Blind Pig Bistro Innovates in Eastlake
The single most ridiculous restaurant space in the city is now in its third chapter. Much has been made of how Matt Dillon’s original Sitka and Spruce and then Christina Choi’s Nettletown overcame the limitations of the undersize strip-mall doughnut shop in which they rocked the culinary world. The teensy quarters lent novelty, intimacy, and alt cred both needed to distinguish themselves more as food salons than as restaurants.
Enter Charles Walpole, former chef of Ethan Stowell seafood house Anchovies and Olives, with Blind Pig Bistro—“blind pig” being the slang term for another marginalized enterprise, the speakeasy.
Yet again, invention reigns at the doughnut shop. Juicy slices of flat iron steak drape across roasted fingerlings and hedgehog mushrooms, a smoky puddle of eggplant puree alongside. Cuttlefish slices march across a melange of orange slices, olives, spring pea shoots, and green chickpeas in a salad almost feral in its tart and sprouty flavors. Dishes come in small and regular sizes, a generous touch.
Walpole prefers the same high range of acerbic, tangy notes he played with at Anchovies and Olives, and “play” is indeed the word on the daily-changing chalkboard menu. The decor—nine tables, salsa-red walls, boar’s head taxidermy—is finally just right. Alas, not every composition will sing just exactly on key. Which for food salonistas is not too high a price for invention.