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May 4, 2010 12:07 PM

Help with narrowing down choices for upcoming Seattle sojourn

Hi Seattle hounds,

I've been doing my research and have narrowed down my picks to the following restaurants. If you could indicate must order dishes/favorites, that would be great.

Elliott's for Oysters
Anchovies and Olives
Spring Hill
Le Pichet
Cafe Bresalu
Zig Zag for cocktails

For my one blow out meal, I am thinking Crush or Canlis. Right now leaning toward Crush. Any thoughts? What may push me over the deciding edge is the wine and wine service. How are the wine pairings with the tasting menu at Crush?

Also torn between Kisaku and Shiro's. Which has a better omakase experience and would they be comparable in price?

Finally, I am going to be doing some wine shopping to fill some gaps in my cellar. Are there any great wine shops that you can recommend? I'll be staying in the downtown core but will travel for great wine...

Thanks in advance. Looking forward to experiencing Seattle's best!


Canlis Restaurant
2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Le Pichet
Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

Zig Zag Cafe
1501 Western Ave Ste 202, Seattle, WA 98101

2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA

Spring Hill Restaurant & Bar
4437 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

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  1. I've had great meals at Crush and Chef Wilson just won a James Beard Award, so it's probably a good choice.

    Anchovies & Olives: Also not a bad spot for oysters (only $1 during their "power hour")
    Joule: I recommend trying to make it to one of their Sunday Supper events.
    Salumi: The Special of the Day, if they have the pork cheek sandwich that is great also.
    Tilth: The menu changes often, so it's hard to pick one dish. They are famous for their mini duck burgers.
    Zig-Zag: Remember this place is cash only.

    309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

    Anchovies & Olives
    1550 15th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

    3 Replies
    1. re: bergeo

      I don't see anything on Joule's website about a Sunday Supper. Could you give me more info about what they are about?

      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        The last Sunday Supper of the year at Joule was on March 28 according to their Facebook page.

        1. re: voodoobec

          Although the Winter Sunday suppers were wonderful for Seattle residents, featuring different themes from “Italian Mama” to “Southern Blues,” for a one-time shot by a visitor, I would have recommended getting the full Joule experience by eating off of the regular menu, even if the Sunday suppers were still available. My wife and I ate at Joule last night, and enjoyed a chicken appetizer with an amazing complex sauce made with sherry, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, and grapes, eggplant in a miso-based sauce, and a repeat of one of our favorites, the perfectly cooked and perfectly delicious grilled whole mackerel. Yum!

    2. You have clearly done your homework and have put together a good list.

      At Elliott’s. as an oyster fanatic, I frequently sit at the oyster bar and let Anthony, the lead oysterman, guide me to the best of huge selection available there. Last week, I especially enjoyed the Penn Cove Selects and Effingham Inlets.

      At Salumi, if you go with a friend, one of you should get the hot sampler plate, which usually includes some combination of meatballs, lamb, oxtail, pork, and cotechino sausage. The other person should get the cold sampler plate with an assortment of the house-cured salamis. Then the two of you can share in a good sampling of both the hot and cold items. It’s all good, but the meatballs are especially divine.

      I don’t know your palate for cocktails, but, at Zig Zag, one of Murray Stenson’s discoveries, The Last Word, is terrific if your taste in cocktails leans toward savory and herbaceous (e.g., negroni, sazerac).

      Regardless of whether you go to Shiro’s or Kisaku, you should sit at the section of the sushi bar served by either Shiro-san at Shiro’s or Nikano-san at Kisaku, Shiro-san is now there only three days a week. Since neither one will know anything about your palate, something an itamae only learns over time by serving a repeat customer, you should let him know something about your likes and dislikes. Otherwise, most itamaes will err on the side of being cautious, often avoiding unusual or “risky” items. If “anything goes,” and you really mean it, then say so. Shiro’s will be more expensive than Kisaku by a fairly wide margin.

      All the pastries at Café Besalu are pretty wonderful, but the croissants are an OMG experience and are not to be missed.

      If you hit the brunch at Spring Hill, my favorite is the duck’s egg benedict, although the special saimin is also pretty wonderful and more unusual.

      At Le Pichet, I love the grilled Spanish sardines and the house-made sausages, including (but not limited to) a nice boudin noir.

      At Joule, I love pretty much everything. On my last visit, I especially loved the beef tongue and vegetables, the mochi, and an absolutely fabulous grilled whole mackerel. The owner-chefs, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, are not only hugely interesting and talented chefs, but are two of the nicest people around.

      For your blowout meal, either Crush or Canlis are great candidates. The chef at Crush, Jason Wilson, just won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest. But, in my opinion, the chef at Canlis, Jason Franey, is as good if not better. Canlis has the better ambience, more polished, more consistent, and better service, and a better wine list – in fact, an amazing wine list. Canlis will also be more expensive than Crush, although neither is in the cheap seats.

      There are lots of good wine shops in Seattle, Esquin, 2700 Fourth Avenue South, and Champion on Denny Way are both good. If you want someplace within walking distance of downtown, DeLaurenti or Pike & Western, both located in the Pike Place Market, are okay. For Spanish wine and other Spanish food items, Spanish Table on Western Avenue just below the Pike Place Market is wonderful. The owners of the Spanish Table just opened a new French food and wine store called Paris Grocery located 50 yards down the street.

      Have fun, and let us know where you went and how you liked it..

      5 Replies
      1. re: Tom Armitage

        Tom's post is right on. I'd only add that I love the chicken liver terrine at Le Pichet and, if you like spicy, order a Hot Charlotte at Zig Zag - it has an interesting mix of cucumber and tobasco alongside the gin.

        1. re: bourbongal

          I digress from the OP, but Hot Charlotte is one of Murray's most amazing concoctions.

        2. re: Tom Armitage

          Wow. Thank you so much for the great insider info. I am so looking forward to experiencing this city!

          I do indeed *LOVE* savoury type cocktails-especially a well crafted sazerac. I will definitely try The Last Word and a Hot Charlotte.

          I will most definitely follow up on this thread. Thanks again!

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            For an interesting article about how Murray Stenson resurrected The Last Word, and for the recipe, see

          2. re: Tom Armitage

            Try Fresh Flours on Ballard Ave for excellent croissants and and sandwiches. Their sweet things are much less sugary than Besalu and they serve Stumptown coffee which I think is the best in town.

            1115 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122