Shanik: Lamb Popsicles

Branzino

Oven-Roasted Branzino
The amber-lit Belltown beaut specializes in the Mediterranean sea bass it’s named for, which arrives whole for the server to fillet tableside. Seasoned crackling skin gives way to fluffy moist whitefish, served over salsa verde and topped with a refreshing arugula--fennel salad. Every bite is fun. 2429 Second Ave, Belltown, 206-728-5181; branzinoseattle.com

 

Shanik

Lamb Popsicles
Here’s a dish that at once establishes Shanik’s relationship to the astonishing Vij’s in Vancouver, BC—they’re sister Indian restaurants—and distinguishes itself. Unlike the creamy Vij’s version, this one places the beautifully sourced, popsiclelike lamb chops into a subtle coconut curry over a texture-rich split pea and spinach mash—rendering it both more Indian and more Cascadian than its admirable prototype. 500 Terry Ave N, South Lake Union, 206-486-6884; shanikrestaurant.com

 

The Wurst Place

Belgian Style Frites
It was a simple assignment: Find the best fries in town. Who knew they’d be inside this throwbacky Grateful Dead–loving beer hall near Amazon. Sure, order brats—they’re terrific—but do not miss these fries: hand cut, soaked to leach out starches, then fried not once but twice for exceptional crunch. Improve on perfection by dredging them through one of the Wurst Place’s eight dipping sauces, like sriracha Thai chili. 510 Westlake Ave N, South Lake Union, 206-623-3548; thewurstplace.com

 

Bar Sajor: Chuletón de Buey

Bar Sajor

Chuletón de Buey
During Spanish winters, the cider houses of Basque country throw open their doors to offer guests pints of tart cider and rib-eye steaks (chuletón) cooked over fire. That ancient European tradition comes to delectable life in Seattle’s own ancient neighborhood, Pioneer Square, where chef Matt Dillon turns dry-aged rib-eyes into crisp-on-the-outside, pink-on-the-inside dinners for two, suffused with juice and tang and smoke. Topped with Treviso and garlic, accented with glasses of cider—it’s a fitting repast amid the Old World splendor of Bar Sajor. 323 Occidental Ave S, Pioneer Square, 206-682-1117; barsajor.com

 

Tanglewood Supreme

Sake Poached Octopus
This undersize joint off a Magnolia alley proved the sleeper of 2013, for chef Jeffrey Kessenich’s artful way around a piece of pristine seafood, line-caught king salmon to Alaskan weathervane scallops. He handily passed the octopus test, producing steaky, tender, sake-poached slices of the meat over baby bok choy with marinated slices of Thai eggplant and daikon—all sweet and savory with tamarind and soy. Memorable. 3216 W Wheeler St, Magnolia, 206-708-6235; tanglewoodsupreme.com

 

Rain City Burgers

Chicken Masala Burger
As cheap burger joints go, this tidy, friendly enterprise holding down the corner of 65th and Roosevelt fires on a lot of cylinders: hand-cut fries, hand-dipped shakes, a list of solid burgers, and a whole slew of vegetarian options. But the breakout winner is the chicken masala burger, marinated in dazzling spices from the owner’s native India, then served with pepper jack, all the fixings, and enough fire to make your eyeballs dance. 6501 Roose-velt Way NE, Roosevelt, 206-525-3542; raincityburgers.com

 

TanakaSan

Twice-Fried Chicken Wings with Salty Caramel
Best happy hour delectable this year: In a caramel of fish sauce and sugar, six meaty wings arrive armored in a crunchy twice-fried crust and dolloped with a thrumming relish of garlic and serrano chilies. All this and moist meat too, at Tom Douglas’s bright, warmly industrial Asian fusion joint in the lobby of the Via6 apartments. 2121 Sixth Ave, Downtown, 206-812-8412; tanakasanseattle.com

 

