As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of local food writers, industry types, and friends. We asked the group eight questions ranging from Biggest Dining Surprises to Restaurant Standbys, Top Newcomers, Restaurant Breakups and Top Dining Neighborhood. Up next: Best Meal of 2013. Readers, please feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.
Nicole Sprinkle, food editor at Seattle Weekly:
A six-course meal at Matt's at the Market during one of their Planes, Trains and Traveling Chefs dinners in August. Chef Shane Ryan collaborated with Minnesota Chef Jamie Malone (a Food & Wine "Best New Chef" of 2013.) Why? The warm night, the view, the intimacy of the event and stand-outs like uni on toast with fennel, bottarga and celery served with a tiny dollop of kosho — a Japanese salt-cured paste made from yuzu peel and chilis; salty, lightly fried smelt with heads on from Port Townsend served with pickled and fried goat horn peppers, lemon cucumbers and an herb aioli; a rack of lamb cooked to medium rare perfection with lobster mushrooms and an elderberry mostarda. And while the "sushi" dessert sounded corny, it was a feat of imagination and execution: coconut sticky rice topped with sashimi-like slices of compressed watermelon and lemon plums and blackberry and raspberry "roe" alongside a tomago (sweet egg) sponge cake so light and moist and a perfect foil for a tart, delicious apple seaweed leather, pickled rhubarb and shiso marshmallow.
Jess Thomson, writer and cookbook author, Hogwash:
Roasted chicken at The Whale Wins, not that I'm biased. (Note: Thomson collaborated on Renee Erickson's upcoming cookbook)
Kristin Ackerman, publisher at SIP Northwest Magazine:
Terra Plata with the Sip Northwest team to kick off 2013. The food was amazing, the wine was fantastic and the company was irreplaceable! Chef Tamara Murphy and Linda Morton were the best hosts you could have asked for.
The Surly Gourmand, curmudgeon:
I cooked it myself, thank you very much.
Leslie Kelly, editor at Zagat Seattle:
Hate the over-used adjective epic, but a whole hog barbecue cooked by some of my favorite chefs from Memphis at Elk Cove Winery in the Willamette Valley was beyond epic. Superstars Mike Hudman and his partner Andy Ticer from Hog and Hominy and Andrew-Michael have gotten huge buzz this year, landing on the cover of Food & Wine's best new chefs issue. But those fine dining chefs, along with uber-talented Felicia Willett and Craig Blondis from Central Barbecue in Memphis, totally killed it at this cookout. The smoky meat was so succulent and the good folks at Elk Cove opened some spectacular Pinot noir from their library. I did not want this memorable evening to end.
Allecia Vermillion, food & drink editor at Seattle Met:
I'm still thinking about the lonza and poached quail egg and the sweetbread congee from my anniversary dinner at Canlis. And Kedai Makan's ramly burger is pretty amazing if you don't mind waiting until midnight to order it. It's the perfect drunk food, except you should have all your faculties about you to properly enjoy it.
Allison Scheff, food & dining editor at Seattle Magazine:
Le Pichet. Corner table, so much good French wine, the food is better every time we go, and the steak frites is perfect.
Jen Chiu, Roll With Jen:
Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. London-born, Toronto-raised Executive Chef/Owner Alvin Leung is a culinary genius whose imaginative take on Chinese cuisine somehow still manages to stay true to the roots of Chinese cuisine.
Naomi Bishop, freelance food writer, The Gastrognome:
When I wrote up my menu guide to Chiang's, I took a huge group so we could try everything, and it was the first time I got to have all of my favorite dishes at one of my favorite restaurants on the table at once, rather than having to pick and choose. From 'cattle tendon' to 'five star chicken' it was absolutely amazing.
Julia Wayne, freelance writer, Eater Seattle contributor:
My first bowl of kimchi tofu soup with pork at Korean Tofu House. It was spicy and steaming in my face (because I was completely leaned over it like I was trying to win an eating contest), the fermenty funk came through excellently, and the textures of the tofu, pork, kimchi, and such all came through to keep it interesting. A close second would be a dinner at Joule that involved three hours of ordering one plate at a time without the server losing patience with us, and Bill the bartender making the best cocktails before, during, and long after we had stopped eating.
Bryce Lathrop, founder of White Moustache Urban Adventure Co.:
It's a tie between Dinette and LloydMartin. Both were perfect start to finish from plate to staff and both were dates with my wife. Flawless and we could taste the love.
Julien Perry, editor at Eater Seattle:
My most memorable meal comes courtesy of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, where I was treated to a birthday dinner in November, after they won their Michelin star (read as: the place was packed!). But the service could not have been more friendly and unflustered. The intense flavors of each dish and presentation were so unlike anything I have ever had in Seattle, it was so much fun to eat! I don't remember the last time I ate so much because I wanted to leave having tried absolutely everything. Locally, my most memorable meal was at Art of the Table. I ate a proper dinner (which I rarely do) at Dustin Ronspies' restaurant for the first time back in February. I had the 9-course chef's tasting menu while sitting at the counter, looking into the open kitchen and enjoying bottle after bottle of magnificent wine. Each bite was better than the last and the ambience was just plain lovely. I keep making plans to return, but I need to be capable of saving money first.
· All Year in Eater 2013 Coverage [~ESEA~]