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Jan 28, 2011 01:14 PM

Chef + pescatarian = ?

My brother and sister-in-law are visiting in a couple weeks. He is a chef and she eats seafood but not meat. They live in a small Midwestern town with only chain restaurants and don't get to many restaurants in other cities; if they do, they are in Chicago. I would like to get them some very delicious food during their trip that is unavailable to them at home (either because of quality or genre) but that is not expensive.

Crabs and oysters we will do at home.

I will take them to one local-organic-seasonal place because that seems to be a category of its own here, especially something that serves family style, which is not a vibe they can get where they are—well, they can at home ... or at Olive Garden. Maybe some ramen in the ID because it's fun with our 2-year-old, and ... then I draw blanks. I just moved here and wonder if there is an entire ethnic cuisine I don't even know about that is worth hunting down (Hawaiian? etc). Or something that is just a totally different feel from a quality restaurant in Chicago.

What else can you think of?

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  1. How about Ethiopian? I don't know if there are many East African restaurants in Chicago but we have some fab Ehiopian food in Seattle. My husband and I usually get the vegetarian sampler. And we love the community eating aspect of the cuisine. Definitely fun for a group. We go to Habesha the most since its closest. However my Ethiopian friends recommend one on Cherry St (I think it's Meskel but I could be wrong and there are many in that area)

    1. Also South Indian at Spice Route or Mayuri (both in Bellevue). Lots of vegetarian options. Malay Satay Hut for Malaysian cuisine is another possibility. They do have a few vegetarian and fish options. There's one location in ID and one in Bellevue.

      Malay Satay Hut
      212 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA

      Spice Route
      2241 148th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98007

      1. Poppy. You're not going to find this Indian-inspired PNW cuisine anywhere else, and they have lots of seafood and veg options (I'm not much of a meat eater besides seafood and there is always a lot for me). They do local/seasonal--I just had sturgeon for the first time there! Also, you can share, or not. The whole thali concept is really fun--lot of little dishes on one big plate. I am rarely wowed by desserts but their dessert thali is fantastic. The chef might be especially interested in Poppy because Jerry Traunfeld is the chef/owner here.

        Olivar would be another good pick. Again, you can share plates, or not (most people do but I hate sharing so I do a small plate for an app and then an entree). I don't think they'll find this at home, either--A chef from the Loire Valley doing his take on Spanish food. There are always good seafood choices here.

        806 E Roy St, Seattle, WA 98102

        2 Replies
        1. re: christy319

          I do think my sister-in-law would love Poppy. I really liked the food but ... having 10 little things on the plate just meant that several went cold as I plugged away. Next time I go I'll order differently, not a big thali.

          1. re: christy319

            When I went to Poppy, I actually wished I'd ordered the vegetarian thali rather than the meat one. Tip: get the smaller thali and order more appetizers. Strategic ordering of 7-item thalis can lead to a bigger variety of dishes than just getting the large thalis for everyone.

            Nettletown isn't terribly fancy, but they do good work with very local ingredients - "found and foraged" is the theme - and you could probably make it work as a family style meal even though it's geared toward traditional entrees.

          2. The local seasonal family style sounds like the "let the kitchen feed you" option at Staple and Fancy and they will cater to food restrictions.

            3 Replies
              1. re: sweetpotater

                If possible you might want to start with a drink and oysters at Walrus & Carpenter in the adjoining space. I'd definitely recommend reservations at S & F.

              2. re: FoodDee

                Another Ethan Stowell restaurant, Anchovies and Olives, would be a good bet too - maybe even better for a chef and pescatarian.

              3. What is locally seasonal at this time of the year?