Chico Madrid

Pan Con Valdeon
The bewitchingly European coffeehouse/nosh bar in the thick of the North Capitol Hill condos builds its appeal on perfect bread—thank you, Columbia City Bakery—and blissful textural interplay, as happens when you top a thick, toasted slice of that perfect bread with ripe slices of Valdeón blue cheese, then drizzle it liberally with honey and black pepper. ¡Olé! 711 Bellevue Ave E, Capitol Hill, 206-453-3234; chicomadrid.com

 

The Wandering Goose

Raspberry-Jam Buttermilk Biscuits
In this corner of the Carolinas, baker Heather Earnhardt overburdens her pastry case with triple chocolate chip cookies and pear cardamom muffins and enormous layer cakes—and that’s just the top shelf. Her signature is buttermilk biscuits, slathered with butter and jam, and they are very good. Request them warmed in the oven and now they’re great—browned edges crisp, interiors fluffy, butter melted creamily into the dough, the jam a bright finale. 403 15th Ave E, Capitol Hill, 206-323-9938; thewanderinggoose.com

 

Poppy

Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream
Among the many delights of Poppy, where chef Jerry Traunfeld draws small plates into unlikely harmonies, are the fresh herbs he scatters across them like stardust. A recent meal at that effervescent Broadway spot featured lemon balm in the salad, caraway in the leek-chicken entree, fennel in just about everything—and brisk gusts of fresh mint from the garden in the housemade ice cream. “It is arrestingly minty,” my server sighed. 622 Broadway E, Capitol Hill, 206-324-1108; poppyseattle.com

 

Canlis

Filet Mignon
The legend’s star is still rising, and not just because its fine-dining rivals in this town are dropping like flies (RIP Le Gourmand, RIP Rover’s). Chef Jason Franey is simply incapable of mediocrity. So a filet mignon—hardly the most thrilling showcase for a chef’s creativity—obliterates that expectation and becomes a metaphor for what sets Canlis apart: classic, flawlessly executed, presented with flavorful verve (on a sweet puddle of carrot puree)—and rare.2576 Aurora Ave N, Queen Anne, 206-283-3313; canlis.com

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Crumble and Flake

Cheddar and Smoked Paprika Croissant
The predawn lines have subsided at perfectionist patissier Neil -Robertson’s little no-table storefront on the Capitol Hill rise—but the quality hasn’t. Danishes, macarons, shortbreads, cinnamon rolls, cream puffs, canele, and kouign amann remain lush, constructed with a craftsman’s standard and inspired ratios of butter. I can’t stop obsessing over how one particular croissant—gilded with savory cheddar, sublimely deepened with smoky Spanish paprika—shattered on the palate into a million melting shards. 1500 E Olive Way, Capitol Hill, 206-329-1804; crumbleandflake.com

 

Le Zinc

Moules au Fenouil
Amid the chic of this Parisian perch on Capitol Hill, your cocktail ought to involve absinthe, your dinner mussels. A much better chef than you’d expect in a bar this swank makes four moules frites nightly, one of which bathes the bivalves in a fragrant Pernod-fennel broth, then chops in a luscious dice of pork belly. Alongside, a cone of crispy golden frites with aioli. Perfection. 1449 E Pine St, Capitol Hill, 206-257-4151; le-zn.com


Lark: Roasted Eel with Saba

Lark

Roasted Eel with Saba
On its menu since the day the charming Lark first opened to school Seattle in the art of small-plate dining, the roasted eel is the undisputed star of Lark’s seafood list. Its savory meat glazed in the sweet syrup of grape must, the eel arrives atop a mound of rich aioli potato salad—one of those written-in-the-stars combos of flavor and texture that you taste once and dream about forever. 926 12th Ave, First Hill, 206-323-5275; larkseattle.com



List

Gnocchi with Black Truffle Cream
You say you don’t like Belltown, throbbing music, or red chandeliers? Tough. If you like gnocchi, you won’t find a better version than the one at List, sceney sister bar to Barolo Ristorante. It’s pillowy yet firm, and lightly doused in a black truffle cream that will flavor your memory for months to come. 2226 First Ave, Belltown, 206-441-1000; listbelltown.com

 

Boat Street Cafe

Pan-Roasted MadHatcher Chicken
Everyone goes bonkers over the pork chop at Renee Erickson’s original farmhouse dinner house, but I’ve always preferred the organic roast chicken—a tabula rasa for a smart kitchen’s nightly flights of whimsy. One night last spring it arrived gilded without and impossibly juicy within, over a watercress puree for gently bitter contrast, along with sunchokes, artichokes, and fried mint leaves. 3131 Western Ave, Downtown, 206-632-4601; boatstreetcafe.com

 

Restaurant industry workers can enjoy Mamnoon's Muhammara on the cheap this week.

