Eater's roving restaurant critic Bill Addison was a busy man in 2015, traversing the country in search of the country's most essential restaurants. Now, the results of his efforts are live and ready for eaters everywhere to consume.
Last year's list included Seattle favorite The Whale Wins, a Renee Erickson gem on Stone Way. Even as the list received a massive 13-restaurant update for 2016, Erickson's restaurant remains on the list.
Here's what Addison had to say:
The Whale Wins takes the communal, Pacific Northwest aesthetic of chef Renee Erickson’s other restaurant, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and delves into dishes that are saucier and riskier, with a menu of punched-up zingers: sardines over toast slathered with curried tomato paste, roasted chicken wings with anchovy-herb vinaigrette, and raclette oozing around green tomato marmalade and date vinegar. The lofty space shines in all of Seattle’s seasons, cozy enough to stand up to the misty months, airy enough to be flooded with light when the sun finally appears.
Addison also released a list of 2016's Restaurant Superlatives, naming Redmond's Miah's Kitchen "Most Profound Noodle Revelation."
During a take-no-prisoners dumpling and noodle crawl, Eater Seattle contributor Jay Friedman led me to his favorite version of China’s northern Shaanxi Province specialty: biang biang (the onomatopoetic name refers to the sound of slapping pulled dough on the counter to form belt-width strands). Dressed only with hot oil and a deluge of crushed dried chiles, the dish directed all the attention on the noodle itself, its nuances of snap and tug and suppleness. Their utter vividness made more of an impression than any other dish in a whole that week of memorable eating in Seattle.