Welcome back to Week in Reviews. Seattle's food critics recently visited Tarsan i Jane, Bok a Bok, Sushi Kashiba, Wataru, Bok a Bok, and Upper Bar Ferdinand. Here's what they had to say:
FRELARD—In a three-and-a-half star review, Providence Cicero of The Seattle Times is "impressed every step of the way through seven beautifully plated courses" at young Valencian restaurant Tarsan i Jane, which recently went five-, seven-, or nine-course tasting menu-only:
"Trust me, [chef/co-owner Perfecte] Rocher says. Here are several reasons why you should: Smoked cherry, beet and red pepper gazpacho, electrifying in its intensity, with pearls of goat cheese hiding in its dark red depths. An oyster on the half shell with sea beans poking through orange-lemon-lime granita, and a dollop of piney, sprouted basil seeds nestled in the crushed ice. Carrots flaunting their sweetness three ways: confitted, puréed and masquerading as guacamole."
PIKE PLACE MARKET—For Seattle Weekly, Nicole Sprinkle admires legendary chef Shiro Kashiba's latest lair, Sushi Kashiba, which is "welcoming and casually elegant". She says a signature cocktail with gin, Dolin Blanc, elderflower, and shiso liqueur is perhaps the best drink she's had all year, and marvels at the chef's choice omakase experience at the sushi bar:
"Though I was disappointed we didn't get any uni (it was there and I could have asked), I was delighted by the smallish smelt, a Puget Sound staple, and by the assertive but not pungent Spanish mackerel. My dining partner and I each had 10 pieces, and while that may not sound like a lot, we added a couple of a la carte dishes and were pleasantly full."
RAVENNA—Meanwhile, The Stranger's Angela Garbes asserts that "the city's best sushi is in Ravenna," at Wataru, where chef/owner Kotaro Kumita (a former apprentice of Shiro Kashiba's) specializes in classic techniques of Edomae sushi:
"I've eaten countless pieces of scallop nigiri, but this one tasted entirely new. First, a fat crystal of salt landed on my tongue and I felt it fizzle away under the bright acidity of the lemon juice. My palate was fully awakened and now able to appreciate the rich scallop, which had already been treated with the flavors that had just flashed across my tongue. What Kumita had quietly done was the equivalent of lighting a firework to begin the meal. He had my full attention, and I knew what was coming next would be dazzling and fun."
WHITE CENTER—For Seattle Weekly, Sprinkle also calls the Korean fried chicken at perpetually busy Bok a Bok "worth the wait":
"The chicken itself is flaky, fried to a light golden hue, and not terribly greasy. Bite into the crispy skin and the juicy, flavorful meat is evidence of the quality of the sustainably raised chickens the restaurant buys. The chicken parts themselves are exceptionally large—I could have sworn that one thigh was actually two, somehow engineered together. The wings also are plump and meaty. The chicken is salted minimally, which makes sense given the dynamite dipping sauces."
CAPITOL HILL—Seattle Met's Kathryn Robinson appreciates "idiosyncratic restaurateur" Matt Dillon's Upper Bar Ferdinand, where cultures merge in food that is "unscripted, elemental, madly unbound by expectation":
"What ultimately renders UBF so satisfying is the hand-hewn, elemental aesthetic of the food reflected in the Chophouse Row space—a masterpiece of raw wood, exposed beams, and cool concrete where hard corners, lively angles, and primal Dillon signatures, meat locker to wood oven, conspire to deliver the world's most sophisticated sense of cozy. Come for a glass of intelligently curated wine, a bottle to go, a nibble, a meal; be in New York, perhaps an English mews, make that a tribal village. Or, you know, Vashon island."