Mamnoon

Muhammara
It’s just magically, stupidly good: Syrian red pepper dip, thickened with walnuts and fired with cumin, whose rosy hue and unexpected brightness arises from pomegranate molasses. The texture is nutty and irresistibly lush, the flavor an explosion of nuts and fruit and fire. (See also Restaurant of the Year.) 1508 Melrose Ave, Capitol Hill, 206-906-9606; mamnoonrestaurant.com

 

Heaven Sent Fried Chicken

Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream
Ezell Stephens commissioned it, Full Tilt makes it, Heaven Sent sells it—and everyone who prizes Stephens’s Southern desserts will devour it. To my palate the caramelly bread pudding and silken sweet potato pie versions, rich with Thanksgiving spices, tie in a dead heat—only the bread pudding’s nuts and raisins won’t be everyone’s scoop du jour. Available only by the pint, but any less would make no sense at all. 14330 Lake City Way NE, Lake City, 206-363-1167; heavensentfriedchicken.com

 

Miyabi 45th

Hiyashi Chyashu Soba
Chef Mutsuko Soma spent years refining Northwest cuisine at Chez Shea. Now she’s cutting loose in this funky Wallingford storefront with handcrafted soba (buckwheat) noodles, dense and slurpable and served hot or cold. Hiyashi Chyashu is made in the bukkake style: cold soba and cold broth along with all its ingredients—juicy pork, marinated egg, radishes and cucumbers, a smear of hot mustard—served together in one supremely satisfying bowl. 2208 N 45th St, Wallingford, 206-632-4545; miyabi45th.com


The Whale Wins

Butter-Roasted Zucchini Bread with Creme Fraiche
Dinner feels like a picnic inside this whitewashed treasure by chef Renee Erickson, right down to what may be the single most dreamt-about dessert in town. A thick slice of zucchini bread is roasted in the fire oven with plenty of butter until it’s so crisp on the outside and so moist within, it eats like a very rich doughnut. Creme fraiche and a dribble of salt complete the sweet-salty-sour balance. 3506 Stone Way N, Fremont, 206-632- 9425; thewhalewins.com

 

Italian Family Pizza

White Pie
It’s the Jersey Shore inside this humble family-owned downtown storefront, from the red tablecloths and Tony Soprano accents to the tomato pies—Jersey’s heavy-on-the-sauce gift to mankind—on the menu. This Northwest eater prefers the white pies, with their gilded trio of ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses—but everything tastes good (even little pools of grease) atop these crispy, chewy, deeply flavorful crusts. 1206 First Ave, Downtown, 206-538-0040


Gastropod

Salt Cod Okonomiyaki with Potatoes and Romesco
At Epic Ale’s adjunct restaurant the decor is nothing but the food is most assuredly something—daily extemporized from whatever is seasonal, intriguing, and compatible with Epic’s funked-up brews. The daily okonomiyaki, or Japanese stuffed savory pancake, is an ever-changing revelation, likely to vault the yum factor into the stratosphere. To wit: One with salt cod in the batter, fritterlike, was topped with purple fingerlings, cabbage, leeks, drizzles of nutty romesco aioli, and the dripping yolk of an egg. 3201 First Ave S, SoDo, 206-403-1228; gastropodsodo.com

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Agrodolce: Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Agrodolce

