In the past month, Seattle Times critic Providence Cicero visited Chop Shop, Wataru, Eden Hill, and Bramling Cross. Here's what she had to say:
CAPITOL HILL—In a two-star review, Cicero laments that the differences in lunch and dinner services at chef/owner Ericka Burke's Chop Shop are like night and day, somewhat literally:
"Dinner was a pricey roll-of-the-dice. Chop Shop's kitchen seemed most adroit in the daytime. Night or day, I was impressed by the cordial staff. That's important for a restaurant angling to be the neighborhood's go-to destination, whether for morning juice, a lunch salad, an after-work beer or a big night out. But to fully succeed in an arena as wildly diverse and competitive as this one, Chop Shop may need to rethink its dinner strategy, or at least its execution."
RAVENNA—The critic awards three stars to Wataru, where chef/owner Kotaru Kumita is serving "some of Seattle's best sushi":
"The two-sided sushi bar is an intimate experience, conducive to camaraderie even among strangers. You'll sit in a comfortable chair, with a ledge for your feet. You are not required to order omakase (chef's choice) at the bar, but purists will say you should, and I would agree.[...]After the final bite, a crunchy, palate-reviving roll filled with cucumber, gobo, shiso and umeboshi plum, it was hard not to applaud."
QUEEN ANNE—Cicero also bestows three stars upon Eden Hill, where chef/owner Maximillian Petty's "food is provocative, but approachable, and consistently delicious," especially the restaurant's insta-classic candy bar:
"My dinner date was dubious about the crispy pig head candy bar, essentially a log of compressed head cheese and fermented black beans that is breaded and deep-fried. We ended up vying for the final bites, and the last frothy drop of the cinnamon-spiced pear and Champagne sauce that so well complemented the meat."
BALLARD—Finally, Cicero doles out three stars to restaurateur Ethan Stowell's Bramling Cross, "an American-style gastropub with a distinctly British air" where "the food is as polished and smart as the room":
"The real fried chicken is aptly dubbed 'dynamite.' It's a whole Mad Hatcher Farm bird, cut into eight pieces, each with a dark-brown jacket that makes a resounding crunch. The dark meat is almost as pale and juicy as the boned hunks of breast meat. The package deal for $38 includes a side of grits flooded with butter and collards slow-cooked with bacon and vinegar."