Welcome back to Week in Reviews. Seattle's food critics recently visited Eve, Marine Hardware, Heartwood Provisions, Upper Bar Ferdinand, No Bones Beach Club, and a bevy of spots with fancy burgers. Here's what they had to say:
FREMONT—The Seattle Times' Providence Cicero has a mixed experience with "voluptuous" Eve and its "haute hippie cuisine;" ultimately, the scales are tipped to a two-and-a-half star grade thanks to a strong salad selection and stars like the bison burger and the "hot bowl":
"I loved that vinaigrette-sparked mix of grains (farro, freekah, wild rice and black barley) and vegetables (grilled asparagus, radishes, carrots, cherry tomatoes and golden beets) interposed with pepitas, almonds and sesame seeds. It sounds virtuous, but tastes voluptuous, with or without the addition of a poached egg."
BALLARD—Cicero also awards two-and-a-half stars to Marine Hardware, which recently replaced sister spot Chippy's with a tasting menu-focused concept that Cicero calls "Staple & Fancy lite," in reference to owner Ethan Stowell's similar restaurant next door. The critic tuts, "the menu I experienced could have been more finely tuned":
"The chef's pasta choice was porcini agnolotti. Though lavished with fresh peas, brown butter and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, those little pouches were not as plump or tender as they should have been. They languished on the plate, unlike the potato gnocchi, my choice on another night. No bigger than a pinkie fingertip, they were resplendent in a lamb neck sugo roused with rosemary and sage under a shingled canopy of shaved summer black truffle."
VARIOUS—Also for the Times, Bethany Jean Clement and Tan Vinh rate five fancy hamburgers, "The secret to non-bank-breaking happiness at the swankiest restaurants around." Goldfinch Tavern's is "good, just not four-stars-Four-Seasons-meticulous-in-detail-good"—two-and-a-half stars. Lark's is "a messy, marvelous tribute to the best of fast food"—three stars.
Seven Beef's is "almost as dreamy as the famed Minetta Tavern's dry-aged burger in the West Village"—three-and-a-half stars. El Gaucho's is, like the restaurant itself, "a big, rich, indulgent old-school classic"—three-and-a-half stars. And Bateau's is "drippy-rich, buttery, simple yet a marvel of flavor"—top honors with four stars, just like the restaurant itself earned in Cicero's full review recently.
DOWNTOWN—For Seattle Weekly, Nicole Sprinkle enjoys the cocktail-and-food-pairings conceit of Heartwood Provisions, where her "confidence in each and every plate is unquestioned":
"Overall, the restaurant feels thoroughly downtown. It has that corporate-expense-account vibe, but would also make a good choice for dinner before a show at Benaroya Hall. That said, an underlying blandness in its perfection could easily turn off Seattle diners who seek more personality and quirk in their dining experiences, or who fret that Seattle has lost its edge. If it seems strange to fault a restaurant for that, it's only because Seattle is filled with places where unique charms are abundant."
CAPITOL HILL—Sprinkle is slightly less impressed with Matt Dillon's Japanese-inspired Upper Bar Ferdinand, where she yearns "for a little more exuberance on the plate":
"And this is where Dillon loses me: In his reverence for the beautiful ingredients he sources, he often fails to allow the vinegars and broths and preserves he's painstakingly crafted to coax forth the natural richness of the proteins. His restraint is but one step shy of perfection, and the tongue is left wanting."
BALLARD—The Stranger's Angela Garbes gushes about vegan Tiki bar No Bones Beach Club, where owner MacKenzie DeVito and her staff "have succeeded in creating a space that's fun, welcoming, and, most importantly, delicious":
"If you think of vegan food as being both virtuous and joyless, order a platter of No Bones' cauliflower wings in coconut buffalo sauce ($9), which also comes with a gratuitous side of creamy ranch dressing. Traditional buffalo sauces are a mix of a cayenne, vinegar, and lots of butter. Here, the sauce is as tangy and spicy as you would want, but DeVito masterfully substitutes in coconut cream 'for that extra butter punch.'"