Dahlia Lounge for one night stopover dinner in Seattle?
I've read a number of contradictory posts over the years regarding this restaurant, some enthusiastic, many condemnatory. I'm interested in current opinions concerning the place. For the price, is this a good place you'd recommend for a one-night Seattle dining experience?
BGR, It is my opinion that the negative posts about the Dahlia (and other Tom Douglas restaurants) are generally posted by people who resent his remarkable success. (These are the same people who rant against Wild Ginger after it moved from a small venue to an upscale site with a much larger size. Wild Ginger's continued success only makes their blood pressure rise even more.) I have always found the Dahlia to offer high quality food well presented. Unlike many Belltown restaurants, service is professional and friendly--not like the Night-Of-The-Living-Dead zombies that serve at many of the other Belltown venues. I think you'll enjoy the Dahlia very much.
It totally depends on what you are looking for. I like Dahlia for certain things. Is it cutting edge cuisine? No. Do they produce high quality food? Yes. I go there when I am dining with people who aren't very adventuresome eaters. That way I know I'll get a good meal too.
I have never been a particular Tom Douglas fan although not for the reasons set forth by Leper, which I find presumptuous. I have just not found the food in his restaurants particularly compelling--especially at Etta's. That said, I did go to Dahlia Lounge last weekend with out-of-town guests. They loved it and I was generally pleased with my meal. It was definitely the best Tom Douglas restaurant experience I have had. That said, can you do better elsewhere? Undoubtedly. For reasonably priced ethnic, Malay Satay Hut is strongly recommended. For higher end stuff,I have always enjoyed the Italian food at Tulio's and at Cafe Juanita. Others may have additional or different recommendations.
every one of mr. douglas's operations was wonderful when they opened and he was in the kitchen transferring his enthusiasm to the crew. now that he is a "success" (aside to leper - numbers only equal money, not quality; see mcdonalds) it is a crapshoot depending on the mood of whomever is in charge and how much they have been allowed to affect that particular kitchen. i have had good meals and bad meals at all the douglas fiefdoms and it's the element of chance that keeps me away. go to union or ray's or campagne where excellence is virtually guaranteed. btw, i love the comment about the awful service at most "in" restaurants; when the servers' haircuts cost more than the best bottle of wine, i sense trouble.....