The past two weeks, the city's restaurant critics have reviewed Good Bar, Manolin, Cantina Leña, Redmond's Blu Sardinia, as well as revisited some old classics. Here's a roundup of what they're saying:
Kathryn Robinson raved about the décor, food, and drinks at Josh and Nancy Kelly's Good Bar: "Kelly put two smart things on the menu: an all-star and a deep bench. The former is the sloppy joe, a lush extravagance of Painted Hills beef sweetened with tomato and a drizzle of caramelized onion aioli, deepened with stout and a lengthy reduction ... This sloppy joe was perfect, a phrase I'm not sure I ever saw myself writing, and has in Good Bar's six months become one of this city's great craveables ... But there's more on this menu, and much of it is very good, and that's where the deep bench comes in."
For Angela Garbes, some of the dishes from new seafood heaven Manolin are overthought, but there's still plenty to love in cuisine, cocktails, ambiance, and service: "Manolin feels like a beach vacation—not the cheesy kind with blended drinks and fresh towels, but the kind of oasis you might discover at the end of a bumpy ride down a dusty road, where you take up residence in a palapa and subsist on fresh fruit, seafood, and warm tequila for weeks ... For food, you'll want to start with the rockfish ceviche ($10), a dish so lovingly described by our server (who later introduced himself as co-owner Joe Sundberg) that we couldn't resist: Soft pieces of the mild fish, marinated in plenty of lime juice and chili, tumble out of the buttery half avocado in which they are served (bless you, Manolin, for being so generous with your avocados)."
Allison Austin Scheff says some flavors still need balancing, but predicts the Mexican Cantina Leña will become the pre-Cinerama spot Tom Douglas was hoping for: "Oddly for a cantina, the best thing on the menu is a charred broccoli salad, the finely chopped brassicas wearing a savory smoked Cotija cheese dressing and a crumbling of corn nuts ($9). In fact, the drinks here upstage the food: Jake's margarita plays up the smokiness of Zapopan reposado tequila by adding a Laphroaig whiskey float ($10); my favorite margarita on the menu mixes serrano-chile-infused blanco tequila with floral-sweet hibiscus for a hot, tart, sweet sipper in a pretty shade of pink."
Providence Cicero has a few suggestions, but is overall a fan of Redmond's Blu Sardina, a contemporary Italian restaurant by the proprietor of Kirkland's Ristorante Paradiso: "I marveled over moscardini, a horde of tender, toothsome whole baby octopi awash in a briny tomato sauce judiciously spiked with hot red pepper ... Shaved bottarga (pressed, salt-cured mullet roe) topped an arugula and fennel salad. I love bottarga's salty burst of umami, but the strips stuck to the teeth like gumdrops. Grating it over the salad might work better." Two and a half stars.
- Three and a half stars: Dahlia Lounge, Il Terrazzo Carmine, Café Juanita, Canlis
- Three stars: Metropolitan Grill, The Georgian, Wild Ginger, The Herbfarm
- Two and a half stars: Shiro's Sushi
- One star: the dining room at Salish Lodge