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James Lechner of Stoneburner Shares His Hidden Dinner Spot

"The chef seems to have a healthy whiskey fetish."

Geoffrey Smith

Seattle is home to a lot of restaurants, and among them are hidden gems some Seattleites just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food luminaries to share with us their under the radar recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.

James Lechner has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 15 years, currently spending his time as the General Manager and Wine Director of Bastille Cafe & Bar and Managing Partner at Stoneburner. Lechner really knows his stuff when it comes to wine; he studied through the International Sommelier Guild and Court of Master Sommelier and was named among the Best Sommeliers in Seattle by CBS in 2012.

Lechner is a big fan of his neighborhood Lebanese restaurant, Cafe Munir in Loyal Heights:

I've always liked to walk down the street for dinner. Something satisfying in strolling through the 'hood, leaving the dishes behind. I grew up in a place where everyone had a "local" -- pub, cafe, pizza shop, whatever -- a neighborhood joint you would walk to. Our local these days is Cafe Munir in the Loyal Heights neighborhood. We love it because the cooking is honest and the flavors are true.

I never had Lebanese food growing up on the east coast, or if I did I didn't know it, and I'll admit that many people could walk circles around me regarding their knowledge of balila, lebheh, fattoush, besara. Doesn't matter -- the food feels right, the environment is comfortable, the joint is simple and without airs.

The chef seems to have a healthy whiskey fetish, which I can't fault, and you can bet there'll be an interesting bottle of red with a name you can't pronounce that is made better by all that surrounds it. I always walk out feeling better than when I walked in. To me, that's what matters.

Cafe Munir

2408 Northwest 80th Street, , WA 98117 (206) 783-4190 Visit Website

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