The Best New Restaurants in Seattle 2014
The deliciously challenging process of selecting Seattle’s best restaurants and dishes is as much about defining how we eat now—nose-to-tail dining, teeny tiny restaurants, open flame cooking, to name a few trends—as providing a don’t-miss list of epic eats around town. Bon appetit!
Bonus: See some of our favorite stylish restaurants star as the backdrops for our spring 2014 fashion shoot.
And: 21 dishes we loved from a slew of great Seattle restaurants. Find out which ones made the cut.
Tangletown is home to Ethan Stowell’s intimate, pocket-size bistro, Mkt. (pronounced “market”). There, chef Joe Richie impresses with smart, inventive cooking—lamb’s tongue on brown bread, say, and fried quail with plum sauce and rosemary. A small team of expert servers makes the evening flow smoothly, pouring wine—mostly Italian and French—as they squeeze past in the slim, warm space. Make reservations; it’s a popular place, and rightly so. 2108 N 55th St.; 206.812.1580; ethanstowellrestaurants.com
Juicebox started wowing us with its out-of-the-ordinary juice stand at the Broadway Farmers’ Market and at a pop-up inside La Bête restaurant. But now that Brandin Myett, Kari Brunson and Aleks Dimitrijevic have found their own sunny brick-and-mortar shop, it’s the place to get well-crafted, veggie-centric meals of all kinds—think house-made nondairy coconut yogurt with granola ($7) and brown rice congee ($10) for breakfast. At lunch, you can dive into hearty soups served in dainty teacups, gloriously crunchy salads and finely tuned flatbread sandwiches ($9–$12). Little details make the difference here, such as the house-made harissa (North African chili sauce) served with a black bean, avocado and yam wrap or the vivid advieh-spiced slices of pickled turmeric root to punctuate a chicken roll-up ($11). With a mellow Left Coast vibe, Juicebox is the place to come and discover just how good healthy, rootsy food can taste. Oh, and yes, the juices—with unusual combinations such as red pepper, pineapple and coconut or apricot almond milk and honey—are delicious ($7.50). Capitol Hill, 1517 12th Ave., Suite 100; 206.607.7866; juiceboxseattle.com
Le Petit Cochon
The sometimes bombastic menu descriptions (phat-ass pork chop?) at chef Derek Ronspies’ Fremont loft restaurant are, frankly, mostly spot-on. The pork chop here is divine, huge and juicy, pink and delicious, recently accented with a beguiling red mole and sensationally good grits ($32). There’s a masculine energy to the place. You’ll want to drink whiskey and eat meat. We recommend ordering whatever house-cured charcuterie it’s got (especially the lamb prosciutto, which is amazing). But even the subtle dishes impress. Ronspies can cook, and he’s not afraid to let you know he knows it. Fremont, 701 N 36th St.; 206.829.8943; gettinpiggy.com
Miller’s Guild would not like to be identified as a steak house, a term that speaks of business clients and expense accounts and a heavy hand in the kitchen. Talk to members of the Guild and you’ll hear about cocktails made with cask-aged spirits, house-baked breads and pastries, and a fine wine program run by star sommelier and Miller’s Guild partner Jake Kosseff, formerly of Campagne and Wild Ginger. But take one look at the massive, fiery grill they call the “Infierno” and you know that this place is a meat eater’s haven. Char-grilled, succulent chops, steaks and ribs butchered in-house, beef dry-aged to exacting tenderness: These are the reasons to come to Jason Wilson’s newest restaurant, which finally takes him beyond the rarified air of his fine dining restaurant, Crush. The atmosphere is as convivial as a Labor Day barbecue, and heavy steel detailing and piles of wood keep reminding you of that grill. So, sure, you might have some jewel-like ash-roasted beets as a side dish, and you might wash down your short rib with an unexpectedly subtle glass of wine, but don’t be fooled: Miller’s Guild delivers the delights of an old-fashioned steak house, without the stodge. Downtown, 612 Stewart St.; 206.443.3663; millersguild.com
Think of this, Renee Erickson’s (Boat Street, The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins and Narwhal) long, slim strip of a bar, as a midafternoon drink spot, a place for a (very tasty) bite and an apéritif, and you’ll be properly in the mood for the place. There aren’t any large plates here, just 10–12 snacks that hit the salty-savory spot, and a similar array of wines by the glass that casually brag of their Corsican or Italian terroir. Originally meant to serve as a sort of cocktail-and-snack waiting room for the ever-bustling Walrus and the Carpenter, just around the corner, Barnacle is plenty worthy of your full attention. 4743 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.706.3379; thebarnaclebar.com
One of the most unexpected things about Roux, the rustic chic brick-and-mortar French Creole spot from Matt Lewis of the Where Ya At Matt? food truck, is how it’s not a stationary interpretation of the mobile eatery. His impossibly oversize po’ boy sandwiches are on the chalkboard lunch menu that greets you (along with a giant wood wraparound dining bar), but not on the dinner menu, which takes Creole cooking a step sideways into the creative fine dining realm. Two cases in point: deviled eggs with a buttery parcooked yolk swirled with hunks of bacon; and a creamy cauliflower soup that nestles a delicate shrimp dumpling and is topped with roasted shallot bits and a drizzle of sherry. And regulars swear by the braised rabbit leg. The busy chefs still churn out plates upon plates of jambalaya, but we encourage you to taste further into the menu. Don’t forget the beignets for dessert—but you might want to pack a bib for all that powdered sugar, which inevitably cascades down your front. Fremont, 4201 Fremont Ave. N; 206.547.5420; restaurantroux.com
ONES TO WATCH
As we were going to press, the following restaurants had just opened or were on the verge of opening.
Brimmer & Heeltap opened in January in the old Le Gourmand space in far east Ballard. There, chef Mike Whisenhunt (longtime sous chef at Revel and Joule) is cooking upscale pub food with an Asian accent. The London Plane, Matt Dillon’s corner wine bar-cum-larder, was set to launch its much anticipated bakery program in February. Red Cow, Ethan Stowell’s French bistro specializing in steak frites, took over the Madrona space that has housed Cremant, June and Restaurant Bea in February. So, too, Stowell’s return to fine dining, noyer, a 16-seater in an intimate dining room tucked behind Red Cow. Noyer is opening in spring or early summer. Across town in Ballard, Stowell opened chippy’s fish and drink, a 26-seat fish and chips spot, next to his Staple & Fancy Mercantile last month. Mezcaleria de Oaxaca, a second outpost (the first is atop Queen Anne Hill), was set to open earlier this year on Pine Street near Summit Avenue. Especially exciting: the very roomy rooftop deck. Pizzeria Gabbiano is Mike Easton’s (Il Corvo) Roman-style pizzeria in Pioneer Square, where the sourdough-crusted pies will be a meter long. Easton is hoping to open for lunch sometime in June. intermezzo carmine, a cicchetti bar adjoining Il Terrazzo Carmine and also owned by the Carmine Smeraldo family, will open this month in Pioneer Square.