This week, The Stranger has a not so great experience at Ballard Annex Oyster House. You know things are going to go downhill when the reservation making process proves irksome. Bethany Jean Clement finds the lobster ravioli, New England clam chowder, and an appetizer of baby octopus underwhelming.
To be fair, these were the three worst things I tried at BAOH. The rest of the food was just fine, including a serviceable Caesar salad with planks of garlic toast instead of croutons ($8); adequate seared sockeye ($22); perfectly acceptable seared scallops, albeit with a peculiar side of green beans, cherry tomatoes, onion, bacon, and what seemed like turnip ($22); wholly edible, extremely cheesy oysters Rockefeller ($12 for three); respectable crab cakes (though lacking any big chunks of crab), both Dungeness and Maryland blue ($28 for the two); a decent lobster roll ($20), though with somewhat chewy filling (and why, why would you do this to a lobster unless the place was literally crawling with them?).
To sum up this review, if you want good seafood, go down the street to Walrus and the Carpenter.
Seattle Met restaurant critic Kathryn Robinson checks out Agrodolce, the third restaurant from Maria Hines. While other critics have given the place a "meh" grade, Robinson...basically does the same. But where Seattle Times critic Providence Cicero referred to Agrodolce as "more sour than sweet," Robinson refers to it as "certifiably sweet and sour." So, there is that. Speaking of a wild arugula salad Robinson says:
It offered a sense of unrestrained abundance that is rare at Agrodolce, a kitchen so circumscribed by its organic mandate that innovation stays within bounds, and—to remain affordable—portions trend small (particularly at brunch) and ingredients few. Perhaps this is what makes some dishes so uneventful.
Robinson points to a few mediocre dishes that were followed by a string of winners, ultimately saying that: "When this kitchen's on, it's on."