HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >


Tom Douglas restaurants and other recos? (seattle)

Which one is good? I saw him on Iron Chef and wanted to try when I visit.

Going to Salumi as well for lunch...tips?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Xericx, The interesting thing about Tom's 4 restaurants is how they differ from each other. (In cooking styles, menu's, decor, etc.) By far, the strongest is The Dahlia Lounge. However, Palace Kitchen offers very earthy foods with a more boisterous atmosphere. Etta's is the weakest of the four but still quite good. I would recommend LOLA for breakfast (Tom's Big Breakfast of grilled octopus, pork belly and eggs) and Palace Kitchen for dinner. LOLA, Palace Kitchen and The Dahlia Lounge are all located on the same block (!) so you can review the menu's in the windows, look at their style and decide.
    Have fun at Salumi, it's a gem.

    1. when tom douglas was still at the point that he worked every day in the kitchen of dahlia, the food was consistently inventive and delicious. now that he is an author, the manufacturer of various products and national culinary personality, the cuisine at all his places is produced by hired employees without owner supervision and varies according to their moods; it differs from appleby's only in scale. lola was wonderful for a few weeks when it opened during which he was in the kitchen constantly (indeed, all his places opened stunningly) but is now just as unpredictable as any of his other places - i go to dahlia/palace/etta's like i used to go to fisherman's wharf when i lived in san francisco; only at the insistence of guests who just have to try it for themselves. much better that you go somewhere like union or ray's or il bistro where the chef is in the kitchen rather than on airplanes.

      3 Replies
      1. re: howard 1st

        Howard, comparing Tom Douglas' restaurants to Applebys is simply rediculous. I had dinner at the Dahlia a couple weeks ago and found the food delicious and the service excellent. It seems like you are putting Tom down for being successful. He has worked hard to get where he is and he treats his employees well. Note: I have no professional connection to Tom Douglas' enterprises.

        1. re: howard 1st

          You equate Dahlia to Applebee's and then go on to recommend Ray's and the ever in decline Il Bistro? Whoa. I smell a bit of bitterness. Hounds, I've been in the service industry forever and the Dahlia has been consistenly superior to most other Seattle restaurant offerings for all of my 8 years in this city. (I'll refrain from the "when I lived in.." qualifiers.) If I had anything to say to the poster, it'd be bring a book when you go to Salumi. I can't wait in that line anymore.

          Oh, and Howard Pike Place Creamy is THE place to go to refill your saucer.

          1. re: maggie

            bitter, indeed, at spending first quality cash on third quality food and service and then having one's motives questioned. i have been in hospitality for 30 years, at the range, at the door and in the classroom and recommend those places which i have personally found to consistently maintain high standards of food and service with little regard for the fluff of press agentry and marketing mavens. btw, i am a one of nancy at the creamERY's steadiest customers; you may benefit from her new line of raw milk products.

        2. None of them. The only one that comes close to palatable is Palace Kitchen.

          Salumi is a decent choice, though.

          1. Palace Kitchen is my fave TD restaurant. It's more casual and has a "party" atmosphere. If you are going soon, you can have the deep fried corn on the cob, which is one of the more interesting and tasty things I have eaten recently.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lauren

              Going in a week or two....I like the party atmosphere..kinda looking for that.....

            2. How does anyone compare a sandwich shop like Salumi to Tom Douglas' establishments? I don't get it. As for the Appleby's reference, perhaps the writer had things confused with the corporate owners of Icon Grill.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TheDexter

                Unless I missed someone else comparing Salumi to TD restaurants, the original poster stated they wanted to go to a TD restaurant and asked which one was good. They also mentioned they would be going to Salumi on the same visit but I don't think it was meant to compare the two.

              2. the success of TD's restaurants are the result of clever marketing. don't waste your time with any of them. even palace, the only one worth mentioning, has deteriorated gravely in the past five years. the emperor has no clothes, my friend, and it is not a pretty sight.

                salumi is in a class by itself, far superior to any of Douglas's offerings. here's an insider's tip: get there early, when they open, before the lunch rush. since there are only a few tables, anytime after 11:30 is a crap shoot.

                or do as i do: call in your order in advance, skip to the front of the line, traipse happily away, and eat at home or outside. it's heaven.

                1 Reply
                1. re: serafina pekkala

                  or call early and go late, as I do, regularly (usually about 2:30).
                  Find out what's on the (weekly) specials menu and ask them to reserve your choice for you. I do this often, as a fellah can only eat so many salami sandwiches, as grand as they are, before a nice soup, or an interesting, home-style (if you live in Italy) pasta, or a Tuscan vegetable dish sounds like lunch. This is a place you will tell grandchildren about, but it is not forever, so don't waste any time...

                2. If Palace Kitchen is lousy now by comparison to 5 years ago, I can't imagine what it must have been like.

                  I first walked in at random one day last year just after I'd moved from New York, knowing nothing of Tom Douglas or the restaurant. It became then, and remains, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I don't care if TD never sets foot in the place - I've never had anything bad there, ever, and I'm there at least once a month. It's been, in my experience, far more consistently excellent than Ray's, Il Bistro, or even Union.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: terrier

                    Salumi, again. How silly. A sandwich shop vs. Dahlia. Wow.

                    1. re: TheDexter

                      I much prefer Salumi to every visit I've made to Dahlia since its relocation.

                      1. re: TheDexter

                        TheDexter, your construction of "sandwich shop"-v-"real restaurant" is quite sad.
                        we're talking a stellar salumi -v- an embarrassingly mediocre dahlia. it's a no-brainer.

                        1. re: serafina pekkala

                          And, if you pay attention, you can skip the sandwich and eat the seasonal specials. This is where Armandino's second heart lives (though I am persistently thrilled with the salumi). Stuffed zucchini, rebollito, dente pasta with guanciale, pesto artichokes, gnoccho frito with prosciutto, fresh gnocchi with lamb sauce, minted chiled pea soup, eggplant tialla, Panzanella salad, fresh mozzarella (made there daily) Caprese when tomatoes and basil are in the market. The list of Italian-home dishes is long and satisfying. "Sandwich shop" is a cheap shot by somebody who seems to have an agenda, imho, as these are not the only offerings, and if they were, Armandino's table still reflects stellar value. It is shallow and unfair to dismiss him so glibly.
                          Do yourself a favor and join the table at Salumi for fine slow food, after 2:30.