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Apr 9, 2006 12:28 AM

sitka and spruce

  • c

has anyone heard anything about this new restaurant on eastlake ave?

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  1. The only thing I have heard is that the remodel of the space is amazing. It's supposed to look really nice. I can't wait to try it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lauren

      The Seattle Times Article says the following

      Sitka & Spruce on Eastlake; Szechuan Chef in Bellevue

      Matt Dillon's been around. He cooked at the Herbfarm in its first and second incarnations, took over at Supreme when chef Chris Hunter left that (now defunct) Madrona bistro, and later stepped in at Greenwood's Stumbling Goat when his pal Craig Serbousek moved on to open Crow.

      Last summer Dillon left the Goat to strike out on his own, and many months later found what he was looking for — in Eastlake.

      The new restaurant, set to open any day, is called Sitka & Spruce. And no. It's not named for a cross-street, a lumber company or a legal firm, but as a nod to the trees where Dillon likes to forage for porcini mushrooms. Sitka & Spruce occupies the tiny strip-mall space at 2238 Eastlake Ave. E., that, until recently, housed Sophie's Donuts and its sandwich-shop adjunct, Boat Street Kitchen (now relocated to Western and Denny).

      "I wanted something small and easy to manage," says Dillon, who expects to seat 20 after putting the final touches on a do-it-yourself remodel, undertaken with help from his friends. Nick Castleberry, who worked alongside him in the kitchen at Supreme and Stumbling Goat, will be his "right-hand man" in the kitchen.

      As for the eats, "We'll have a chalkboard menu and serve whatever I feel like cooking," says the chef. "I want to keep it loose. It'll be kind of family style, oven-to-table stuff. If someone wants to come in and share steak and cauliflower gratin, we can do it for two — or for one, whatever. I'll be using high-integrity ingredients but want to keep the prices low, probably maxing out at about $15."

      Dillon plans to open by day at first, serving espresso and light fare — "maybe little tarts, pastries, some quiche, hard-boiled eggs for a quarter, stuff I feel like eating in the morning." Once he gets his liquor license, he'll open for dinner, slated to run "5:30-10:30 — 11, later on weekends."


      1. re: Lauren

        the food is thoughtful and most is quite good but .. but the restaurant is a completely arrogant concept. the wine list is mediocre which contradicts the very studied food completly .. I'll agree the service is wanting .. there really needs to be more floor staff. The small plates make it tough on groups .. go with a friend you haven't seen in ages & you have lots to talk about .. bring that Chateauneuf du pape you've been saving & you'll have a nice time. Go with 5 of your friends & well,you've been warned

      2. I went last week with a party of 4. While the food was excellent the "theme" of the meal was that the plates come out the kitchen totally at random and are meant to be shared. I don't know if this is a trendy excuse for a slow kitchen but it doesn't work well for parties who have restrictions. Two of the party didn't eat pork(a true travesty) which comprised about 75% of the menu and sharing the items containing pork didn't really work well for those 2. While I thought the food was excellent the price was still pretty high. We had 3 entrees(left before the last one came out cause people were starving), 1 salad and a bottle of wine for $140. You be the judge.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gt1485a

          Sitka and Spruce is not for everyone. It's not a place you want to go with folks who are picky eaters or have dietary restrictions or allergies or whatnot. If you want specialized service you'll be better off at one of Tom Douglas' restaurants or any number of places. However if you are a true foodie who loves spontaneity then S&S is your mecca.

        2. The food is fabulous, but the format is a bit unorthodox. You may get seated at a communal table (if you're lucky enough to get a seat at all), the food comes out in no particular order, and don't expect super attentive service. It's basically two guys running the show - the chef and a guy in front. I don't think it would work for a group, again because dishes sort of come out whenever so I can see a situation where one or two of you are eating while the rest are waiting around for food to come out. I was in a party of two, we were sharing everything, and we found it fantastic. But definitely be warned that it's not your traditional higher-end restaurant.

          2 Replies
          1. re: qalaur

            This drove me crazy too. We were there when they opened at 5:30 one night, and we ordered quickly, but our last dish (of about 6) arrived at 6:55 -- which meant there wasn't time for dessert since we had a 7:30 commitment. We got most of our dishes quickly but one happened to be just about the last thing the kitchen turned out. True, I hadn't asked our waitress about timing, but I never imagined that a casual dinner would take so long.

            I would put up with this awkward timing (and no-reservations hassle) if the place were offering something unique, but it's not.

            1. re: BruceB

              Not unique? Really? When I vistied I thought the price points they offered for innovative preparations with fresh ingredients were quite unique.

          2. My wife and I went here for a Saturday lunch this summer, and had heard LOTS of great things about this place. Upon arrival, we sat ourselves, and in about 10 minutes a girl arrived, dropped a bottle of water on the table(sans glasses!) and said in a very "I'm so bored" voice, "So here's the deal, everything on the wall is available in the bar..." No glasses, no Hi, no nothing. We left. I know their food is supposed to be the nuts, but in this business it's a complete package, and Sitka and Spruce is missing some essential service pieces. I have coworkers that have gone there for lunch, ordered a bottle of wine, and had the server bring the wine, glasses, and a bottle opener and said, "Have at it!"

            1 Reply
            1. re: ZGSeattle

              ZG I've not experienced any thing as horrible as you have described BUT will say that I have never had great service at S&S ...and it always manages to somehow dampen the experience. I'm not sure why it doesn't seem important enough for Mr Dillon to address as these pages aside it is always a part of the commentary I hear on S&S ..great food, bad timing, disappointing service .. wish he would get a handle on this as his food is quite good .. but leaving feeling like they think they are doing you a favor by just letting you eat there is never a happy aftertaste.

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