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Feb 18, 2010 02:40 PM

The New Flower for Valentine's Day, Poppy

I was a little nervous tackling our maiden voyage to Poppy on Valentine's weekend, since it is such a different experience and although the reviews are generally positive on Chowhound, I saw mixed reviews elsewhere. Most of the complaints centered around service and price/value.

Luckily for me, I have an adventerous foodie as my Valentine and we enjoy the out of the ordinary and unique experiences and to sum it up succinctly, Poppy surpassed all of our expectations and we had an incredible experience.

To immediately address the two most common concerns I had read about, our service was spectacular. Friendly, attentive, curteous, funny and knowledgeable. We did not have to ask for anything, all of our needs were handled proactively including the always challenging keeping Irena's water glass full! Yes the whole meal experience took close to 2 hours, but we knew that going in and we were ready for the deliberate pace. As far as value for the money paid, Poppy ain't cheap, we spent close to $150 bucks for two, but I don't mind spending that type of money if I feel like the experience warrants it and we thought it did.

Now to the food. I can honestly say I don't think I had one dish, with the exception of the scrumptious fresh baked ginger cookies on the dessert Thali that I had ever had prepared the way the Poppy chefs did. So just from an adventerous perspecitve it was awesome. From Pecan encrusted Lamb, Lavender Duck, Cauliflower spread for the Naan, Chiogga Beets with Honey and Walnuts to Carrot Walnut Cake with Roasted Pineapple and Cream Cheese Mousse, every dish was a new epicurean discovery.

Even the cocktails were amazing. I had the spicy Papi Delicious and it blew me away.

Poppy jumps to the top of our dining list and a place we will happily take our other foodie friends!

Billy Bob

622 Broadway E, Seattle, WA

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  1. Poppy may be my favorite restaurant in Seattle. It is really good.

    1. Agreed, Poppy is fantastic. I was also a bit skeptical just because so often restaurants don't live up to the hype, but it was the delicious meal I've had in recent memory. Like, lick the plate delicious. I've also had the Papi Delicious cocktail--it sounds so odd but is so so good.

      1. Glad to hear you had a great meal at Poppy. My experience with the restaurant and food was quite the opposite. Service was fine at first, then totally lacking during our meal (we ate at a table in the bar in a corner and had a hard time flagging down our waitress). We ordered one regular and one vegetarian thali to maximize the number of dishes we got to try. To start we had the eggplant fries which were outstanding (worth going back for). Then came the LONG wait for the thalis. About 40 minutes after our app was served, we got the thalis. Nothing on the plates was hot - everything was lukewarm (one of the big drawbacks to trying to serve so many things at the same time, I guess). The food itself ranged from ok to inedible. Some of the dishes had extremely unbalanced flavors, including some so heavily salted (and we like our salt) that they were inedible. Others were just off. Unfortunately our waitress was totally MIA at this point so we couldn't swap out the worst of the worst - she hadn't even dropped off the food (a runner did) nor did she check on us after the food had been dropped off.

        We did enjoy the grilled shrimp we'd subbed in on the meat thali and a brussels sprout dish. We found another cabbage salad extremely unpleasant and salty, cheese ravioli in a nettle sauce bland and cold (how you make cheese ravioli bland I am not sure), and the naan was burned to a crisp and bland as well. In all, the dinner was disappointing and very expensive. We'd go back in a different season to try the thalis again, but I fear that some of the fundamental issues (food temp, etc.) will just always be there. We'd certainly go back for the eggplant fries and to try some more bar snacks and the desserts. But even so, we certainly won't be in a rush to return.

        5 Replies
        1. re: akq

          I had a similar experience as akq with regard to the food. The service is unmemorable at this point, so most likely it was nothing special, but not lacking too much.

          I went with my SO back in early winter (nov/dec). I think part of the issue was with the time of year. I don't remember the exact menu, but the only really good item was the lamb (and of course the eggplant fries). We both agreed the meal was tolerable enough to give Poppy another try in the spring or summer, but it was too bad so many of the dishes were lacking in color and distinct flavor.

          1. re: Mike CP

            I guess the theme I would pick up from the differences in our experiences is Poppy lacks consistency. I hope it is something they realize and work to remediate, because when they are on (like they were for our visit), it is spectacular and I would hate to go and having experienced the bar as high as we did, be dissapointed with mediocre!

            622 Broadway E, Seattle, WA

            1. re: Billy Bob

              I thought a lot about my post over the weekend and I have a little different slant on why Poppy gets such mixed reviews. I think consistency could be an issue like I posted above, but I am wondering how much the fact that Poppy really is so unique and the fact it tries to present you with some many different flavors in one dining experience. I have seen comments about how the food doesn't seem to go together. While some people might find that a distraction, others might find that intriguing. Anyway, there is no real definitive answer, but just like any real form of creative expression, the lense that someone looks, listens or tastes it through are as much of the equation as the experience itself.

              1. re: Billy Bob

                This is a good point when it comes to any form of art. A photographer's or painter's exhibit might be brilliant to some, but seem juvenile or incoherent to others.

                I think what is difficult for restaurants is that there is much more to creating the 'lens' through which the customer experiences the food then just setting up a gallery with white washed walls and lighting.

                It could just be that the 'lens' that Poppy has created does not to fit the average customers that post on this board, or maybe the average Seattle diner.

                Although they just missed with my experience, they were close enough, and intriguing enough, that I want to try again.

                1. re: Billy Bob

                  Dunno. I can tell you that my experience at Poppy was just really disappointing. Most of the dishes by themselves did not work, nor did they work "together." SO and I have eaten all over the world (I've lived in Thailand, India, Hawaii, and travelled around the world, etc.) so I don't think it's just that the tastes were "different" that was the problem. Lots of people, myself included, can differentiate between a dish that just isn't to my taste and a dish that's bad (way oversalted, burned, etc.). Frankly, some of the dishes we were served were so inedible that I was pretty shocked they were served anywhere, let alone at a popular restaurant.

                  I am glad that some people have had great experiences there and I would give it another shot in a different season. However, due to my extremely disappointing experience there I would not recommend it to someone with really high hopes for a special meal and/or someone who has only one (or very few) meals in Seattle.

          2. I have to agree that it is really special. I have been three times in the past few months, and each meal has been interesting, varied, and well prepared. The flavors are unusual, and maybe that puts some off,but it has always been well done.The variety of new flavors is intriguing. I have also had just great service, each time. Attentive, good suggestions, not up selling.

            622 Broadway E, Seattle, WA