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Spur Gastropub - a longish report

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not being much of a burger person but being in the mood for such a delight, gf and I checked lists of BEST BURGERS here and elsewhere and selected SPUR GASTROPUB as gf had been to two bells and local 360. arrived to find it nearly handicapped inaccessible but managed to get into their handsome, light dining room and was pleasantly surprised to discover a menu going far beyond burgers with sweetbreads, lamb sausage and - wonder of wonders - guinea hen (which I hadn't seen in an American restaurant in years). ordered the bird and requested a simple green salad to be served with it - an odd habit of mine. the pert and friendly server had a bit of trouble understanding that I wanted only greens (any greens in the kitchen but no nuts, fruit, cheese or other impedimentia) with a simple dressing then tried to convince me that "the hen is a lot of food" by itself. insisting on this point, gf now decided to have venison tartare and merguez sausage also served as a single course; we relaxed and anticipated our pleasure with sober ginger ale at a rather steep $6. salad arrived via another server who seemed confused as it wasn't a standard item but, nonetheless, an excellent, properly chilled soup plate of arugula, radicchio, romaine and flat parsley - but no other food appeared and no bread or table garnishes. we nibbled on the salad for 10 minutes or so and were than served (1) a BREAST of guinea hen the size of a playing card with 3 grape-sized meatballs allegedly made from the hen's leg served on a bed of watercress puree (2) 2 lamb sausages as big as one's middle finger on a bed of garbanzo mash and (3) a disc of venison tartare about 2 inches in diameter and 1/4" thick on a plate with swirls and eddies of variously colored sauces. everything was delicious and of best quality but we left hungry after being presented a bill of nearly $90 with tax. we were assured that their burger is also excellent (though they do not make onion rings) but, at this dichotomy of value for money, are unlikely to find out.

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  1. Is this pretty much the menu?

    http://www.spurseattle.com/Spur_Menu.pdf

    If so, are you sure they're wasn't a math error on the check? Or that guinea hen must have been the most expensive and I hope they either gave you the price as a special or that you asked. Since this clearly isn't a "burger place," I'm not surprised that they didn't have onion rings. Or French fries either.

    I think the menu looks quite interesting.

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      I was surprised at the price too ---- but it does seem to add up. The tartare is $18, the sausage is $14, a salad is $10. Substituting the price for chicken at $28 and adding a couple of ginger ales at $6 each you do come out around $90 with tax.

      Also agree that the menu looks good.

      1. re: FoodDee

        Good math :) I'm sorry I didn't hear about this place when we were just in Seattle. Next time I want to check it out.

    2. I just read the press links given on their website. It's clearly a small plates place and they're doing some really innovative things with food and cocktails, including molecular gastronomy. It sounds like you were looking for a burger place so weren't really prepared for what they're up to. That's too bad - for you and them

      3 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        My experience there was pretty similar to the OP's, and I also think it was a case of mismatched expectations. I didn't expect those kind of prices & serving sizes for a place with "Pub" in the name. Context: I'd heard some positive buzz about the place, didn't recall any specifics. Was looking for a happy hour snack & nosh with a coworker while waiting for traffic to die down. Walked past the place and went in. Ordered a drink and 2-3 small plates. Was expecting rather more food than I got. Other than that, was very happy. Great service, inventive food. I haven't gone back -- not that I wouldn't, it's just that it's a special occasion sort of place at those prices, and I've had other plans for the last several special occasions. And I think the mismatch is that "Pub" doesn't make you think of a special occasion place. And I'd bet that has resulted in more misunderstandings than mine and howard's.

        1. re: seattle_lee

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastropub

          Looks like it's the "gastro" rather than the "pub" part that defines it. Makes sense though.

          1. re: seattle_lee

            Hi, Lee:

            You're spot on with the cognitive dissonance that occurs when you think of a place with this patois as a "pub", gastro or otherwise. A pub doesn't have an 8-course, $100 tasting menu.

            They're either too small or too big for their britches, I think.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo