese steak. Here’s what I ordered on two separate visits.

markethouse.storefront

storefront off minor and howell

The Food:

markethouse.reuben

grilled reuben: house cured corned beef,  sauerkraut, swiss cheese, thousand island on marble rye $8.95

This was a great reuben! The corned beef was flavored awesomely with a perfect balance in their brine. They don’t skimp on the portions either – each sandwich had a mountainous mound of meat between the marble rye. The sauerkraut wasn’t too salty and accompanied the corned beef and swiss cheese perfectly. The one thing I noticed that took away from the sandwich is the fact that they put the grilled sauerkraut directly on the bread – causing the bottom slice of my sandwich to become extremely soggy from the juices. Perhaps having the meat and sauerkraut to be tossed/heated together could be a way to prevent this from happening – like in this video here.

markethouse.cornedbeef

pastrami & corned beef sandwich with swiss $8.95

The menu offers either a corned beef or pastrami sandwich, but you can get it mixed – which is what I got. You can also choose to have it cold or warmed – I went with the latter. Again, they piled meat (pastrami & corned beef) very high and topped it with melted swiss cheese. Like the reuben, both the pastrami and corned beef were rich in flavor and very filling. The bread was warmed and did a pretty good job keeping everything together. These sandwiches came with a side of lettuce, tomato, onion which I slipped in between everything and came together well. Instead of potato salad, I went with the coleslaw this time which was very average.  Pre-packaged slaw mix topped with some dressing.

My Conclusion:

As for the the sandwiches, I had no problem either one – both flavorful, fresh and filling. It was the employee making my pastrami/corned beef sandwich on my second visit, that turned me way off. It’s important to note, that everything made behind the counter is clearly visible and conversations can be heard anywhere you stand. As the older man began making my sandwich, he started grumbling angrily about how tired he was… something along the lines of “…I’ve been working 15-hours and have another f*ckin 14 to go!” The younger worker (who I believe is an owner from the video I posted), stood silently, as did I, and watched the old man prepare my sandwich. I heard him complaining about how “everything is empty”, when he had to refill the coleslaw and dressing after he mistakenly put potato salad in my order. I then watched him attempt to throw the to-go box, with the potato salad, away into a large garbage 6-inches away… he missed… horribly. This failed attempt obviously further upset the already disgruntled deli man, resulting in him forcibly shoving the box down into the garbage.  At this point he’s causing a spectacle, and the older woman who finished cashing someone out stood to watch the show. Personally, I don’t mind frustration at work, but if everything you do & prepare is in the open for customers to see, please put on your big-boy pants and act with some professionalism. There’s nothing more unprofessional and displeasing to see as a customer, than a grown man well into his 50’s,  stomp around throwing tantrums because he’s tired. I didn’t see anyone holding him captive and he wasn’t some indentured servant… go home if you missed nap time! Mind you, everything he’s done up until this point has been with the same pair of disposable gloves, so the next thing he does next really left me perplexed. He walked over to the sink to wring out a wash rag for some unknown reason, then without changing gloves, finished making my sandwich… grabbing the heated bread, placing the meats and then putting into box. Can you say, health code violation?! Now I am not naive to the fact this kind of stuff this happens all time time all over – but behind walls of the kitchen. It’s different when you see it first hand… I should have asked for a new sandwich made to Health Department Stands, but I didn’t feel like stirring an already hostile pot…  I was also in a rush & grumpy because I too, missed my nap time with my warm milk.

 

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Located on the corner of 1st and Bell in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Local 360 is a very nice spot for a fresh and hearty meal. The unique thing about this restaurant is that all of their food is sustainable and the majority of it is sourced locally, within 360-miles of Seattle. The interior is quaintly decorated with the wood tables, seats and walls providing a farmhouse sense for guests.

 

anyone speak french?

 

a little wax

 

menu

 

 

The Food:

 

raw oysters $3/each

Only three words to describe these; fresh, clean, delicious! Raw oysters fit perfectly in my foodie philosophy: simplicity is key. The vinaigrette was slightly overpowering for my taste, but still delicious nonetheless.

 

wood grilled pork chop, potato hash, apple gastrique $18

When this dish was served on our table, an immediate smile grew across my face. 360 serves two full chops  that looked like a club Fred Flintstone would swing in his day. These chops were perfectly cooked with a good char and extremely tender. I especially enjoyed the chopped green apples that they cooked with the potato hash, which provided a countering tartness to the savory potatoes. The gastrique sauce, which is a caramelized sugar deglazed with vinegar, had a very rich and sweet flavor – almost like an apple cider glaze. One major critique I did have with this dish was that the pork was way too salty. I love savory flavors, but the saltiness of the meat overpowered this dish and I found myself trying to scrape every last drop of the gastrique sauce on each piece of pork to cut through it. 

 

butcher’s grindhouse burger with cheese & bacon $15

I find myself in an oxymoronic state describing the flavors of the burger as, clean yet full of flavor. Flavorful burgers tend to be associated with a greasy and/or patties with a higher fat contect. Local 360 proves that notion wrong with their grindhouse burger. The meat tastes extremely clean but at the same time you don’t forget you’re eating a burger… if that makes any sense. The rest of the ingredients all contributed to provide one of the better burgers I’ve ever tasted. The bacon was thick, crispy and carried smoky flavor while the cheese contributed a nice richness. The french fries were well cooked and perfectly seasoned with salt. There’s a certain comfort knowing that everything you’re eating is fresh, local and hormone free. Having tasted such an awesome burger here, it will be extremely tough to ever go back to a fast-food burger chain… It’d be like having the best steak you’ve ever had for lunch, then having a frozen dinner steak for dinner.

My Conclusion:

In my book, Local 360’s stock just made a significant jump. The food is prepared well, locally and sustainably sourced, and the prices are very reasonable. Cherry and I are going to add this restaurants to our list of places to revisit and rightly so, since her job is literally across the street! On a related note,  Seattle Restaurant Week is currently in full effect and Local 360 happens to be one of the participating restaurants. You can find their Restaurant Week Menu here.

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