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Anyone been to the Corson Building yet?

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I love Sitka & Spruce and was thinking about getting a res at the Corson Building? Any reviews?

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  1. all i can say is wow. went on Sat night and it was like being fed at a dinner party at Matt's house. food was amazing. ambiance is very rustic, but very pleasant. It will not please everyone. there is no menu, dining is communal and everything is served family style. course were spread out, so it was a long leirsurely evening. between places like this and gypsy dinners, i am spoiled on restaurants forever.

    8 Replies
    1. re: bluedog67

      what did you eat?

      1. re: barleywino

        5 courses, various salads, fish and meats. roasted lamb, tongue, poussin. things fresh from the garden, from small farms or foraged locally. farm to table style. no fancy plating, just big platters of food being passed around.

        1. re: bluedog67

          And about how much, pricewise?

          1. re: GreenYoshi

            $80 pp or $110 with wine....for 5 courses, plus passed oysters and champagne, it really wasn't outrageous. And there was a lot of food, enough for seconds of most things. if the style of dining is your thing, it was fantastic. i just anticipate it not sitting well with people who like to control their choices. i, on the other had, love leaving it all up to the chef. it felt like a very personal creation just for us.

            1. re: bluedog67

              The short Seattle Weekly review said that they were given an oyster and champagne at 7 but that dinner wasn't served until 8...was that everyone else's experience too?

              1. re: christy319

                Yes, that's about right. We got there at 7, sat down around 7:30, saw the first course around 8, and wrapped up around 11. To abuse a couple of descriptive phrases, it's definitely "slow food," not "quick service."

                I'll post a more detailed writeup after I send them some private feedback. Aspects of the place are genius but there are some teething problems from my perspective.

            2. re: GreenYoshi

              I don't think they're open for lunch.... are they?

              1. re: malarkey

                not only not open for lunch but only open a few days a week. It's dinner, single seating, eat the menu of the day ...

      2. Hi,
        Had dinner there a few weeks ago on a Saturday and am still talking about it.
        Was amazing really smart pairings of flavors and ideas.
        The wines were really spot on.
        I really recommend it.

        Thanks
        J

        1 Reply
        1. re: Johnny Sunshine

          what did you eat that you found amazing?

        2. So is the food along the same lines as S&S with just a format and location change? I actually tried to get in here last weekend but they are booked a few weeks out. Went to S&S instead and loved the meal as usual.

          2 Replies
          1. re: landguy

            Sounds a lot like Elemental at Gasworks. Long service duration, great food. Elemental has the edge with "service with an attitude", but by the time your 8-10 course meal is over, the attitude is more than worth it.

            1. re: blackjsus

              yes, but the food experiences is very different. one seating, and all food is served family style and very, very rustic.

              land guy, i would say that yes, the "style" is like S&S, but even more farm to table. Matt is no longer cooking at S&S (confidence in his staff), so this is his current canvas....

          2. Went to The Corson Building last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. All the comments here about logistics (i.e., very rustic, Euro-slow dinner pace, communal tables, longish wait between 7pm arrival and first course) are accurate. Plan on making an evening of it, go with a party who can bring the dinner conversation, slow down and enjoy. Here's what we ate (Disclaimer: I'm positive my memory isn't 100% accurate; I didn't carry a notebook . Apologies to the talented kitchen if I misrepresent anything):

            - House-made ricotta tart (basil in the cheese and as much buttery goodness as you can pack into pastry) with prosecco to wash it down
            - Suckling pig brawn / pate (a terrine). Lovage and some other nice crisp flavors balanced the porky richness of the pate. Served with pickled radishes, spring onions and gooseberries from their garden
            - Heirloom tomato salad topped with walnut-size nuggets of marinated goat cheese (a bit of anchovie(?) and flat-leaf parsley in the brine). I can't remember where Matt said the tomatoes were from (a small, organic farm in Central WA) but some in-the-know types let out gasps and muffled oohs when he said the farmer's name. The tomatoes were juicy, flavorful red orange flame / auburn / green / gold beauties. All topped with crumbled pistachio nutmeats
            - Grilled whole sardines piles in loose layers with roasted green pepper, onions and fennel (+ a bit of the frond) and fried almonds
            - Quail and roasted veggies (gold and red beets, various chicories, baby zucchini). Pan sauce reduction with preserved kumquat and pomegranate seeds
            - Roasted lettuce soup. This was the only course that wasn't served family style. Each bowl was filled with the moss-green puree and topped with a chunk of softened roasted lettuce, cherry tomato halves, a splash of creme fraiche and a drizzle of oil (olive, I think)
            - Kofta (turkish-style meatballs grilled on skewers). Served with warm flatbread, aioli, and fig preserves (nice rich caramelized onion flavor in the fig jam)
            - Sauteed calamari in a savory light brown sauce with some crisp young veggies. The squid tubes were fresh and perfectly cooked -- not rubbery at all
            - Cracked emmer (farro) served with sauteed green beens
            - Cheese plate (pecorino toscano and Estrella Family Creamery Sublime [cow and goat] with amaretto-soaked apricots
            - Cookie and chocolate-mint truffles. Two cookies: one was a chewy almond cookie with a meringue quality, the other was a shortbread (hazelnut in the dough?) topped with what I think was a rhubarb/berry jam
            - Coffee

