This week, Seattle Times critic Providence Cicero tucks into hunks of meat at Red Cow, Ethan Stowell's house of carne and frites in Madrona. Cicero says the brasserie (formerly Restaurant Bea, Cremant before that) is unrecognizable post-remodel with its "urban monochrome of black, white and not-quite-50 shades of gray" interior and zinc-topped tables.
The critic starts with the frites, declaring them "fabulous," in contrast to the mondo rib-eye, with "no crust, no juice, in short, a bust." The whole menu flip flops between spot-on and off the mark, with "perfect" roast chicken and mussels that are "a delight" evened out with "poorly seared" scallops and béarnaise sauce that was, "dense as sour cream one night, thin and frothy another."
Things perk up when Cicero gets to side dishes, featuring "beautiful vegetables" including roasted fennel and baby carrots that, while a little firm, were still "sensational." Excellent service that harkens back to Stowell's first restaurant Union tilts Cicero's overall experience back to the positive, even if the space can be noisy. 2.5 stars.
The Stranger's Bethany Jean Clement tries the budget-friendly Red Star Taco Bar, the two-month-old Mexican spot across from the Lenin statue on N 36th St. in Fremont.
With wall art that has "a Soviet-style simplicity," Red Star's menu is priced for the people, with tacos offered for $3 to $5 each. Filled with carne asada, tofu, or a "pliant, spicy, and sweet" Korean-style pork short rib, BJC says the tacos are "pretty big" and "really good."
"Cushy" corn tortillas are made in-house, plus hard shells (aka "Your Mom's Taco") are on the menu, with the later going for a dollar per during happy hour and all day Tuesday: "The shell has more substance to it than the brittle, shattering ones of childhood, and the ground beef drips orange grease just like it should," she writes. Plus, quesadillas, guac with house-made chips for the "near-state-subsidized rate of $5."
Clement recommends going for lunch or early dinner, unless you're into navigating Fremont's weekend "party hordes." Yep, there's a bouncer.
· Red Cow: Fab frites, sharing at Ethan Stowell's brasserie [ST]
· Tacos for the People at Red Star Taco Bar [The Stranger]