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Feb 20, 2007 01:02 PM

<SEA> Steelhead Diner

Checking out the new place Vivanda used to occupy, tomorrow. I'm interested in hearing about any experiences.

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  1. loved the beef short rib with grits (sort of like a faux bone marrow) and gremolata, although a bit pricey for what you get. will definitely be back.

    1. Have been twice for lunch. Really liked the fried chicken spring roll--good textures; yummy, crisp, hot fried chicken. Salad with dried chukkar cherries was amazing the first time, overdressed the second time. Fried chicken sandwich was fine, but not impressive. BBQ pork sandwich was too vinegary for my taste. Liked the chocolate cake a lot, but it turned out to be too much for lunch. Was glad to be able to get fresh-squeezed lemonade. Space is nice, and service was fairly good.

      6 Replies
      1. re: not the bad Steve

        they must've changed the recipe for the pork sandwich, cuz the one i had knocked my socks off (no vinegar that I could tell), has my vote for best sandwich in Seattle (topping even Matt's catfish sandwich). A wet dream on a bun. Was going to order a bowl of their yummy gumbo too but was too full.

          1. re: barleywino

            I had the pork sandwich today based on your stirring recommendation. And yes, I too love Matt's catfish sandwich. The pork sandwich was incredibly tasty. No vinegar, but nice roast garlic jus that gave it a wonderful flavor. Now if they could only do something about those fries.

            1. re: bbqer

              how about some nice shoestring fries w/ truffle salt, or a nice au poivre gravy ? ;)

              1. re: barleywino

                Perfect! When do you want to open our new place? :-)

                1. re: bbqer

                  as soon as i perfect my recipe for roast suckling pig with crackling skin (i wish)

        1. Had dinner there last night. It's total comfort food. I think the prices and portions are in line with other restaurants in the area. Had a good buttermilk fried chicken sandwich and fried with Beechers cheese curd and a side of country sausage gravy. Also shared some pasta with a porcini sauce, but it really just tasted like mac and cheese. Damn good mac and cheese I might add. Good service, piping hot food, and a little I'll probably be back for another sandwich sometime soon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TruDiner

            did you get that kooky waitress too? friendly staff including the chef.

            1. re: blackjsus

     PS.actually i only thought the lunch short rib was a bit small, the dinner shortrib was more than generous. Be sure to try the "slice of caviar pie", a savory riff on lemon meringue pie (with chopped egg instead of lemon, and topped with various caviars)

            2. Finally ended up here for dinner despite my Brooklyn-native wife's semiotic bias against a place with $20+ mains calling itself a diner. We stuck to shallow end of the menu - I got the pork sandwich, she the chicken. We shared a salad and the hominy cakes. The salad and mains were quite good (except for the worthless fries - they were "authentic" diner fries, like what you'd see at Denny's. In this case, authenticity is not a good thing.)

              The real standout, though, was the side of hominy cakes. Terrific! I think we'll be back to try some other dishes just on the strength of that one item.

              My only real complaint (besides the Maximilien-esque brunch prices and the blah fries) is the menu is not very well curated. Good combinations of starters, mains and sides are not immediately obvious. The menu offers no clue as to portion size beyond the handful of entrees apparently available in full- and half-price plates. Many of the entrees mention vegetables included (but in what quantity?), while the presence of sides on the menu suggests a strictly a la carte approach to ordering. If a la carte is the mode, it should be clear. Personally, while I'm glad I could order the hominy cakes at will, I prefer the 2-tier Palace Kitchen model of starters and small plates on one side and entrees that come with veg and starch selected for them on the other.

              With the benefit of hindsight, I can't imagine a normal-sized human eating a side and full-sized entree in one sitting. We both walked out with half our mains in takeaway boxes because the side order of (scrumptions) hominy cakes was so large. Next time, we might go for a side and a half-entree to see if that works better. I don't know that every diner will have that patience, though - IMO, the upscale diner/comfort food concept would work better with a menu that didn't inspire so much confusion.

              1 Reply
              1. re: terrier

                I love the hominy cakes. They alone would get me back there.

                Those fries! Aren't they awful?! We were told that they chose to use Simplot (or the like) because they wanted consistency and couldn't control the starch content otherwise. Tell that to Sambar or any of the other places around town doing fantastic fries. They really need to fix that pronto.