I was visiting a friend in Seattle this past weekend and as it was my first visit there we tried some of the city's signature restaurants, Dahlia Lounge and Wild Ginger. I loved both restaurants and your great city!
We ate at Dahlia Lounge on Thursday. We started with the seared foie gras appetizer as well as the blue cheese starter, which is not a salad but is perfect for cheese lovers. Next we had the raw tuna in ponzu sauce from the raw items section of the menu. The tuna was refreshing and the sauce was particularly tangy.
For entrees we had the barbequed duck with waffle, which was an interesting combination. I have seen chicken with waffles at southern style places, but never duck with waffle - but it worked and tasted delicious. We also had the vegetarian dish - curried pumpkin and potato stuffed Indian flatbread. Also quite good. We were too full to try the desserts, but we had a nice pinot noir with our meal. It was a half bottle, which was a nice option to have.
We had dinner at Wild Ginger on Friday night. I had really enjoyed the food at Dahlia Lounge, but I think we had an even better meal at WG. We started with two of the satay specials - rabbit and mahi mahi. The mahi mahi satay came with a dipping sauce while the rabbit did not. A pleasant start to the meal.
We had a fish special - sea bass, which was in a particularly good sauce. The fish was rather plain if you got a bite without the seasoned sauce on top, but when you did it was the best fish dish I have had in a long time. We also had the duck with bao dumplings. Sooo good. We finished off by sharing the chocolate dessert, which was extremely rich, but somehow we finished it.
I really enjoyed the ambiance and service in both restaurants - casual elegance and delicious cooking - a great combination. I was very impressed with Seattle restaurant scene overall. I hope to return to try some newer places.
I'm from New York and often post on the Manhattan board. There are tons of posts there about good eats, but I'll add my 2 cents worth.
For Japanese/Japanese fusion the restaurant Nobu & Nobu Next Door serve great Japanese food with some Peruvian influences, although scoring a reserve is tough. For traditional Japanese the best I have had in NY is at Sushi Yasuda in east midtown near Grand Central.
I also really enjoy Tabla, an Indian/American fusion restaurant - i.e. Tandoori Skate etc. - has great flavor combinations.
For the best burgers, go to the corner bistro, a dive bar in the west village.
New York is a phenomenal restaurant city, but unfortunately it is extremely expensive too and often requires reservations far in advance. It is also more formal (in general) than west coast cities. You can just dress more casually in the Seattle places I posted about than you can in most restaurants of their caliber in NYC.