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<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 kooky...so 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

              http://www.steelheaddiner.com/menus/d... 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.

              2. Lauren, It's the sugar in the potatoes that determines if they will make good fries. I know of several top restaurants that test their potatoes with Diabetes testing kits to insure uniformity and quality. Using Simplot's dreck is a cop-out.

                1. at the risk of starting a food fight, i hereby declare that steelhead diner has THE BEST CRABCAKE ON THE PLANET complimented by a luscious sauce and witty beet straw garnish. the superb collard greens demand bread to sop up the 'pot likker' and the heirloom potatoes manage the difficult job of getting garlic crispy without burning. the gumbo is wonderful (the chef worked at arnaud's) but, for my taste, it has insufficient liquid and is more stew than soup. our waiter was a bit confused but service has long been the bane of american restaurants. will certainly be back and with friends....

                  1. I had lunch today with a friend. Very attentive and well versed server. Lovely space, and a great view.
                    We shared the "Caviar Pie' and found it really tasty and well conceived. The Gumbo was good, but missing some depth of flavor. The Pork Sandwich was fine, but a little bland. Really needed the side of cherry peppers.Fries were as bad as previously discussed.
                    I'll go back but will try other items.

                    1. We're going out to Steelhead tonight. I am really looking forward to it. I might just report back.

                      1. they have fried smelts today! not sure how long the supply will last though. apparently availability is spotty.

                        1. Chef gave me a sample of the fried smelts today, and boy were they great. Light and crispy. I tried the roast pork sandwich and loved it. And I happen to really like the fries, I am sick of all those "hand-cut" fries that are not cooked all the way through. I think Chef makes pretty much everything else -- has the bread made to his specifications, and those sandwich rolls are sooooooo good.

                          1. Okay guys, how's the wine list? Apparently, they've picked up a Washington Wine Commission (WWC) 2007 "Washington Wine Grand Award". Since the restaurant has just recently opened, does this speak more to the merits of their wine list OR the questionable criteria of the WWC's selection process? Nothing against Steelhead, I just question an "award" coming this quickly?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: fooddawg

                              I like the restaurant fine but the wine list is nothing special. It's fairly short and just has NW wines on it which umm aren't too hard to find at any local store. Sounds like PR hype.

                            2. It is an all Washington and Oregon wine list. This month, March, is Washington Wine Month, and I suspect that handing out this award to the recently opened Steelhead Diner is good PR and advertising. That said, it takes nothing away from a great local selection.

                              1. Went last night after hearing about it on here. I live just down the street and was looking for another good place to regular, but this isn't it. My crab roll had a lot of crab on it but was pretty mediocre for $16. Wife had the orzo with shrimp. The shrimp were very nicely seasoned but the orzo was a bad combination of too much cumin and too watery. Would not get that again. Friends had the beet tartare and the burger. Burger was cooked perfectly and they said it was very good. I have to say i am partial to regular rolls though for burgers and not the cut bagette idea.

                                In the end, i thought it was a bit overpriced and mediocre, but better than most things in the market. Certainly a lot better than Pike Place Brewery. I would go back for lunch or a beer and a sandiwch, but I don't think I'd order any of the mains.

                                1. For weekend brunch, the Steelhead Diner offers the only true chicken fried steak you'll find in Seattle. Combined with their terrific Blood Mary's, you'll get a preview of what Heaven is really like.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Walters

                                    For chicken fried steak, try Geraldine's Counter. It's much better than Steelhead's. The one I had at Steelhead had a soggy crust. Geraldine's is much closer to what I had in Austin.

                                    1. re: Lauren

                                      Geraldine's menu shows the chicken fried steak only for breakfast. Can you special order it for dinner, or is it a special?

                                      1. re: jaydeflix

                                        Hmmm, I'm not sure. I've only been there for breakfast.

                                        1. re: Lauren

                                          Darn. I've never been a big fan of eggs and prefer my chicken fried steak with mashed taters and something else =)

                                          I know Bad Albert's in Ballard had a monday night chicken fried steak special for a while. Not sure if they still do.

                                      2. re: Lauren

                                        if you ordered dungeness crabcakes or steamed mussels in austin, would you be unhappy at receiving less-than-seattle quality or satisfied just to be served something vaugely edible? while i think the chicken-fried steak at steelhead (and at geraldine's) is quite good, comparing it to one from texas is like looking for good bbq here - or pastrami - or caldo gallego - or hoagies - ain't gonna happen so take joy in the incredible goodness that presents itself in our little culinary heaven - make mine a black cod kasusake on a bed of steamed fiddleheads....