Hanna Raskin spins a fairy tale about Christina Choi's Nettletown, and like any good fairy tale, a good rule is "to not venture out at night." Lunch is the better showcase for the Eastlake spot's woodsy, sometimes "feral" cuisine. Though Nettletown occupies the former Sitka & Spruce address and Choi is tight with Matt Dillon, "the swirl of sometimes-contradictory culinary impulses, wild produce, and earnest Whole Earth Catalog charm leaves no doubt as to who serves as this compelling eatery's heroine."
Raskin notes that this particular heroine often references her parents' Swiss and Chinese heritage as inspiration for her menu:
But Choi hasn't just swiped a recipe from one culture and plugged in ingredients from another, as the sloppiest fusioneers do. Instead, she's yielded to a stronger influence, allowing the woods to rule her menu. It's a measure of Choi's talent that she's effectively sold her doting audience on troll cuisine.
Chief complaints include some "frustratingly underseasoned" dishes that "should have rung with salt and funk," or at least some spice. She was also thumbs-down on the seaweed shard dish, which "tasted like it had waged a brutal battle with Mother Nature and lost." [Seattle Times]
Everyone is getting creative this week ? Bethany Jean Clement breaks her review of new U-District spot Nook into nine numbered points. If this owl-themed sandwich-soup-and-biscuit shop were on Capitol Hill, "it would be overrun" with crowds demanding dense, freshly baked biscuits. Though Clement uses the word "cute" with perhaps the most frequency ever in the history of Stranger articles, "somehow, Nook is never cutesy."
The pair running Nook are incredibly nice, but "also know what the hell they're doing, which is the nicest thing of all." Co-owner Alex Green cooked under Richard Blais in Atlanta and has spent time at Re:Public and Earth & Ocean. Partner Aki Woodward is a self-taught baker. Now that is cute. The goat cheese spread "is made of goat cheese plus magic. The biscuit sandwich with it is, improbably, better than the one made with bacon." [The Stranger]