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Clement Heads to Brimmer & Heeltap; Scheff Charmed by Aragona; Tallulah's and Tipsy Cow Burger Reviewed

[Tallulah's, Aragona, Brimmer & Heeltap. Photos: S. Pratt]

Once she gets past the "terrible name," The Stranger's food critic Bethany Jean Clement tilts slightly to the plus side in her review of the four-month-old Brimmer & Heeltap in Ballard. The "Pearis 75" cocktail— "a perfect combination of sweet and sour and sharp and fizzy"—is a bright spot. Same goes for the steak tartare. The critic says the "ruby-red meat has the warming taste of sesame oil, bits of scallion, maybe a hint of rice vinegar" served on a crunchy nori cracker. It's "mind-erasingly good."

But things get dicier with her too-chewy chuck steak served on a "slippery-to-the-point-of-slimy kombu seaweed salad" and asparagus that was a "failure of the sum of its parts."

Still, Clement declares the restaurant in the former Le Gourmand space, "bustling and friendly and airy," with a chef that takes "admirable" chances in the kitchen and serves plates at fair price points, even if, according to the critic, "...the food isn't 100 percent awesome."

Before departing Seattle Mag, Allison Austin Scheff filed a review of Jason Stratton's downtown Spanish spot Aragona, and it's overwhelmingly positive. The menu "riffs" on traditional Spanish fare, "but it's not by the book." The beef tongue? "roundly delicious." A sunchoke tortilla? "just short of sublime." Plus, salads are "done marvelously." Still, some items on the restaurant's first menus were off-base, including chicken served with overdone foie gras and hearts of palm salad weighed down by egg.

Scheff calls dessert from pastry chef Clare Gordon "exceptionally unexpected," with "grassy" olive oil ice cream roughed up by croutons and served with chocolate mousse.

Over at Seattle Met, critic Kathryn Robinson heads to Tallulah's on 19th Ave. in Capitol Hill. Robinson calls the "all grown up" latest from Linda Derschang "a classy, glassy marvel of midcentury good taste" serving "eggy brunches" and "healthy mains" The space? It's filled with "aging hipsters" presumindly bobbing their heads to Dusty Springfield tracks.

Seattle Times restaurant critic Providence Cicero drives across the lake to Redmond's Tipsy Cow Burger. Prepare for a kid fest with a few diners "pushing 60" thrown into the mix at the bustling new burger spot. Cicero was OK with the patties just leaning pink, but in retrospect would have opted for a medium-rare lamb burger instead of the default medium. Beef is served on Macina buns, which are also stuffed with salmon, or the "Notorious P.I.G." marinated in sauce from Ballard's Boar's Nest. The critic's sweet potato fries arrived soggy, but the hand-cut potato version were "wonderful."

Even the salads were solid, including a kicky Caesar. Shakes come plain Jane or spiked. The cocktail list includes "a vodka-laced strawberry-balsamic-rosemary lemonade that is terrific sans alcohol, too." Long story short? Cicero says Tipsy Cow's owners "nailed it."
· Another Ampersand: What the Hell Is a Brimmer & Heeltap? [The Stranger]
· New Downtown Seattle Restaurant Aragona Charms with Spanish Food and Sophisticated Decor [Seattle Mag]
· Tallulah's: Classy, Glassy, and All Grown Up [Seattle Met]
· Tipsy Cow Burger Bar: Fun for Carnivores and Salad Lovers, Too [Seattle Times]

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