Welcome back to Eater Seattle's Something for the Weekend column. Every Friday, you probably ask the same question: Where should I eat and drink this weekend? Covering brunch, dinner, and everything in between, here now, three places to try.
February 24, 2017
Fast food meets Northwest sensibilities at Li'l Woody's three burger locations. High-brow ingredients like Painted Hills grass-fed beef, pickled figs, Tillamook cheese, and Full Tilt ice cream have the run of the menu. It's all good here, but if you go this weekend you can catch the end of Burger Month, which involved four special guest-chef burgers released over the course of four weeks. Up last, but certainly not least, is Jason Stratton, with a creation he’s named after the illustrious Big Freedia. His burger involves fried cauliflower, pistachio, Calabrian chile relish, feta cheese, tahini mayo, mint, cilantro and dill mixed greens, and a baharat-spiced beef patty.
The city is seemingly overrun with poke options lately, but the Hawaiian raw fish salad bowls are tops at Gopoké in the International District. Heck, even the various salad elements look gorgeous in their serving trays. Take the time to read the owners’ touching family history on display inside, and skip the Dole Whip in favor of the homemade mochi ice cream.
Squeeze into steamy Ooink, the new ramen spot replacing Vostok Dumpling House at the top of the Harvard Market shopping center. A few practicalities: Be prepared for a wait, especially at peak times, and don’t forget to add your name to the list via iPad when you walk in. Several styles of ramen are presented, including shio, miso, shoyu, and kotteri, which also comes in a spicy version. Don’t skip out on the new addition of fried chicken drumsticks, perfectly crisped and laced with addictive heat.
February 17, 2017
Wood Shop BBQ
The Central District’s new Wood Shop BBQ is the home for a business that was born as a food truck. The cozy space can get crowded, so go early and stuff your gut with barbecue that reflects a range of regional influences, plus well-made house cocktails. Beef ribs and the mac-and-cheese bowls (which are topped with the likes of pulled pork and housemade sauce) are among the highlights.
In addition to making an impressive range of breads, Essential Baking’s shops also serve darn good lunches with soups, salads, and a festive collection of sandwiches that utilize those breads. There’s a Cubano, a pork belly banh mi, and a reuben — none of which sticks entirely to the original formula, each of which is tasty in its own right.
The Pamana Hotel recently earned National Historic Landmark status. Its cafe offers a wide selection of loose-leaf teas, plus booze for tea cocktails, which you can sip from comfy chairs surrounded by history: There’s a cut-out in the floor that looks down to the basement, where Internment-era suitcases have sat for decades. It’s a fascinating and important part of Seattle history, and a must for anyone who isn’t familiar with the building.
February 10, 2017
It seems strange to build a restaurant around something as humble as a rice porridge, but it works well at Kraken Congee’s subterranean den in Pioneer Square — congee is gussied up with ingredients like pork threads and five-spice duck confit and complemented by other stand-outs like pork belly adobo pinch buns and nuoc cham-marinated eye of round steak. It’s all deeply flavorful and satisfying food, with well-crafted cocktails to boot.
Josh Henderson unleashed a whole mess of restaurants on Seattle last year, with Vestal as the standout hit. Meant to be a restaurant for Henderson himself to spend time at, it’s a good place to eat food that the chef oversees or cooks personally. The open kitchen and large, wood-fired hearth are fetching, as is the food, featuring regional ingredients beautifully prepared and plated, with delightful combinations of things pickled, marinated, braised, preserved, and roasted.
Salare is a masterpiece. Named Eater Seattle’s 2015 Chef of the Year (among a slew of other accolades and awards), chef/owner Edouardo Jordan continues to impress with nose-to-tail dishes, creative takes on vegetables and grains, and a range of cooking techniques that include housemade pasta and charcuterie. With his new restaurant Junebaby opening in the coming weeks, there’s plenty to be excited about from this impressive chef.