Over the past two weeks, Seattle's restaurant critics have dished on Salted Sea, Nue, and Goldfinch Tavern. Here's what they had to say:
Providence Cicero bestowed two and a half stars upon Ethan Stowell's Goldfinch Tavern: "Those approachable menus read like a Stowell hit parade: crudo, bruschetta, pasta, grilled beef. Visits at lunch and dinner revealed some weak spots. Rubbery gnocchi were over-sauced. Butter and cheese swamped strands of tonnarelli. A gem lettuce salad was short on green goddess dressing; a grilled chicken sandwich was dull. But there were many more ups than downs."
Angela Garbes had much to say about Nue, which alternately had great bites that brought back vivid memories to complete misses: "Beetles, barnacles, duck embryos—these are humble street-food staples around the world that may find a wider audience through Nue. But Cvetkovich and Swain still need to perfect their dishes if they're to truly emulate the best street-food cooks around the world and be the kind of restaurant that people will stalk from across town."
And Nicole Sprinkle hit up Columbia City's new Salted Sea, which likewise had its high notes and let downs: "The restaurant calls itself "a new modern American seafood restaurant and raw bar serving fresh and local seafare with a Vietnamese twist." The intent is to pay homage to the area’s abundant Vietnamese population; though a noble one, it falls a bit short, appearing in some dishes but not all, and when present, barely perceptible. For instance, in one of the most ridiculous appetizers, a plate of maybe 10 huge slices of heirloom tomatoes (some of which were not ripe), the "Vietnamese mint" consisted of two or three scant pieces. With barely any mint or "black olive oil" drizzled on it, it was tasteless. We took a few bites and sent it away, feeling sick about the waste of so much produce. If you don’t mind the haphazardness of the Vietnamese influence, you’re sure to find enough here to enjoy. But it may take more than a few visits to figure it out."