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New York Hound Not Fooling Around

OK hounds- you haven't let me down yet- I got great recs for San Francisco last summer-so here we go. Guttergourmet's wife and I with 7 year old are Seattle virgins coming for 2 weeks in mid-August. As always we will entertain my daughter during the day (Aquarium, Zoo, Space Needle, Pike Market (OK that's for me), Experience Museum (OK, also for me), whale watching, Ferry to Victoria, etc. other recs?) and have arranged for babysitters for 6 nights so Wife and I can EAT real food. During the days I plan to hit Salumi (gimme culatello)no less than 8 times (just finished reading Buford's "Heat" and have eaten multiple times at Mario Battali's restaurants in NY). Will also hit Matt's, I'll solo at Nishino one night and we're staying at the Fairmont so Shuckers looks good (more oyster recs please?!). So far planning Mistral, Dahlia Lounge, Harvest Vine , Wild Ginger and trying to choose among Herbfarm, Lampreia and Crush. Waddya say?

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  1. Lose Wild Ginger and Herbfarm (for different reasons), add Lark and Union. (Some would also say Veil, but I have no opinion.) To a lesser extent, I predict that you will be underwhelmed by Dahlia, and Lampreia can be wildly uneven.

    Just my .02.

    2 Replies
    1. re: purefog

      I've seen the negatives on the board about wild Ginger but the wife insisted. Having said that, are we better off at the satay bar than the restaurant? Why not Herbfarm? Lark, Union and Veil were on my first cut list so I'm willing to reconsider. Give me more.

      1. re: guttergourmet

        Wild Ginger is fine (it was great at it's old location). But....if you can convince your wife to make a change, I would suggest Monsoon. Better Food, Better Atmosphere.

    2. When at the Space Needle/Science Museum, I would suggest lunch at Tup Tim Thai--lower Queen Anne, on Roy, I believe (kiddy corner from KFC) my son loves the pad thai noodles, so your 7 year old should be fine there, too. I also go for pad thai there and my husband is all about there Panang curry. It's better than Wild Ginger any day of the week. For a dinner I'd recommend Osteria La Spiga on Capital Hill. Fresh made noodles...I'd go lasanga or if they have it, squash ravioli. Another fun lunch place would be Red Mill Burgers--found on Phinney Ridge and lower Magnolia...and maybe one more location that I'm blanking on. Get a chocolate/peanut butter shake--they use chunky p.b. and they're fabulous.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hungrymom

        Red Mill-I think they were on the GQ 20 burgers you must eat before you die list. Thanks.

        1. re: guttergourmet

          Almost forgot. We have a place in NYC called the Donut Plant-best donuts in the universe. I've heard that Top Pot is comparable. Any opinions?

      2. i agree but i would add Herbfarm back in (possibly at the top of your list) and the bar at Union (where you can get both bar menu and full menu), over Dahlia Lounge, Harvest Vine , Wild Ginger, Lampreia and Crush. Herbfarm is best on a Sunday when you can do the garden tour and earlier seating.

        1. I realize I'm in the minority on this, but I've never been a fan of Union, despite having gone several times hoping to be won over. Service is uneven and I have never had a particularly memorable meal there.

          If you must do Wild Ginger, try it for lunch. I believe the full menu is available and that way you don't lose one of your dinners.

          I also think you'll like Lark better than Crush and recommend you keep Harvest Vine in your top 5, especially if you can snag a seat at the copper-top bar.

          1. I agree with lunch rather than dinner at Wild Ginger. During lunch they have several noodle dishes not available during dinner (Nonya noodles, Seven Elements soup (khao soi), Yin Yang noodles (ask them to add duck), Thai noodles (not really Thai as far as i can tell but still good)), plus prices are cheaper. Satay bar is ok but I would request the sunny dining room with windows looking out on Union ave if possible.

            1. Wild Ginger has a children's menu and my 7 year old loves the noodles (also panko-coated chicken strips and fried rice, I believe). Perhaps you could go on one of your non-sitter nights.

              1. Never been to donut plant (I've read about it, though); you will not be disappointed in Top Pot. Both locations are beautiful and the donuts are so beautiful and greasy (in the best way). Just the smell makes me weep.

                1. I agree with the opinion to drop the ginger and add monsoon.

                  in another respect, it's hard to reccomend anything to a foodie from a world class city! This town has a lot of mediocre food, Seattlites are often impressed when food comes to the table cooked properly, despite being uninspired.

                  that being said, I would avoid anything tom douglass. I know most won't agree with me.

                  tacos guyamas makes a good burrito.

                  1. We all have our own opinions here. Definitely hit a Tom Douglas restaurant. Dahlia is the original, Palace Kitchen and Lola are also quite good. Herbfarm is unique experience I doubt you could get in NY. If you can go on a Sunday they do a garden tour prior which is excellent.

                    I love Nishino. Get the tuna sashimi salad, my husband dreams about it. I'm not a fan of Wild Ginger. It's not bad, just not a great value for what it is and there are several better Asian restaurants in town. Mistral is excellent and a lovely dining experience.

                    I've had disappointing experiences at Harvest Vine. It's really the only authentic tapas restaurant here, but not nearly as good as I've had in other cities. Service is poor, prices are high for small portions.

