Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Rumblings #1: Anchovies & Olives

That's's Seattle Restaurant Week again! *Happy Dance* *Joy Shimmy* For those new to the blog, Ann and I did a series of posts last spring, critiquing five restaurants. We intend on doing the same this fall, with another five restaurants:
  1. Anchovies & Olives
  2. Poppy
  3. Joule
  4. Mistral Kitchen
  5. The Georgian
First up is Anchovies & Olives, Ethan Stowell's Capitol Hill haunt that specializes in...wait for it...Italian seafood dishes. Bet you didn't see that coming. But it's not your typical Seattle seafood restaurant. You won't find pan-seared salmon with {insert green vegetable} and {insert yellow-white starch}. These are off-the-beaten-path entrees that take advantage of the bountiful seasonal options of the Pacific Northwest. Hamachi. Mackerel. Geoduck. This is comfort food that's outside your comfort zone.


Escolar Crudo

Both of us: Escolar Crudo w/ Fennel, Lime and Avocado. Named by GQ magazine as one of the 5 best dishes in America. Great starter. Stowell's starters are always enjoyable (my favorite is Hamachi with lime, avocado and serrano), and this is no exception. The escolar has just a hint of fishy odor, is soft and buttery, and goes very well with the smooth avocado puree and freshness of lime and fennel. A-



Ann: Risotto w/ Uni Butter and Geoduck. Risotto was creamy and cooked to a perfect consistency but the important parts were a) the Uni butter sauce and b) geoduck (which I hope you're pronouncing 'gooey-duck' in your head and not 'gee-oh duck', you amateur). What was this magical uni stuff? As I expected an uni sauce to taste like, it was sharp, pungent and slightly seafood fishy - in a good way. Oh and the b) chewy pieces of geoduck scattered throughout added some texture and balance but wasn't too obnoxious since risotto is about the rice and sauce. It was oh so fatty and delicious. B+


Nick: Gnocchetti w/ Bacon, Chantrellles & Cabbage. Love gnocchetti! It's my new favorite pasta. Little, open gnocchi that resemble grubs. I know that's not an appetizing analogy, but this is my blog, so DEAL WITH IT. Savory bacon lardons and chewy chantrelles bring it all together. If there was one thing I would change, it would be slightly more cabbage. It needed slightly more ruffage, and maybe a touch of earthy pecarino shaved on top. B

Ann: Chocolate cake with caramel sauce. Deep and dense, and overwhelming. Food coma-inducing. Decadent cake like this is always amazing, but I really made a mistake of going with back-to-back rich dishes (risotto then cake). Be forewarned: ending a rich fall meal with a heavyweight dessert can be hazardous to your waistline. Your pants will find themselves magically becoming unbuttoned when you finally settle in on the couch (where I am as I write this). B

Nick: Vanilla Panna Cotta w/ Huckleberries. Huckleberries are one of my favorites. I first discovered them in an ice cream on the way to Smith Rock for some rock climbing, about 15 years ago. Anyway you can infuse them in a dessert, I'm there. Light and fluffy panna cotta is a perfect delivery vehicle after a rich and savory entree. B+

On a lighter (and what ultimately was an intensely dense) note, Chris went with ice cream with almond cookie for desert. We each sunk our spoons into the mounds. It was like digging into room temperature butter. It looked like vanilla bean ice cream, but felt like the creamiest gelato ever. We put it our mouths. Oh mama. It was creamier, thicker, and richer than we imagined. Our eyes bugged. We stared at each other in astonishment. Had we just had the most creamalicious gelato ever designed by man? No sooner had we began opining on what we had just experienced, our waitress ran over with another bowl of ice cream with cookie. We looked at her and pointed at the first bowl. She nodded, and simply said "yeah, we're sorry...we gave you marscarpone." Whoa...What?! Yes, vanilla bean marscarpone cheese. Not much more to say than, holy shit, that is a gut-bomb. We occasionally snuck in bites of it, just to remind our taste buds, and stomachs, of what not to have on a regular, or even a rare, basis.

The Aftermath (The offending marscarpone in the center) 

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