Chicken with Brussels Sprouts
Maria Hines’s deputy Jason Brzozowy takes a whole chicken, brines it overnight in salt, sugar, spices, and a ton of water, then debones and pan sears it to crispy, finishing it in the oven with a touch of steam. The result is impossibly moist flesh—done quite without a sous-vide machine—which last spring Brzozowy topped with a caponata of garlic and golden raisins, pine nuts and wizened Brussels sprouts leaves, then served over creamy semolina puree. Just a beautiful showcase for Agrodolce’s Sicilian flavors, including its namesake sweet and sour. 709 N 35th St, Fremont, 206-547-9707; agrodolcerestaurant.net

 

 

Rachel’s Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer
The most refreshing pause in Pike Place Market is Rachel Marshall’s glassy corner shrine to ginger beer, the beverage she all but invented in this town. The drink is everywhere and here’s why: perfect ratios of lemon, ginger, sugar, and water, for a libation at once so bracing and so settling you think it must contain alcohol. It doesn’t, but those shiny taps behind the counter sure do—magic-ally gushing out kegged, premixed Moscow mules, Dark and Stormies, and other ginger beery cocktails. It’s like a miracle. 1530 Post Alley, Pike Place Market, rachelsgingerbeer.com


Altura

Burrata with Tomatoes
Everything chef Nathan Lockwood touches is note perfect in his boutique Italian dinner house on Capitol Hill—not least a simple salted toss of supersweet Sungolds, steaky slices of green tomato, chunks of watermelon, and drizzles of basil oil, with purple basil leaves for brilliance. For resolving all this sweet and piquant? A generous hunk of rich burrata, streaming with cream. 617 Broadway E, Capitol Hill, 206-402-6749; alturaresaturant.com

 

Kedai Makan

Nasi Goreng with Prawns
This tiny sidewalk stall on Olive Way represents Malaysian food just like a street stand would in Kuala Lumpur, right down to its dazzling nasi goreng. The Malaysian fried rice comes bronzed and crackling, unstinting with chilies and the sweet Indonesian soy sauce kecap manis; order it with prawns, and the brine of shellfish and fish paste is bracing. A runny fried egg rounds out the satisfactions. 1510 E Olive Way, Capitol Hill, kedaimakanseattle.com


Bar Cotto

Salumi e Torta Fritta
What was conceived as the chic sidekick bar to Anchovies and Olives instantly became my favorite Ethan Stowell restaurant—for its perfect cocktails, its focus on noshes from the region of Parma, and for the fact that one of them is salumi e torta fritta. Order the chef’s choice salumi selection (provided it includes the peppery porchetta and the exquisite soppressata piccante), then tack on the extra $3 for a hot heap of savory beignets called torta fritta. Wrap the salumi around the fried dough pillows and the fat of the meat melts into them, indescribably. 1546 15th Ave, Capitol Hill, 206-838-8081; ethanstowellrestaurants.com

 

8Oz. Burger Bar

Vanilla Malt 
The old-fashioned ripe-sugar fullness of malt sends 8oz.’s vanilla shake into the same celestial orbit occupied by, whaddya know, its fries—sublimely crunchy twice-fried Kennebecs—and its ball-o-beef burgers. Together these three form the Platonic ideal of America’s favorite meal. Even on its own, the thick malted concoction, not too sweet and crowned with whipped cream, constitutes perfection in a frosted glass. 1401 Broadway, First Hill, 206-466-5989; 8ozburgerbarsea.com


Il Corvo Pasta: Mint Basil Parsley Pesto Pasta

Il Corvo Pasta

Mint Basil Parsley Pesto Pasta
A springtime visit to this tiny, constantly packed, pasta-only storefront in Pioneer Square yielded as one of its three-or-so daily pastas a curly gigli shape washed in exuberant parsley, mint, and basil pesto. Was it spring’s first shoots that made the preparation so vivid? Perfectly toothsome housemade pasta? Both? 217 James St, Pioneer Square, 206-538-0999; ilcorvopasta.com

 

