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Sep 14, 2006 04:27 AM


I recently saw a place called Boka in downtown (pioneer sqaure area) while heading to a mariners game. The menu looks interesting with items like "tongue and cheek"(veal cheeks with uni). Has anyone been there?

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  1. I've been for drinks and nibbles. The food varied from great (lobster croquettes) to good (crab cakes) to bad (duck and waffles). The drinks were too sweet for my tastes.

    1. I've been there about four times, both lunch and dinner. It's sexy and chic. Not something you want to do pre or post game. Nice fish selections, salads are all good. Some of the appetizer presentations remind me of what nouvelle foodies were crazed about back in the roaring 80's - early 90's ie, tiny portions, colorful sauces, presentation, and not remembering a thing about it the next day. Agreed about some of the drinks, the descriptions are tempting but sweet. Stay with top shelf champagne or scotch and you'll be happy.

      Lighting and interior were definitely planned to the last detail. However, so many places have followed the Ian Shrager, W Hotel/Starwood, Andre Balacz thing..this is already dated a bit. Waterfront restaurant Pier 70 had the multi changing light show in 2000.

      BOKA is thankfully under separate management from Hotel 1000 and menu reflects it with creative ideas. Too soon to know what, if any, are their signature dishes. Also, beware the place settings, silver, dishes, ramikens, etc etc. Five minutes doesn't go by during lunch than something is being replaced, removed, moved around, re-arranged or otherwise fussed with. The attention is cool for about twenty minutes, then it's a problem. No doubt this has to do with being brand new. Staff is ultra motivated and ready to show us what they know.

      Parking in area is difficult. You'll be walking from Viaduct unless you go with valet parking, at least until 9:00pm or so.

      I really like the place, but I am in L.A., Miami, NY to do this type of dining. We'll see how Seattle reacts to it. BOKA's core audience will be guests of Hotel 1000 and weekend warriors who couldn't get in the bar @ W that night.

      Happy dining.

      2 Replies
      1. re: TheDexter

        That's funny - I went on monday and my date & I decided "W wannabes'.
        We liked the duck & waffles and lobster croquettes. I had sashimi app that had not much hamachi and a tangly salad that kind of detracted. He had the 'shake & bake' chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn - OK, the chicken dish is not the place where restaurants tend to show off, but nothing bold or original about that one. I had bouillabaisse, 5 clams and a nicely cooked piece of halibut. Good, not a 'wow'. Both entrees were around $19. Desserts were $8, he had the ice cream sandwich that was vanilla ice cream between two kinda freezer burnt (in texture) thin layers of cake. it came with a little espresso float thing that I think was just a macchiatto. I had the creme fraiche cheesecake with candied fennel and peaches. i liked the idea, but somehow it didn't all come together for me, I don't know if the cheesecake tasted a little off (in a 'where has this been stored and what have the line cooks been contaminating the creme fraiche with' kind of way) or maybe the fennel oil/syrup just didn't do it for me.
        Overall, nothing bad per se, cool tableware, service was very friendly if not quite on top of everything, prices didn't seem unreasonable, but still not the best $102 (before tip) I've spent.

        1. re: TheDexter

          In my recent visit I found BOKA a little fussy and precious. I agree, also, with the comment on the starters, "tiny portions, colorful sauces, presentation, and not remembering a thing about it the next day." Drinks overall on the sweet side. It's a cozy spot and pleasant enough for happy hour but I don't know I found much that met the promise of the restaurant's name.

        2. Nice review! You certainly remembered the experience.

          1. This place is terrible. The restaurant is so dark you cannot read a menu or see what you are eating, and for a good reason. You will spend a lot of money for microscopic portions of overrated food. Duck and Waffle is literally a one square inch waffle with some shredded meat on top. It was awful. Expect to pay high prices for miniscule food which is forgettable. Clearly the draw here is the "beautiful people"