Sitka and Spruce or Bar Sajor?
On my visit to Seattle in December I loved my lunch at Sitka and Spruce, so for my upcoming visit I figured I would either go back for dinner or try Bar Sajor instead (unfortunately, I don't have time for both). Which one would you choose and why?
I did enjoy my visit to Bar Sajor. We were seated with a good view of the wood burning oven and the fireplace, and I found it fascinating watching the chef cook at the fireplace. Flavor-wise, the wood fueled cooking didn't seem to make much of an impact, but then again, I didn't order a steak or anything that was cooked directly on the grill in front of the fire.
We started with the bread and pickle/fermented vegetable plate, which featured a pickled strawberry, some sea beans, kohlrabi sauerkraut, fermented radishes, and pickled asparagus. The bread was very good, but the flavors of the pickles were fairly monochromatic,tasting overwhelmingly of vinegar and sourness, with the exception of the strawberry. The pickled strawberry was lovely, with a lot of strawberry flavor along with the vinegar tang, but alas there was only one small example we had to split. The pickle plate at The Whale Wins was a much more lively experience by contrast.
Next up was a dish of roasted carrots and baby turnips, with a sunflower seed puree. This was tasty, but not magical, and for $14 could certainly have been more ample.
Our main entree was the warm Dungeness crab salad with lobster mushrooms and cucumbers. It was delicious, buttery, and a bit surprising with chunks of lemon cucumber melding in quite well with the rest of the dish.
The highlight of the evening turned out to be the Bing cherry clafoutis with peach leaf ice cream. The ice cream had a subtle, difficult to pin down flavor, and the clafoutis was very custardy, with lots of cherries. We ordered a Bing cherry clafoutis at The Whale Wins as well, and it was quite different, almost like a dense cake.
I suppose if I were to return I would plan brunch or lunch at either Bar Sajor or Sitka and Spruce, as the food quality at dinner seemed pretty similar at lunch, but the prices run a little bit lower. Anyway, this genre of restaurant featuring wood oven and fireplace cooking and loads of high quality local produce is really fabulous, and Seattle is lucky to have so many good places.