Providence Cicero finds hour-long waits, colorful cocktails and camera-ready food at two-month-old Eastlake Mexican spot Little Water Cantina. The "jampacked" patio overlooks South Lake Union: "Open by the water and they will come in droves, especially when the sun shines."
Chef Shannon Wilkinson, who spent several years as a culinary producer for Top Chef "filters his love of Mexican cuisine through a TV producer's lens. Nearly every plate is ready for its glamour shot. The best of them thrill with clean, focused flavors." Also, the seafood apparently wears cute outfits:
Cocktail sauce paints sweet Gulf shrimp nestled in guacamole as luxurious as any I've tasted. Alaskan halibut cheeks under a cap of frilly fried kale wore a necklace of epazote-flecked corn and a skirt of sunny mango sauce so butter-rich and habanero-happy it hardly mattered that the cheeks were a wee bit dry. In this vivacious company, sedate rockfish tacos barely commanded attention.
There were a few misses: the turkey-leg enchiladas "grew monotonous after a few bites" and carne asada was "D.O.A., so incinerated it looked like charcoal." The service "wobbles," even on a slow night, but the crowds packing the expansive patio and adjacent bar no doubt create some challenges for both back and front of house. Cicero concludes. "I hope they find their sea legs soon. Little Water just needs to get a little better to be great." Verdict: 2.5 stars.
Hugo Kugiya takes an imaginary exchange student from the Mongolian steppe to eat at Safeco Field. He says the stadium could qualify as the city's largest restaurant, at least on game days. While our ballpark food is "a relatively civilized affair," it's not exactly restaurant-quality. Flavors tend toward the bland and food sits under heat lamps for a while. "It helps to be hungry, and to remember you are eating dinner at a Major League Baseball game in Safeco Field, where, as concession food goes, the variety is commendable." Regardless, his imaginary visitor finds the garlic fries "pure genius." [Crosscut]
Hanna Raskin assesses this week's epic takedown of Stopsky's, pondering the Jewishness, or lack thereof, that goes into good deli. "Stopsky's is weirdly lacking in Yiddshkeit, the Jewish word for Jewishness." Servers seemed concerned when she ordered "standard items from the Jewish canon" and "treated borscht and kugel like oddities." However with all the issues at Stopsky's, "importing a few more staffers who grew up on deli probably isn't a panacea. It might be easier just to fix the pickles." [Seattle Weekly]