Steelhead vs Dahlia for dinner
We're coming to the Sea-Tac area for a couple of nights and are looking for a great dinner in a non- stuffy, somewhat casual environment. Price isn't an issue so long as we can swoon over the food. We're only doing one night in Seattle so we can only choose one. What are your thoughts on Steelhead vs Dahlia's. The menus look great for both and the atmosphere sounds right. What's your preference?
steelhead is an upscale diner - bright lights, paper placemats, faster service from a more varied menu. dahlia is a stunningly decorated room, darker, lusher, a bit less clatter with a more standard menu structure. steelhead's food is perfectly rendered versions of classic american food with lots of northwest and cajun accents. dahlia, more devoted to northwest cuisine, stretches the envelope a bit more and very occasionally misses the mark. steelhead offers sunset vistas; dahlia has beautiful fish lamps. i've had wonderful meals at both places and you are unlikely to be disappointed with either choice.
re: howard 1st
Nice description, Howard. I've had too many "misses-the-mark" experiences at Dahlia lately to give it a tie with Steelhead. Between the two, focusing just on the food, not the ambience, my choice would be Steelhead. But I can't say that I've "swooned over the food" at either place. If you want to swoon, why not expand the choice set a bit to include, say, Joule or Spinasse. Both are casual, non-stuffy places..
re: howard 1st
IMO, Dahlia cooks with better quality ingredients, ambiance and creativity in ideas for their recipes. So, Steelhead in my experience is not even comparable. I think Joule is pretentious and inconsistent with their food...not to mention how noisy the place is & uncomfortable the seats are.
My preference would be Dahlia Lounge---for all the reasons mentioned above. To me, the food at Dahlia is more consistently flavorful and carefully prepared/presented, and the atmosphere is lush. It feels like a special place, swanky without a hint of stuffiness. It's quiet enough for conversation, yet there is life inside. Both are good choices, though.
I was so disappointed by Steelhead Diner the last time I went that I see no reason to return, not with so many other choices. If you're intent on the Market, I would choose Matt's, Chez Shea, or even Pink Door. Dahlia is consistent and good, but nothing is going to wow you. Plus, no view (unless you count those fish lamps).
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Agree with TA that neither of these places is particularly swoon-worthy...but if I had to choose, I'd go with Dahlia. I just don't like Steelhead's food or service, but Dahila ranges from good to above average. A note: you pretty much have to go out of your way to find a stuffy, formal restaurant in Seattle...so don't feel like that constraint narrows your choices much.
Between the two, I'd take Steelhead, but I agree with others that, will both have good stuff, neither will make you "swoon". For that, you'd have to aim a little higher, and that would also depend on what your preference is: steaks and oysters? multi-pan french stuff? asian?