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Best Tom Douglas Place?

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Newish to Seattle and I am yet to try a Tom Douglas Restaruant. Can anyone help me decide which one to go to on Friday? Which is your favorite? Is he as good as it seems- or is it too good to be true? Are there a better places that sum up Pacific Northwest style cooking? Thanks

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  1. I've had VERY limited experience at his places, but for me personally, the Palace Kitchen and Serious Pie are my favs. Ettas is ok but nothing special and Dahlia is pretentious and a little more for people older than myself (30). Despite my earlier thoughts of Palace Kitchen, I have come around to the idea that there are very few places out there that serve American food at the level of quality they do at Palace.

    1. I agree with eternalx. Palace Kitchen serves American food that actually has taste. Think about it, almost all "flavorful food" is ethnic. (Blame Sysco, I do.) The Palace serves earthy food seasoned well. Their cheese plates are excellent and their drinks robust. Its definitely not metrosexual fare.

      1. I've had a few Friday nights at Lola in the past few months (didn't want to deal with the wait at Serious Pie). Terrific grazing through their spreads on tasty pita, ideal greek salad, yummy lamb something, goat cheese turnovers. Oh and how I could forget their incredible rhubarb margarita, gentle pink, delightful sips of spring. I'm also a fan of the Palace Kitchen but lately have been enjoying getting to know Lola's. And yes - I do think Tom D. is good. He & his folks know local. Some rainy day at noon, park yourself at the bar at the Dahlia and enjoy a crabcake lunch and a glass of wine.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Janer

          Janer, have you had the crabcakes at The Met? (for comparision) I haven't tried the cakes at the Dahlia, but LOVE The Met's.

          1. re: SeaSybarite

            I haven't but now I will - thanks for the tip! And with crab season set to open soon I'm also dusting off my copy of Tom D's Crab Cake cookbook...too fun.

            1. re: Janer

              Right On! I have difficulty with most crab cakes, as they're too rich, or too bready, too little crab, or too whatever. Seems like The Met's are "just right".
              Order a glass of some nice crisp sauv. blanc, and you're in business!
              Crab season jsut starting? I thought Dungeness is caught in winter. Are you here?

              1. re: SeaSybarite

                The Ballard Market picked up the crab-cake sceptor right where Larry's dropped it, if you want a serious Dungeness feed.

        2. I agree with the comments and descriptions posted here. Each location has a unique personality so you don’t think of his restaurants as being part of a chain.
          If you see Tom Douglas around town stop and say “Hi”. You’ll find that in addition to running some of the best restaurants in town he is really a nice, approachable guy.

          1. I mentioned my recommendation for Palace in another thread.

            TD's places all have very different feels to them. (I haven't been to Serious Pie yet). To me, Dahlia Lounge is the most "formal", "traditional" of them all. I like it, but I'm never expecting to be blown away. I'm not a fan of Etta's. I make damn good seafood and I don't want to pay someone outrageous prices to do that for me. That said, I do recommend it to folks who are visiting or don't have the ability to cook on their own. Lola is fun and different and has good greek-inspired food. But Palace Kitchen is my favorite. I didn't like it the first time I went. My husband and I went on "date night". I was expecting something a little more.....formal, I think. As soon as I understood and embraced the fact that this is the 'kitchen of the palace', you know, where the staff hangs out, I went there with a different expectation and attitude. Now it's my go to place for late night, pre show, drinks and nibbles in the bar, group dining (where we might be a bit a tad loud), etc.

            1. apples and oranges (and kiwi and carambola, too) - each of mr. douglas's establisments is quite different and comparisons are inherently unfair - BUT the mother church at dahlia lounge is, WHEN IT WORKS, a glorious temple of pacific northwestiness. sadly, the douglas empire seems to have grown such that the quality at each location is a bit of a crapshoot; there are other non-douglasian 'temples' where the celebrants of the mysteries are more consistent (ergo, where i prefer to spend my money) but jme1beachbum will appreciate union better after a visit to dahlia.

              1 Reply
              1. re: howard 1st

                Thanks H-1st. I like the philosophical side of fine dining. I have actually been looking foward to Union- it seems to have the best reviews on the boards. I will take janer & howards advice tho and try Dahlia's crabcakes for lunch and then a nice dinner at Union. Them Palace kitchen for a lowkey evening. Thanks for the tips!

              2. Is Crave associated with TD? I like that place.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Nikiforos

                  no

                  1. re: dagrassroots

                    ty--do you know the story w/ Crave? I had a great dinner there for a very fair price (sorry for the tangent).

                    1. re: Nikiforos

                      Info about Crave
                      http://www.cravefood.com/about.html

                      1. re: dagrassroots

                        ty

                        1. re: Nikiforos

                          I live Crave. It's unfortunate that I don't make it there more often. Food has always been good and I dig the atmosphere.

                2. I've only tried Serious Pie, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Not what i expected(not sure i'd call it pizza--maybe "boutique" pizza), but very well done. Try the new morel/arugula pesto pie. Mmmm...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

                  1. Only been to Dahlia, and was not extremely impressed...very expensive, and not all that great...Wish I had gone to Palace Kitchen instead.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jinet12

                      Lola is my least fav of the Douglas empire. Kabobs have been dry and tasteless each of the three times I've tried the place. I won't go back. Will head to Icon or the Steelhead Diner instead.

                    2. Been to Etta's and it was good..not outstanding..
                      Stayed at the Hotel Andra where Lola's is and tried to eat there but walked out after waiting over 10 minutes for someone to take our order..
                      I called the corporate office and left a message for Tom Douglas and he never got back to me..Personally, I think there are better restaurants out there in Seattle.