I admit it: I'm a Matt Dillon-food cheerleader. If one bothers to they could read gushing posts I've written in years past on Sitka & Spruce (both locales) and Corson Bldg. For me, despite their typical simplicity, Dillon's dishes possess a *je ne sais quoi* that consistently impresses me (but apparently is lost on dtractors). On the other hand, I think Dillon does not get adequate credit for his adept interweaving of seasonal PNW ingredients with at times complex Maghrebi/Arabesque flavors and housemade condiments.
Understated excellence again prevails at Bar Sajor. The menu is very limited: 6/7 app-size portions that are apparently all uncooked dishes; 2 meat plates grilled over the open fireplace; maybe 3/4 oven cooked entrees, bread.
We chose to start with Shigoku oysters, raw. The king of bivalve varietals, one would be silly to mess these up, and Sajor did not. Next we had a roasted dish of octopus, potatoes (and something else). Elemental, satisfying and generously portioned. Finally the chuleton de buey: a ribeye maybe enough for two. Probably the most delicious I've had. The server explained the Basque provenance of the concept: to marinate the meat in lemon then quickly cook it. In Sajor's case, he said, they use preserved lemon, and on this night it was topped with nettle salsa verde and chanterelles. Beautiful rich food.
I deferred to the "Somme" (this abbv peeves me) for wine picks as I have done well this way at Corson. I had a wonderful sparkling rose and still white; the red was a barnyard ish cab franc ish style that I don't see on the site today. It was a bit austere to start but warmed up.
The dessert was a grainy hazelnut cake that was enjoyed but not memorable. The complimentary Sauternes, however, was (wife played the birthday card).
The airy space is warm, mostly vintage wood and white, old and new; a very appropriate use of some of the best/oldest architecture in town on the most attractive block of Occidental. These blocks and immediate vicinity are becoming not only a foodie jackpot by day or night, but the centerpiece of the welcome revitalization of Pioneer Square.
[Wrote this wordy post but typo'd the title; embarassed. CH please fix. Thanks]
A fellow Matt Dillon fan here. I work next door above Occidental Square and walk by this restaurant just about everyday. How I do adore that airy, double-height space and the full height windows; there really isn't a lovelier place to have lunch on a sunny day anywhere else Downtown (unless you go al fresco). And what an absolute boon they are for Pioneer Square's burgeoning food scene.
I've enjoyed them for lunch but have yet to visit for a proper dinner. Much of your critique I would echo, and I'll add that I was present for the book signing/dinner gala for Rene Redzepi last fall (dinner jointly prepared by Matt Dillon & Blaine Wetzel) which was held in the courtyard outside of the restaurant. In spite of the pouring rain, it was quite a memorable evening food wise.
I took three work colleagues this week, my second visit, better than the first. Scallops and halibut mains were both really good, and yes, they did the oysters justice, for sure. Cheese plate strangely doesn't come with bread or crackers—is that a typical thing?
We did small plates back in October. Don't remember the details, but generally found everything we tried quite good. Thought the smoked yogurt was a little too smokey. Anyway, just wanted to add another vote for a positive experience even if I can't file a traditional report.