Welcome back to Week in Reviews. Seattle's food critics recently visited Bateau and Bar Melusine, Heyday, Stock, and four other new restaurants that serve burgers. Here's what the reviewers had to say:
CAPITOL HILL—For the first time, The Seattle Times critic Providence Cicero awards four stars, the paper's top score. James Beard Award-nominated Renee Erickson's new steakhouse Bateau (bolstered by its neighboring Bar Melusine) gets the honors. Erickson "isn't the only chef with her own farm, nor is Bateau unique in butchering whole animals and aging beef on site. But no establishment in town pulls all those elements together with such elegance and élan as Bateau," Cicero gushes:
"The entire dining experience at Bateau is smooth sailing, from the moment the host takes your coat at the door, to the petite chocolate chip meringues that come with the bill. Let it be noted that Sea Creatures was a leader in abolishing tipping in favor of a 20 percent service charge at all of its restaurants. Clearly it hasn't encouraged slacking off. Waiters are as well versed in bovine anatomy as in French varietals. They divine a table's needs like an app that has access to your thoughts, pacing the meal with relaxed grace and humor."
PHINNEY RIDGE—Seattle Weekly's Nicole Sprinkle sees mixed results during an early look at Stock, where the duck sandwich is "perfection on a bun," the congee is "tasty enough" though not quite as good as Kraken Congee's, and the duck pho "tastes like, well, healthier pho, and made me yearn for some fatty brisket or tripe." She wishes more chefs would open this kind of "neighborhood hangout," though:
"As the city grows up and a new restaurant hot spot seems to appear every week, this feels like an antidote to the big-time construction and the big-name establishments, less pomp than circumstance. And, indeed, Stock is quietly bustling with folks who live nearby, and its illustrations of Japanese gardens, paper flowers on the tables, and light wooden booths suggest little beyond simplicity—evoking an ambience of casual warmth on a budget."
MOUNT BAKER—Also for Seattle Weekly, Sprinkle praises the burgers and more at "chic and family-friendly" Heyday, suggesting, "If you live in the neighborhood, this will surely become one of your regular spots. If not, it's well worth the trip":
"The Saigon burger was an unexpected treat, its patty made from beef, pork, and shrimp. The texture is similar to that of a turkey burger, and the taste reminded me a little of the inside of a pork and shrimp dumpling you'd find at dim sum. Like a banh mi, it comes bundled with Napa cabbage, carrots, pickled daikon, mint, and cilantro, and is dressed with a slightly spicy Sriracha aioli."
VARIOUS—And The Stranger's Angela Garbes tests the burgers at six spots, concluding, "Even the fanciest burgers can't front on the best of fast food":
Heyday—"I was surprised to be so captivated by the Beety Bean burger."
CaliBurger—An "unapologetic In-N-Out copycat" with underwhelming burgers but "fantastic" fries.
Two Doors Down—The green chile burger was "oozy and delicious, though I found myself wanting just a bit more heat."
Bramling Cross—The Bramling Burger "is truly great."
Seven Beef—"Within a menu dominated by steaks that cost up to $135, the burger felt—and tasted—like an afterthought."
Bateau—"It's enough to make you forget (or not even care) that there are steaks on the menu."