Providence Cicero goes dual this week, reviewing Demetris Woodstone Taverna in Edmonds and Mill Creek's Tablas Woodstone Taverna. The owners of the Kafe Nio chainlet opened the two tapas restaurants almost simultaneously. "One glance at the menu shows the family resemblance; but these two neighborhood restaurants are more like half-siblings than twins."
Tablas is the "Latin drama queen" while Demetris is "more macho." While the restaurants' selection of 50 "fire-roasted, chilled, fried or grilled items" are nearly identical, "beyond that, the menus diverge to suit their distinct personalities." At Demetris, the menu includes wings and burgers, though Cicero was "mighty taken" with the the seafood tagine. Tablas had its ups and downs:
"I also encountered a top-notch gazpacho, addictive bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Serrano pepper, and excellent empanadas whose crackling pastry shell was filled with diced lamb, eggplant and feta. But sherry-sauced pineapple and chicken lettuce wraps resembled middling Chinese takeout, while mini chorizo left my mouth feeling like I'd smoked a pack of Camels."
The restaurants' "broadly ambitious menus" have their hits and misses, but the successful dishes and "modest prices and thoughtful staff" make both locations worth a return visit. [Seattle Times]
Hanna Raskin's review-of-her-review of Little Water Cantina is a backgrounder on how Seattle Weekly shoots (or doesn't shoot) the "food porn" slideshows that accompany each review. Photographer Joshua Huston often has to persuade restaurant owners who are reluctant to set up a photo shoot without knowing if the review will be positive or negative (and with Raskin's recent spate of takedowns, the concern is more valid than when a Seattle Times photographer comes calling). Raskin writes that Huston rarely divulges anything about the review, except in a recent conversation with a reluctant Blaine Wetzel at Willows Inn. [Seattle Weekly]