Welcome back to Week in Reviews. Seattle's food critics recently visited Saint Helens Cafe, Nirmal's, and Mamnoon Street. Here's what they had to say:
LAURELHURST—The Seattle Times' Providence Cicero assigns a middling two stars to Saint Helens, speculating that the "promising" yet "struggling" young cafe is a sign of Josh Henderson and his prolific Huxley Wallace Collective "biting off more than they can comfortably chew":
"Whole roasted trout with brown butter, smoked lemon and rye croutons could have been a knockout dish, but the perfectly cooked fish lacked lemon, and burnt rye croutons provided the only trace of smoke. The waiter offered to have the kitchen fillet the fish. They did, then reassembled it for presentation with many bones remaining."
PIONEER SQUARE—For Seattle Met, Kathryn Robinson hails Nirmal's as Seattle's "destination Indian" restaurant:
"[Chef Nirmal Monteiro] is as precise with a $10 lunchtime kati roll—overstuffed with greens, tandoori chicken, and spiced, fried potatoes—as he is with a thali platter; his daily dahl rotates among 10 different types ('Every region has its variation!') and he doesn't think twice about, say, throwing a steak in the tandoor oven. Sacred cow isn't exactly traditional fare in Hindu India—but experimentation is a hallmark of Nirmal's daily specials."
DENNY TRIANGLE—Seattle Weekly's Nicole Sprinkle loves that Mamnoon Street is more open and affordable than its successful sister, Mamnoon, and insists Seattleites not "let the Amazonians claim this gem as their own":
"The lahm bi ajine was the star of the show, albeit a show filled with hits. Miraculously squeezed inside a quarter-inch of space between two pieces of warm flatbread is ground lamb, pomegranate molasses, and herb salad. Each bite yields a surprise: Will the sweet molasses ooze out and maybe trickle down your chin, or will you gently bite into the perfectly seasoned lamb with just the right gamy note?"
THE BLOGS: Goat Federation drools over the off-menu bone marrow at Asadero Sinaloa