            Wine pairings were excellent. I'll spare you that diatribe if you've read this far. Standout was a white called Arbois -- French blend of chardonnay and savagnin (not savignon). It was a face punch compared to most light crisp whites -- deep straw/amber color, bourbon and caramel in the nose, good backbone and minerality carrying the dry, toasty corn notes.

            I'm not the most gregarious person alive but I also really enjoyed being seated at a table with 7 other strangers (plus the 4 total in our party). Bumping elbows with other people who were there for the love of food was a nice community experience.

            If you get a chance to go, don't pass it up!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ThreeGreenBeens

              I was there the same night. ThreeGreenBeans described the meal well. I was so glad I knoew we wouldn't eat right away, or else I would have been hungry and cranky. I thought the white tasted like a sherry; I liked it but some people at our table did not. We had a fun group at our table, too. I twould not be fun if your table is a dud, though. There was plenty of food for some courses, and small portions for the others. But you eat enough by the end. Long night, would go back.

            2. I had dinner at the Corson Building last night. Excellent dinner with a few standouts. I will briefly describe what I can remember. From the past meals described here, there seems to be some similarities with the ingredients but different preparations.
              Rabbit Pate served in the garden with a sparkling rose
              Head cheese with gooseberries, onions and radish
              Green bean and mussel salad with walnuts and a hint of cinamom (ex!)
              Calimari served two ways
              Blue cheese soufle with lovage (not family style) (ex!) very subtle
              Grilled sardines with farro and green peppers
              Rabbit cooked in olive oil over peach pits and branches (EX!) with almonds
              Salad with heirloon tomatoes from Willy's in Tonasket (ex!)
              Tritip (ex!)
              Roasted apricots with a subtle herbaly creamy sauce
              The flavors were fairly complex and not assertive. The ingredients were the true stars with herbs and other accompaninets used more of a background. It is great to set a table with people that know a lot about food because it is very fun to analyze the other things that are not necessarily mentioned about the dish. Eating there was much like the better days at the Herb Farm except more fun. It will be interesting to see how things evolve.

              6 Replies
              1. re: magfoodguy

                I ate at The Corson Building last night. A full food recap coming. It was fab, as to be expected. My biggest complaint was being stuck at a table where two of the guests didn't have the social skills to dine well with others in such a communal-style situation. Over the course of 3+ hours of dining, the couple in question (W + K) did not make eye contact once with me or my partner, did not crack a smile and made absolutely zero effort to engage other people at the table. Everyone else at the table hit it off, enjoyed the conviviality of the experience and these two sat at the end of the table like a pair of lame ducks. My advice to folks considering dining at The Corson Building -- you don't have to be the most outgoing person in the world to partake in communal dining, but a little bit of friendliness goes a long way. And heck, you may even meet some nice people, learn something along the way, even share some passion for what you are eating/drinking. People are there because they are seeking a shared dining experience -- if you don't want to interact with others, stay home or better yet, book a quiet table for two somewhere where your milquetoast personalities won't interfere with the dining enjoyment of others. I had a great meal and I absolutely adore the concept of communal dining, but seriously could have done without these two downers. Their presence really sucked.

                1. re: coastal foodgirl

                  Wow, if you were trying to hurt my feelings you did a great job. I enjoyed myself last night but the bitter pill you have just delivered me, has totally ruined the experience and my birthday. At least for W + K it was purely a dining experience and not a job search as it was for you and your partner.

                  1. re: trigirl2

                    ...And of course this is the problem with communal tables at a restaurant. Some people bring the expectation that everyone should become friends - others don't see this as essential.

                    Personally, I sometimes hit it off with others at the table but sometimes I don't. Being seated in the middle of a table at the Corson Building the last time I was there, I found the group to my left overbearing and fake (self-professed 'foodies') where the group to my right were genuinely friendly and we enjoyed a convivial meal.

                    The restaurant where I most commonly enjoy the occasional communal meal served family style with a fixed menu - Dinette (at their Sunday Suppers) - at least offers a traditional service the other 6 nights a week.

                    The Corson Building may thrive with their strong perspective without having to compromise, but it's also a place I'll visit only occasionally as a result.

                    1. re: terrier

                      I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings. My apologies. I just think the potential dining logistics/dynamic at TCB needs to be pointed out. I've shared dining tables with strangers countless times and have never encountered such a situation. Perhaps the overzealous other extreme, but heck, I'd prefer someone who's interested and has something to say or share. It's definitely something I'd take into consideration should I return again. It is extremely rare that I get to eat out purely for pleasure and I guess I just expected everyone who made a point of being there to be happy about being there and passionate about food and wine. Not even hardcore food geeks, but just some common thread for being there. And at the very least, be friendly and polite. It really doesn't take a whole lot of effort to smile or be kind to others. Every single person at the table brought something interesting, something passionate and authentic to the experience, except for those two folks who isolated themselves. It's just kind of sad to be served such killer ingredients, spend that kind of money, and not even be able to crack a smile for 3+ hours.

                  2. re: coastal foodgirl

                    this is the problem with communal tables, some people may hit it off, and other people just don't "click". unfortunatly there people who need everyone to share their beliefs to have a good dining experience, when others are pleased with the experience, common ground or not. not everyone at these places are going to fit your idea of a "perfect dining companion", and maybe your presence really sucked to them. personally, from reading your post i wouldn't have wanted to talk to you either or else who knows what you would have said about me.

                    1. re: cuy4me

                      I am from the Larry David school of communal dining which is I don't like it but have had a few pleasant experiences in spite of it where I've sat next to nice people and end up sharing food/wine and having fun. I will definitely be trying the Corson building soon and will report back on my food/communal dining experience.

                2. Four of us went last night and it was fantastic. Highlights for me were the roast chicken with peaches and hanger steak with roasted peppers, homemade yogurt and flatbread. Everything we ate was just delicious and it felt like we were in someone's dining room. It just felt so comfortable and the people who work there couldn't of been nicer. I hope to return once per season and see how the room feels as the months pass, temps drops and they light the fireplace, and try new seasonal menus.

                  1. went last night. and hmmmmm ... love matt's food have been a fan of his cooking from supreme, stumbling goat & sitka ..BUT was underwhelmed by my corson experience. The food was great but passing a cast iron dish full of food for a table of 12 while crammed on to a table that would have still been cramped with 10 .. is hardly the experience i expected. i've had similar experiences at boat street special dinners ... where the food served and the situation (utensils, table, heat of dish/platter) don't mesh properly and it's cumbersome at best and unworkable at worst.While I don't expect a plated meal I do expect enough room to move my elbows to serve myself and pass the platter.

                    1. My husband and I went to The Corson Building in mid-December. We have had a wide range of dining experiences both in Seattle as well as across the country/world and are very adventurous diners. Overall we came away from The Corson Building with a pleasant experience but the food did not wow us. Perhaps it was an off night?! Not sure. We're willing to give it another shot but my first impression was that it was just OK. One of the dishes was completely off and our fellow diners had the same impression. We will try it again because not every restaurant can be 100% all of the time and other postings at Chowhound indicate that dining at The Corson Building can be an exceptional experience.

                      The communal dining experience is always a crapshoot but is highly entertaining. The couple across from us clearly loved having an audience to discuss their financial standing while the couple next to us was noticeably feeling inadequate. The couple at an angle from us was feeling awkward all through dinner and seemingly did not enjoy dining "en masse". The party at the far end of the table ignored everyone else, for the most part, and kept to themselves. Oh, it is quite the social experiment but fun because of that!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: WandaBWild

                        Wanda, In such situations you have the opportunity to create "environmental theatre."
                        That is, you can be anyone you want to be--not necessarily your general self. For example, you can base your character from of a recent news release. (Example: the plastic surgeon that powers his SUV from liposuction fat.) Let your conversation run to experiments making duck confit from liposuction fat. It's a great way to make communal dining even more interesting....

                        1. re: Leper

                          Thank you Leper. One might say, for example:
                          "Well, it was a quite shocking, I must say -- there was blood everywhere! There was as stream of blood coming from his ear and another from his mouth. Of course, there was a huge pool of blood on the floor and his clothes were spattered with it -- Oh, it was a horrible mess. Blood all around! Well, I looked at the poor man and and I said, 'Good God, What happened to you? Do you know what he told me?"
                          >>google 'Alfred Hitchcock elevator story' and revel in the tasty opportunity..