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Seattle - 24 hrs in two weeks

I've only been to Seattle once before (about 2 yrs ago) and had wonderful meals at Lark, Lampreia among others.

Going to be back in town in two weeks and have perhaps one lunch and one dinner opportunity with a group of four. Read the recent thread "Crush vs. Sitka & Spruce".

Thinking about trying Sitka & Spruce for lunch and then either Union, Crush or Tavolata for dinner but need some guidance from locals. I'm seeking great execution and passion in the kitchen and front of the house; some energy in the room vs. quiet (not seeking the most romantic venue for this particular trip). The reviews I've read about S&S have been awesome. Should I go for dinner and risk a wait? Is the dinner vibe much better than lunch?

Other dinner recommendations you prefer instead of those mentioned? Thanks!

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  1. Maybe you can compare the menu offerings at each? Tavolata is pretty rustic and simple in its menu offerings but a great vibe. UNion has occasional spurts of brilliance but overall seems no longer as innovative as it used to be (seems to be coasting on more or less the same menu), maybe the passion has gone now that Ethan is busy with his other ventures? not as much energy in the room either. Please let us know where you end up!

    9 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      Thanks. Rustic is just fine. sounds like Tavolata is what you prefer.

      How about Tilth? Your opinion on Crush and others?

      1. re: boshtx

        actually if i had to rank the choices you mention, i would say, Crush, then Tilth, then Union, then (much further down) Tavolata (i don't think vibe makes up for unexceptional food, unfortunately, ymmv) Tilth is more humble/homey in atmosphere and presentation than say Crush but has equally interesting food which lets the natural flavors shine through and the passion which you mention is definitely there. IF you had more time and $$$ and were looking for a different experience I would suggest considering Herbfarm in Woodinville (before Chef Jerry Traunfeld leaves to open his own place)

        1. re: barleywino

          I have to disagree with barleywino here, I don't think that Tavolata has unexceptional food (is that what you meant to say?). The vibe is definitely better at Tavolata than any of the other restaurants and the food is very good too. It's just much more rustic than the others. I like Crush - and it has a bit of a vibe. Union has a great vibe in the bar. No vibe at Tilth and my breakfast there was so bad that I'm hesitant to try it for dinner.

          1. re: Lauren

            i agree with Lauren, these are all good places, it just depends what you are in the mood for...the only solution is to hop from bar to bar at each place and taste them all!

            1. re: barleywino

              Come on Seattle Hounds!! Need you to step up and take a stand!

              Sitka & Spice for lunch?? Dinner??

              Dinner at Crush? Or, back to Lampreia or Lark or elsewhere???

              i'm counting on you! Thanks.

              1. re: boshtx

                i think if you reread the posts and threads you can see where each poster stands-- step up and take a chance (and let us know where you end up!) or put your email on your profile so people can contact you offline without rehashing old discussions on the board, thx

                1. re: boshtx

                  Dinner at Sitka & Spruce or Crush, whichever you can get into. Tavolata is good, but not in the same realm.

                  1. re: bergeo

                    Thanks and here's the quick review as I just returned home.

                    Sitka & Spruce - lunch on Wed around 12:30, walked in and luckily found room at the communal table after ordering at the counter. My two companions and I made friends with 3 others at our table and took in the surroundings. This is a special place. Truly only about 200 square feet of seating area in front and open view to the kitchen. Chalkboard menu and wine list. Fantastic vibe. Maybe seating for about 20 total? We sampled the beet green soup, hangar steak sandwich, arugula and farm egg salad, and trout and cucumber tartine. If I lived in Seattle this easily becomes my favorite place without question. From the incredibly small but character filled room to the cool staff, and finally the flavorful and honest food - rustic but contemporary and exceedingly well executed. This is a must must must go for any foodie visiting Seattle. I can only imagine how dinner must be, albeit, I can imagine one must be prepared to wait or else arrive promptly upon opening. I hope it doesn't change a bit before my next trip.

                    Dinner at Crush was outstanding. Great table across from the open kitchen. Our waiter messed up our order and ended up comping two extra entree's so the three of us ended up sharing four starters and then five main dishes. Walla Walla onion tart was totally enjoyable; lobster ravioli delicious and fois gras nicely seared and a solid dish. Entrees including seared salmon, halibut, lamb rack and seared scallops were all fresh, beautiful plated and with great flavor. I think the scallops were the table favorites with the lamb and salmon a close second. Only miss in my opinion was a heavy hand with the truffle oil on the fifth entree - a short rib dish that was just overwhelmed by the oil. Desserts of a "study of cherries" plate with four different preparations and a nicely executed dark chocolate number were wonderful. Service was top notch, wine list very interesting with a great number of WA and OR choices. They have a great restaurant and do the little things right such as bringing a 1 oz taste of a malbec over to see if I liked it, and serving us the two extra entrees instead of simply keeping them for the staff. Overall a really great fun meal.

                    Oh, also got to see the way cool Huge REI Sports store just north of downtown.

                    1. re: boshtx

                      Thanks for reporting back-- so few people do! Next time try the stuffed chicken roulade w/ tagliatelle, chanterelles & duck egg yolk at Crush-- I normally never order chicken but this one (cooked sous vide, like a lot of their stuff) was the bomb...

      2. When faced with a short period in a location, I like to do progressive - try appetizers at one place, entrees at another. Especially good when you have a group that doesn't mind sharing food. Hubby and I and another couple did Victoria BC one year - 7 restaurants in 1.5 days using this method. Enjoy!

        1. Argosy cruise.They have brunch,lunch and dinner.