Welcome back to Week in Reviews. Seattle's food critics recently visited Harvest Beat, Seven Beef, JarrBar, and Saint Helens. Here's what they had to say:
WALLINGFORD—Providence Cicero of The Seattle Times awards two-and-a-half stars to vegan fine dining restaurant Harvest Beat, which she thinks is satisfying "whether you are eating vegan for life or just for tonight":
"Salads are pure joy, usually a gathering of several greens, pickled things, foraged ingredients — currently sea beans and Saskatoon berries — and something crunchy. Candied sunflower seeds in one salad bristled with urfa biber, a Turkish chile pepper."
CAPITOL HILL—Cicero also examines the latest from Monsoon and Ba Bar owners Sophie and Eric Banh, "split personality" spot Seven Beef, which "wants to be a steakhouse, but [whose] strength lies in the dishes that reflect the Banh's Vietnamese heritage." Two stars:
"Perhaps, like steak, Seven Beef will improve with age. For now, go for bò 7 món or either of the two killer burgers. Indulge in a decadent dessert, perhaps Brad Van Meerten's Bavarian cream napoleon with strawberry and lychee or Andy Jeong's intense chocolate mousse. Or lift your spirits at happy hour with a Parasol cocktail (vodka, tonic, white port and elderflower) on the just-opened patio."
PIKE PLACE MARKET—The Stranger's Angela Garbes enjoys a trip to "wonderfully cozy" JarrBar, which she considers a successful testing ground for Jarr and Co., the next project from owner Bryan Jarr; it will be "a restaurant and bar, but like Beecher's Cheese, it will also be a retail space where the public can see the production process behind curing and preserving seafood" when it opens next summer in the new Pike Place MarketFront:
"Chipirones ($14), small whole squid, their tentacles tucked sweetly into their bodies, are packed in their own black ink, allowing them to achieve another level of natural, subtle salinity. They are pleasantly chewy and oceanic, and taste as though the tin had been opened to reveal not a cramped metal space but the depths of the sea. Tuna belly, called ventresca ($18), is tender and velvety, even more luxurious as it bathes in a viscous olive oil that slicks your tongue, lips, fingers, and plate in its pale yellow richness."
LAURELHURST—For Seattle Weekly, Nicole Sprinkle applauds Josh Henderson's latest efforts at French-inspired Saint Helens Cafe, which ranks as one of her best meals of 2016:
"The St. Helens Chuck Roast was a delightful surprise as well. The chef works magic with this cheap cut, which shines like a new penny with its sheen of golden-reddish demi-glace. Cut into it and, while it's not obviously as tender as, say, a medium-rare ribeye, it's far from dry. It's neighbored by a side of mashed potatoes that bleed into a blur of black garlic crème fraiche—adding an almost truffle-like earthy decadence."