Enotria in Laurelhurst

<i>Seattle's</i> food editor dishes on her recent meal and asks: Did I order the wrong thing?

Category: Eat + Drink Articles

 

When I’m served a clunky dish in a seemingly popular restaurant, my knee-jerk reaction is to assume that I’ve simply ordered the wrong thing. That’s what kept running through my mind at Enotria, the dimly lit Italian date spot that replaced Laurelhurst’s Union Bay Cafe last August.

The pricey seafood sampler ($24) paired three grilled (but in my case, burnt) prawns, impossibly grainy crab cakes, two fried oysters served with an overly acidic lemon vinaigrette, and a pair of perfectly seared scallops with a nice olive–Meyer lemon salsa.

It was a rough start, especially since we’d spied chef David Hahne in the restaurant’s open kitchen. This should’ve been a good omen—having the chef on hand usually translates to near-perfect execution from the kitchen. But it didn’t. Caesar salad ($9) wore a heavy—albeit nicely fishy—dressing. Skate fish ($24), which was highly recommended by our buttery-smooth waiter, suffered from its acrid citrus vinaigrette; I could see the fish, but I couldn’t taste it. It was a confusing experience: Some dishes showed sure signs of skill, including lamb chops ($26) grilled to rare perfection and tasting of a healthy gaminess. But then Hahne topped them with a colorful but flavorless tomato-basil garnish (no surprise, since the summery topping was completely out of season when I visited in March).

With so few successes and so many wrong turns, it’s confounding to note that the neighborhood is packing the place nightly. Who knows? Maybe we did just order the wrong thing. Dinner daily. Laurelhurst, 3515 NE 45th St.; 206.527.5039; enotriaseattle.com. $$

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