Restaurant Zoë

Roasted Endive Salad
Zoë’s salads, as beautiful on the palate as they are on the plate, have always been one of this crowd-pleasing urban winner’s strongest suits. One I adored earlier this year was built on a scaffolding of roasted endive, lending soft bitter complements to sweet Turkish apricots, chunks of Stilton cheese, picholine olives, crunchy pistachios, and arugula. The harmonies killed. 1318 E Union St, Central District, 206-256-2060; restaurantzoe.com

 

Marination Ma Kai

Pork Katsu Sandwich
The boozy, cruisy waterside snack shack that the aloha-spirited Marination people have been working up to for years has arrived on West Seattle’s Harbor Avenue. Lest one assume that the full frontal spread of Seattle skyline is the best thing about the place, meet the pork katsu sandwich: a ciabatta roll shoved full of panko-crusted pork steak—half which flops out the sides—lavished with mayo, housemade tonkatsu sauce, and a big scoop of coleslaw. Wear your washables. 1660 Harbor Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-328-8226; marinationmobile.com

 

Stoneburner

Heirloom Tomatoes with Pickled Watermelon Rind and Arugula
Everywhere you turn these days some wacky chef is pickling watermelon rind—but only the best know how to fully exploit its charms. This fall in the slick and sceney Ballard restaurant bearing his name, vegetable whisperer Jason Stoneburner chunked gloriously ripe heirloom and cherry tomatoes with arugula, spicy basil, plenty of pepper, and bits of the puckery rind, crafting a salad of exceptional contrast and buoyancy. 5214 Ballard Ave NW, Ballard, 206-695-2051; stoneburnerseattle.com

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Phoenecia: Chevre-Fig Pizza

Phoenecia

Chevre-Fig Pizza
This self-effacing family-owned jewel across from the Alki shore serves as just the antidote to the slick enterprise dining out has become. Equally terrific for a romantic date, a nosh at the wine bar, or family pizza night—count yourself lucky if the pizza with chevre, sun-dried figs, pancetta, and caramelized onions is the special. It’s wood fired, crisp but chewy, and topped with elegance. 2716 Alki Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-935-6550; phoeneciawestseattle.com

 


Brass Tacks

Short Rib Slider 
Of the three million bars to open last year, none hit the ground with a surer sense of place than Brass Tacks: a scuffed-floors-and-raw-joists warehouse crammed with edgy art, arty patrons, and wicked booze—the Georgetown trifecta. The slider on one visit—short ribs, pickled cabbage, aioli bright with ginger, and shiso—proved a memorable, original riff on the ubiquitous bar nosh. 6031 Airport Way S, Georgetown, 206-397-3821; georgetownbrass.com

 

Frost

Froissant
A croughnut by any other name still marries the flavor of a doughnut with the buttery texture of a croissant—and of the local joints to have jumped into the national frenzy, Frost in Mill Creek nails it best. Alongside its bacon maple bars and salted caramel old-fashioneds, this independent doughnut shop serves three froissant varieties daily—one filled with cream, one covered in cinnamon-sugar, and one (if you’re lucky) topped with glaze. Think 3,000 layers of butter-flake moisture that taste like a classic doughnut. Then stop thinking and drive: They sell out by 1pm. 15421 Main St, Ste H102, Mill Creek, 425-379-2600; frostology.com

At Joule: Spicy Rice Cake with Chorizo and Pickled Mustard Greens

 

Joule

Spicy Rice Cake with Chorizo and Pickled Mustard Greens
Side dish of the year is this stunner from Rachel Yang’s and Seif Chirchi’s sleek redo of Joule: nickels of sliced Korean mochi, or rice cake, sauteed to crisp on the outside and chewy within, tossed with pickled mustard greens and chunks of fiery chorizo—then bound in a smoky Korean chili sauce that unites all these offsetting textures into a single declarative force. Perfect with the pot roasts and short ribs of this modern Korean-fusion meat house… just as perfect all by itself. 3506 Stone Way N, Fremont, 206-632-5685; joulerestaurant.com


