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Crush, Union, Tilth

These are the three restaurants my wife and I going to visit on our trip tomorrow to Seattle. Your opinion? If you could substitute any restaurant for one of these three, what would you substitute and why?

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  1. Thats a tough question--all three are very good. It heavily depends on your planning, expectations and tastes, I think. Are these all evening meals? (I believe that Tilth has brunch on weekends, but for the other two dinner is the only option). If so, I would consider substituting for Tilth. In its place, I would go with Lark, Sitka & Spruce or Matt's, if you want local ingredients; Tamarind Tree, if you want Vietnamese (much less expensive); or Harvest Vine, for Spanish. Very hard to say not knowing more about your preferences than your selecting three very fine places.

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      1. I would axe all 3. The suggestion of Lark, Sitka & Spruce and Matt's in the Market is the way to go, all are spot on good choices food wise. Lark and Matt's also have alot of character. S&S does not have a great space but the food is always excellent and if you sit at the communal table you will probably meet some interesting locals to chat with. Tilth is ok but I find the food bland. Crush's food can be hit or miss but I absolutely hate the space, its cramped and loud. Union I only ate at once a long time ago and found it mediocre and overpriced and not really a destination if you are a visitor to Seattle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: landguy

          I completely agree with Landguy. Tilth served me the blandest meal I have had in many, many years. I really don't understand all the fuss about this place. I'll never go back.

        2. I would sub Sitka & Spruce or Lark for Union. I have had great meals at both Crush and Tilth. I have not had consistently great at Union, and the atmosphere always feels drab. S&S is casual, but excellent NW food. Lark is more hip in atmosphere, but I love small plates and lots of variety. Or for more casual, but also by Ethan Stowell, is How to Cook a Wolf.

          8 Replies
          1. re: cocktailhour

            We are here in Seattle and tried Matt's this afternoon. Very, very good. Union tonight, then Sitka & Spruce tomorrow (on the advice of our waitress at Matt's we substituted S&S for Crush).

            Canceled Tilth last night as we went out to see a relative in Gig Harbor. Ate at Brix 25, which was OK.

            1. re: GyroBall

              how was your experience at S&S? i think it is good for that neighborhood but overrated and that your Matt's waitress gave you a bum steer.

              1. re: barleywino

                Though I haven't been to S&S, I can say (with confidence) that my fav meal in Seattle (and there's been plenty) was at Crush.

                I'm sure S&S is good though. Slightly related topic - Corson Building? Anyone know details about that? When? What? :)

                1. re: dylinw

                  Our experience at S&S was pretty amazing. I'm not a food writer, but it was exactly the type of regional place with perfectly executed dishs we were hoping to find.

                  Crush would have been great, but three days required making some tough choices...

                  We had a beautiful dish of morels and cauliflower with herb butter, grilled spot prawns over sea beans with balsamic, a soft boiled duck egg salad with slivers of some sort of beef salami (wish I could rememebr the name), and chicken roasted with pine nuts and portobellos. Dessert was rubbarb crisp and dark chocolate crepes with orange zest. It was probably the best meal we've had since Fore Street in Portland, Maine and Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, CA.

                  We got there at 5:30 and we able to sit in on the staff's discussion of the dishes with the chef. The staff were perfect throughout the meal - attentive without being intrusive. And, we got to pour our own wine, which we really appreciate.

                  1. re: GyroBall

                    thanks for reporting back-- glad you enjoyed it!

                    1. re: GyroBall

                      I guess I need to hightail it over there!

                      Thanks for the report!

                      1. re: dylinw

                        So, we drove back to Seattle early from Vancouver, and decided to take the Board's advice (as well as our Union bartender) and go to Lark for dinner. We were pretty ambivalent about the food and experience. Like my wife said, she's glad we tried it, but probably wouldn't go back. We had the burrata, the chicken, the rouget, the mushrooms, and the steak tartare. We also had dessert - rhubarb and candied ginger crisp and the almond cake. The food was good, but produced no wow moments. While I guess you could call this is a seasonal place, it seemed like the menu didn't change each day like at Sitka & Spruce, and because they evidently get the same products from the same vendors, we saw an awful lot of repeat ingredients on the menu (asparagus and beans primarily). So I guess seasonal, sure. Daily? Not so much (not sure if anyone made that claim).

                        Also, we didn't feel we got quite as much for our money as we did at Matt's and S&S. The burrata, for example, came with (literally) 12 beans. If they were meant as garnish they should have left them off the dish description. We get the tacit agreement when eating at a place like Lark, but we still like to feel like we're getting fair value.

                        Pacing was a bit off too - I was finished my steak tartare before my wife received the chicken (and while the wait staff ate bread or something behind their counter).

                        Anyway, we loved Seattle, and 4 out of 5 good restaurant experiences is a pretty good batting average. If we had to rank, it would be:

                        Sitka & Spruce
                        Matt's
                        Union
                        Brix 25 (Gig Harbor)
                        Lark

                        Thanks to everyone for their guidance.

                        1. re: GyroBall

                          i've never had a wow moment at Lark, but have had numerous wow moments at Crush...

            2. I would avoid all 3. Union is the worst. Small plates, overly salted food and overly priced as well. I have been to Union twice, on each occasion, I had to drink loads of water to counter the extra salted food.