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Feb 7, 2014 12:37 PM

Boat Street Cafe--Hide the Ball & High Estrogen?

So, Wahine and I have a tradition of picking a nicer restaurant for our birthday celebration,and this year she picked Boat Street. We hadn't been there since its quasi vegetarian days on the real Boat Street in the U District. I made reservations 1 week ahead, and let them know it was Wahine's birthday.

Since it was still Happy Hour when we arrived (HH 4-7pm T-Th), we ordered 3 apps: seasonal raw & cooked vegetables, a diver scallop and geoduck plate, and something so bland I can't even remember what it was. For an entree, we split one of their staples, the pork rib chop and black kale gratin. We also split a dessert, a ginger cake.

We were seated at an incredibly small 2-top--so small that 2 appetizer plates made it necessary that our side plates be teacup saucer-sized. The chairs were tiny, too. Three plates would not fit even if we ate directly from the serving platters. We had to commandeer an adjoining display table in order to have room for our wine stems and water glasses. The salt cellar held enormous-sized flakes that would not dissolve on any of the unseasoned preps; there was no pepper on the table or offered.

Until the pork chop arrived, nothing had any seasoning or savor whatsoever. The menu was silent as to the preparation of the shellfish app; It would've been nice to know that it was ceviche. The wine list was almost exclusively of French wines, devoid of any explanation past the winery name and DOC--not very helpful for anyone who's not already a sommelier. We asked our server to pick a full-bodied red, but were never told which wine we were served, only that it was a Cab/Merlot blend!

Likewise, the ginger cake was not described, and came as *very* firm, moist, and dense; at least the cake had intense flavor. There was no recognition at all that it was a celebration of Wahine's birthday.

It occurred to me while we dined that besides myself, there was only one other male patron there. The M:F ratio was something like 1:10.

Overall, the meal was OK, but the lack of any real savor had me fantasizing that we'd checked into some health spa, rather than having gone out for dinner. I suddenly pictured Anthony Bourdain gouging his eyes out with a spoon...

Is this experience typical of BSC for others? I thought it was a nicer restaurant than our meal there indicated.


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  1. I have been to brunch/lunch there three times and found everything very flavorful. I love it. But I can see where the things they do really well at lunch—simple composed preparations especially—have nothing to do with what one eats at dinner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sweetpotater

      I agree that is a great lunch spot for lighter eaters but I have never been wowed by dinner there. We tried it a few times and left hungry so gave it up years ago on that account.

    2. I have never understood what's up with the buzz on BSC. The marketing machines are clearly busy as bees, and I remember good water, but where is the attention of the chef? I ordered a spinach salad and when it arrived with no spinach, I got "that's the way we make it" when I asked about that notable (I thought) omission. That level of clueless incompetence has kept me from returning and I appreciate your update. I'm still in no hurry to return.

      1. It's off my list. Sadly, I think that Renee Ericksons other restaurants are taking all her time and stars.
        Read most recently Whale Wins. The food there was fine and I like the place. After living in Manhattan I didn't see much difference in the prices and that always floors me given the cost of everything in NYC.

        1. I'll admit I haven't had dinner there in ages, but it's one of our HH spots and a small group of us will typically order the entire HH menu. And it's been stellar, which is extra nice since so many good restaurants really phone in HH. That said, it seems like you have some legitimate complaints....