RockCreek Seafood and Spirits

Wild Mexican Prawns with Anson Mills Heirloom Grits
It’s not the recipe RockCreek owner and chef Eric Donnelly produced when he cooked at Toulouse Petit, but it’s every bit as lick-the-plate great: four plump prawns, bursting with juice and gilded with garlic, lolling on a bed of creamy grits and sauce flavored with a world of herbs and chilies and, yes, more garlic—with grilled bread for dredging. The place has been open all of four months (see page 121), and this plate’s already a classic. 4300 Fremont Ave N, Fremont, 206-557-7532; rockcreekseattle.com

 

The Old Sage: Roasted and Raw Gourds

The Old Sage

Roasted and Raw Gourds
The latest from the prolific Brian McCracken and Dana Tough (Spur, Tavern Law, the Coterie Room) is a gastropub of real pretension; precious at times with things like lavender-smoked pork cheeks and $40 drams of single-malt scotch. But precious can also mean a gorgeously composed plate of roasted and raw gourds, where smoky roasted squash, curled cuke slices, and chunks of compressed watermelon come masterfully accented with mint leaves, dollops of yogurt, and Calabrian chili. A beautiful dish in every sense of the word. 1410 12th Ave, Capitol Hill, 206-557-7430; theoldsageseattle.com

 

Harry’s Chicken Joint

Chicken Strips with Coleslaw
The crust on the fried chicken at this West Seattle hole-in-the-wall will not be to everyone’s taste, with its herbal, almost floral, overtones. Otherwise this chicken is damn near flawless: brined and smoky within, moist to the last molecule (when’s the last time you ate a moist strip?), crisped to perfection, and beautiful with the brisk coleslaw. (Notes: They often run out of bird before closing time, and “fried-to-order” is French for “not very fast.”) 6032 California Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-938-9000;  facebook.com


Cascina Spinasse

Tajarin al Ragù
Each slender strand of egg dough for Spinasse’s fabled tajarin is hand cut, creating a texture sauce loves and a mouthfeel one could accurately describe both as strong and delicate. At this classy Piedmontese farmstead on Capitol Hill, this ineffable pasta is as close to perfect as pasta gets, tossed either with sage butter—the choice of comfort cravers—or washed in a light but potent ragù. 1531 14th Ave, Capitol Hill, 206-251-7673; spinasse.com

 

Dot’s Delicatessen

Porchetta Sandwich
Now an actual sit-down dinner destination, dear Dot’s hasn’t forgotten the takeout deli at its heart. The porchetta sandwich on both menus bears all of Dot’s signature care and skill between slices of grilled Macrina sourdough: juicy thin-sliced roast pork tenderloin and belly, breathing Thanksgiving spices, with crispy coleslaw and herb-speckled aioli. Tremendous.4262 Fremont Ave N, Fremont, 206-687-7446; dotsdelicatessen.com

 

A La Mode Pie

Mexican Chocolate Mousse Pie
The best pies in Seattle come from this tidy shop across from the Woodland Park Zoo, where you choose among a whole slew of cream and fruit pies (the beloved Blue Hawaiian is blueberries, pineapple, and coconut), whole, by the slice, or in mini versions. Miss the Mexican chocolate mousse at your own peril: a chocolate graham cracker crust, a whipped cream crown—and between them three vertical miles of velvety chocolate mousse, spanked with cayenne. 5821 Phinney Ave N, Phinney Ridge, 206-383-3796; alamodeseattle.com

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Westward: Moroccan Fish Stew

Westward

Moroccan Fish Stew
The Eastern Mediterranean fish house on the north shore of Lake Union, Westward is stunning from the patio in summer, with the Seattle skyline splayed out against the sunset. But winter dining has its compensations, like this shallow bowl of warming fish stew. Golden broth, fierce with currylike Moroccan ras el hanout, features shellfish and cauliflower and potatoes and bread and cod straight out of the wood oven—all of which melt into the broth, mellowing its clamor. 2501 N Northlake Way, Wallingford, 206-552-8215; westwardseattle.com

 

 

 

