(SEA) Need help narrowing the field
The better-half and I will be visiting SEA for a long weekend mid-Nov after a decade's absence and would like a local's perspective on our tentative dining plan.
Arrive late Thurs, three hours behind the time: We'll probably be too tired for dining, but one of my goals is to have at least 20 beers that aren't available east of the Cascades. (Not necessarily in one sitting, but a man can dream...) Is the Tap House Grill a good choice in the downtown area, or should we look elsewhere? I am especially interested in cask ales, if they're available.
Friday: Lunch @ Salumi unless the line is too long; alternate suggestions welcome.
Supper @ Veil or Lark - It took some effort to get the res at Veil, so I'm generally inclined to go, but the website is so self-consciously hip that I'd like some reassurance that the food really *is* that good. On the other hand, Lark's no reservation policy and boisterous background noise makes me hesitant... am i right in comparing it to Avec in Chicago? A two hour wait is not acceptable for a weekend jaunt, but i absolutely refuse to grease the palms of commerce.
Saturday: Lunch @ Matt's or some other venue near Pike Place Market
Supper @ Poppy or Zoe - I like the look of both menus, but lean towards Zoe. How fusiony is Poppy? We've enjoyed Vij's in Vancouver and Indika in Houston, but the better-half is South Asian, and she is exceptionally picky when it comes to Indian food. If the "thali" thing is a gimmick, this isn't the place for us.
Sunday: If the weather is accommodating, we're thinking about a day trip either to Victoria or Mt. Rainier. Otherwise we'll want one more taste of the PNW before our midnight red-eye back to the grind. What are good Sunday options?
I've just finished a business trip to Seattle, and following advice from the hounds on this board I tried the following:
Weekend: lunch at the Pike Place market: scallop chowder (wow), egg cheese and spinach piroshky (I didn't understand the appeal of a piroshky until I tried one - wow again) and then later I was hungry again so I had a tasty and cheap Mexican lunch at El Puerco Lloron . Dinner at Dahlia Lounge. I was a bit concerned that this might not turn out given mixed reviews, but I was very pleased in the end. Excellent service, great food, good wine. I followed the advice of my server and everything worked out very well: tasty scallop starter, a local cheese plate with onion relish was superb, the crab cakes were excellent; no room for dessert.
Monday: business reception and dinner at the Columbia Tower Club: 5-star view and service, 3-star food - but we were blessed with clear weather and such an amazing sunset I could have eaten sand and I would still have had a good time.
Tuesday : dinner at Union, the 4-course dinner. Excellent value: the food, service and wine (I let my server pair the wines, I was very pleased with the result) were all close to perfect and the price was very reasonable given the exceptionally high quality.
Wednesday: too tired (as going to try Crush, but bailed), looked for something closer and simpler, ended up having dinner at Cafe Campagne at the market. The cassoulet in particular was tasty and very generous (better than many other brasseries with big names), good service, reasonable prices.
I hope that you have a similar good experience in Seattle :-)
Why not go to Zoe on Friday night then since Veil is closed and you don't want to wait at Lark?
Poppy isn't really about Indian or fusion food--he's just using the thali presentation concept. Have a look at the webisite to get an idea of the dishes served. We really liked it on our recent visit. If you go, definitely try the eggplant fries appetizer. I'm not a fan of eggplant as a rule but it's an exceptional dish.
I wouldn't miss Matt's in the Market.
What a great plan! You picked out some of my favorites and others that are on my must try list.
Salumi is a excellent choice for your first meal. Sadly, VEIL is closed. I highly recommend Matt's in the Market for your second lunch- get the catfish sandwich* Regarding Poppy and Zoe- Zoe has been top on my list for sometime, and Poppy is a new highly publisized restuarant, from the chef who use to head the Herbfarm, that I am still trying to make room in my schedule to try. The cuisines are very different so I would suggest decided by cuisine. IMO the thali idea is not a gimmick but somthing the creator brought back with him from his travels.
In regards to beers I recommend- Pike Brewery in downtown, Elysian in Capital Hill, Hale's Ales in Fremont/Ballard, & Maritime Brewery in Ballard(Jolly Rodger Taproom). For Vietnamese I would recommend- Tamarind Tree and Green Leaf. Both are located in the International disctrict- which would be fun for you to explore.
For a brewpub, i find the atmosphere at pike brewery unappealing. it is a cavernous impersonal space that caters heavily to tourists, with mediocre food. I would instead go to Elysian or taphouse for selection, or as a wild card, stumbling monk: belgian style beers and small production micros in a very low key setting.
True that zoe and quinn's are the same owner, but the food and atmosphere at each are very different but great; quinn's is a gastropub and zoe high-end dining in a bistro setting. I would alos consider union in lieu of zoe, or spur in lieu of quinn's.
Agree that viet food and esp. TT and grren leaf are an essential part of the seattle culinary scene; you can do agreat lunch at the latter if you can forgo matt's or find another way.
For Vietnamese, Monsoon is a must.
condiser Union over Lark if a reservation is key.
All the other advice is spot on. Jolly Roger, as mentioned above is great for local brews, and the food is surprisingly exceptional for pubs. Quinn's (same owner as Zoe) has great pub food and good beer selection.
Friday- Since your on east coast time you probably will be hungry by around 11 so get to salumi at 11 and order up a storm to hold you over until dinner. I believe Veil is closed for good so you could either get to Lark at 5 and miss the lines or you could make a reservation at Harvest VIne and have an equally if not better dinner. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/516922
Sat: Do lunch at matt's make reservations.
Supper: Have not been to Poppy but I don't think it is trying to be indian food it just uses the thali concept as a way to serve the food. Zoe is a great choice but the same owner and chef has a gastro-pub on capital hill that has great food and will help you in your beer quest.
Sunday: If your around seattle I would say get some food you can not get in NOLA. Green Leaf and Tamarind tree are both good for vietnamese. Malay Satay hut is a good malaysian restaurant.
Thanks for the heads-up re: Veil, dagrass; I guess a lot can happen in a few short weeks. Harvest Vine just missed the short list, it'll go back in the running. And though I run the risk of hijacking my own thread, is there something noteworthy about the Vietnamese food in SEA? It's perhaps my favorite ethnic cuisine, but we have quite a few excellent places here...
Vietnamese in Seattle is one of the top ethnic cuisine to be had while visiting. For simple pho check the board for past postings. But for an absolutely delicious taste experience, be sure to check our Tamarind Tree in the ID. Among the highlights are the Tamarind Tree Rolls, Grilled Tofu with Green Mango Salad, Curry and Turmeric Shrimp Cakes, and Chicken in Ginger Vodka Sauce. You'll miss your beer quota for this meal, but there's nothing wrong with a Tamarind-tini either.
As long as you are downtown, I would certainly not overlook the Pike Brewery for some of the city's finest brews. The space itself is a living museum to the industry and the foods not bad either, with an attempted emphasis on local/sustainable. Look for the Pro/Am Porter or some other seasonal quaffs.