                    Try Union, I had a lovely experience there. Great northwestern cuisine.

                    For oysters try the Brooklyn across from the Seattle Art Museum.

                    Top Pot donuts are quite good and large. Raspberry glazed is their specialty.

                    I would skip Chinese and Italian food here since you can get it much better back home.

                    The Fairmont has a nice indoor pool, make sure you bring your suits.

                    1. What about elemental@gasworks? It's definitely a unique dining adventure, and they might even get a table if they show up early.

                      Recent posts on the board seem to show that Phred's been behaving better...

                      1. Go to Herbfarm if you want a banquet-style meal. Everyone gets the same tasting menu. Really quite disappointing.

                        Reiterating the dropping of Wild Ginger for Monsoon. Lunch at Green Leaf or Malay Satay Hut are also good choices. But, I can't say this enough, even if you have to go to Wild Ginger, make sure you don't miss Monsoon!

                        None of the Tom Douglas restaurants are worth wasting on a meal. The chef at Lampreia is a jerk, and the service reflects as such. I love Crush and highly recommend it. If not for the throngs of newbies htting it after the Food and Wine accolades came out, I'd be there much more often.

                        Elemental at Gasworks will alsoprovide a wonderful dining experience for you. Just let them do the driving, and you won't be dissapointed.

                        Also add Lark to the list.

                        I'll see you at Salumi and Mistral!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hhlodesign

                          Absolutely try Elemental at Gasworks -- you won't find anything like it in NY, but first see Terrier's recent post about things you need to know that you won't learn from their website (linked by foodiegrl). You'll need your sitter to come early (4 pm) and you'll want to get there no later than 5 to make it to their first seating (it fills quickly and tables are usually not available for their second seating until 8 or so). Allot at least four hours for your meal. And definitely plan to take a cab home, as there'll be a LOT of wine.

                          Re oysters, I've never managed to make it to Elliot's early enough for their graduated oyster happy hour (starts at 3 pm for 50 cents each (I think) and prices go up every half hour -- double-check the accuracy of this) but according to all reports it's one of Seattle's best bargains. (Maybe work it in with a trip to the Aquarium.) The Brooklyn is fine for oysters and cocktails during happy hour (they tend to discount a couple of varieties each day), but not much else.

                        2. Another New Yorker heading for Seattle mid Aug. When I lived in Seattle I didn't have the financial wherewithall to visit expensive restaurants. So on my return with my chef/foodie/husband I want to sample some of the best (expensive, cheap, whatever)


                          The first thing I did was make a reservation at The Herbfarm for Sunday. I've read some not very positive reviews and I've seen the restaurant is still winning awards from some respected industry folk. The whole local focus, slow food, 5+ hour production, set menu is not off putting for us. I realize that the new spacce is not as intimate or lovely as the old. But then again no one could get a reservation at the old.

                          Wild Ginger - I find it hard to believe this place is still so on the radar. I thought it was overrated when I left town 5 years ago.

                          We spoke to Tom Douglass last week at NYC fancy food show. I was suprised to find out that he's no longer cooking at any of his places. He did recommend that we go to his newest. I believe it has a mediterranean theme. Coming from one of the most greek/italian restaurant centers in NYC I wonder if it would be worth it? Comments?

                          Red Mill - I'd forgotten about this place. I can't wait to go back!! The burgers are the best in the city.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hungryastorian

                            Lola. Don't bother, except maybe for brunch. Snack and Snack Taverna in NYC are doing basically the same thing. I still prefer the Palace Kitchen.

                            Do try and make it up to La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard - you'll never have Mexican food like this in NYC. (I'm ex-NYC myself and continue to lament the lack of good Mexican food every time I go back.) This is not a tex-mex chimichangas and refried beans joint. Dinner only, no reservations.

                          2. Another recent transplant from NYC.....
                            Salumi is a great choice- go as often as possible. The lamb prosciutto is amazing, as is the sandwich w/prosciutto, Coach Farm goat cheese, and figs. I find Dahlia Lounge overrated- have never had a truly great meal there. Matt's, Nishino's, and Lark are a good choice. Haven't been to Crush or La Carta de Oaxaca, but both are high on my list.
                            Monsoon is great French-Vietnamese cuisine. Would also like to recommend Kingfish Cafe (across the street from Monsoon). Nothing really like it in NY. Great soul food. Also open for brunch and lunch. It's in my neighborhood so I tend to eat there a lot......
                            Great selections in Chinatown: Malay Satai Hut (Malaysian) and Green Leaf (Vietnamese) are already recommended. Green Leaf has fantatic soups (try anything with duck) and green mango salads. Also love Tamarind Tree for Vietnamese. More upscale, but super cheap. Pho Bac has great Pho, way better than any I've had in NYC. There's a small Japanese place I like on Jackson that has great Pork ramen with kimchee. Forget the actual name but my husband calls it Octopus with Bandana (because of the Octopus wearing a bandana sign hanging outside). Good for lunch.
                            Haven't eaten at Wild Ginger for over 6 years, but it was not great back then.
                            And finally- the best burger is a Dicks Deluxe at Dicks. Locations on lower Queen Anne and Capitol Hill.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: AimeeD

                              Octopus w/ Bandana = Takohachi. Decent lunch place for saba shioyaki or a bento.