Canon

Shrouded Roulette
Sure, it’s a gimmick—“Tell us your base spirit and we’ll create the mystery”—but in a bartender’s bar like Canon, it’s the way to unleash a genuinely ridiculous level of creative firepower. Order whiskey and maybe you too will get the single most complex and satisfying cocktail of your life—and no earthly idea how to recreate it. (Well, orange peel. I’m sure mine had orange peel.) 928 12th Ave, First Hill, 206-552-9755; canonseattle.com

 

Meander’s Kitchen

Chicken an’ a Biscuit
With its ripped Naugahyde booths, Andrews Sisters soundtrack, and mohawked waiters who call you hon and mean it—this breakfast dive is the spiritual heart of frayed, old-school White Center. Make that heart attack—for this home cooking is lavish, delectable, and alarmingly unrepentant. (French toast is three slabs of vanilla-bourbon-battered challah topped with whipped cream and syrup; corned beef hash comes with two eggs, a biscuit, and sausage gravy.) The newsflash is: The splurge is worth the emergency room visit. You’ll know it the moment you crunch into the moist fried chicken breast, which arrives over a fluffy biscuit whose crispy edges stay crispy under the flood of sausage-studded cream gravy. 9809 16th Ave SW, White Center, 206-491-8571

 

Saigon Deli

Grilled Pork Bánh Mi
So chaotic is the ordering setup and so jammed the parking lot at this crowded deli in Little Saigon—I would love to find a better bánh mi. But I keep trying and nobody has come close to Saigon’s glistening slices of moist marinated pork hanging out the sides of its crusty baguettes—vegetables fresh and sinus irrigating, mayo ratio just right, flavors melding in impossible harmony. For $3! 1237 S Jackson St, International District, 206-322-3700

 

Barnacle

Octopus Terrine 
Barnacle opened alongside the perpetually slammed oyster bar, the Walrus and the Carpenter, to house its overflow—but it’s got an identity all its own. At the copper counter stretching the length of the skinny room, beneath mesmerizing Moorish tile, guests enjoy Italian libations and simpler iterations of the piquant fish and shellfish on which Walrus built its reputation—including a stunning plate of whisper-thin slices of octopus terrine, soused in lemon and rich Ligurian olive oil. 4743 Ballard Ave NW, Ballard, 206-706-3379

 

Radiator Whiskey: Home of two of our trends.

Radiator Whiskey

Fried Pork Shank with Mama Lil’s Peppers
The smoked pig’s head gets all the attention at this meat-and-whiskey haunt in the rafters of Pike Place Market, but the fried pork shank—crackling with fat outside and unctuous--tender inside, served over a bed of herby aioli and under a fierce relish of pickled goat horn peppers—well, that’s the pork lover’s dream. Best enjoyed with a side of smashed potatoes, a McMillan Manhattan, and three gallons of water. 94 Pike St, Pike Place Market, 206-467-4268; radiatorwhiskey.com

 

Re:Public

Painted Hills Burger with Fries
It’s happy-hour packed and brick-wall stylish and way too deafening for food connoisseurs. Hence the surprise: This South Lake Union watering hole has a serious kitchen. Look for admirable salads and pastas, but mostly, look for the burger. Thick Painted Hills grass-fed beef. Sturdy Kaiser roll. Smoky bacon, Cantal cheese, arugula for contrast, a sweet smoked tomato remoulade, and fries that are crisp and speckled with herbs. 429 Westlake Ave N, South Lake Union, 206-467-5300; republicseattle.com

 

Billy Beach Sushi and Bar

Ballard Crunch Roll
In the restaurants he has launched (Wasabi Bistro, Kushibar, Umi Sake House, and Japonessa) Billy Beach has made a science out of the sushi roll, and no one in town does them better. At his stylish new namesake restaurant in Ballard purists will find plenty of pristine nigiri, but the rolls—like the deep-fried Ballard Crunch, with avocado, cream cheese, and sockeye salmon—are uncommonly deft. The place is deafening with families and singles, but not as loud as crunching into this. 5463 Leary Ave NW, Ballard, 206-257-4616; billybeachsushi.com



This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Seattle Met.

This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.

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