lecosho

The bar gets pretty packed during early HH at Lecosho.

HOURS: Mon-Fri 3-6pm. Sun-Thurs 10pm-1am. Friday-Sat 11pm-1am.
PRICES: $4 Select Wines. $3 Drafts. $5 Cocktails. Food $3-$14.

Matt Janke (creator of Matt’s in the Market, now under different ownership) opened Lecosho this fall on a shadowy landing midway down the Harbor Steps.

I’ll admit, I worried.

The recession has not been kind to Downtown Seattle, and the Harbor Steps don’t seem to offer much in the way of restaurant-friendly street traffic. Unless you’re a Crossfit client who pays a lady to make you run up and down stairs during your lunch hour, the Steps are for coming and going, not coming and staying. The sushi restaurant that preceded Lecosho, for instance, was a mess—often 9/10ths vacant even during the midday rush and emanating a vibe of decay (not a good look for a place trafficking in raw fish).

Oh me of little faith. Matt’s under Janke was about as bustling as a restaurant can be, and with Lecosho he has created something similarly magnetic. Just try to get a seat for happy hour on any given evening around 5pm. It isn’t easy.

“Food we like,” is the motto here. But it’s food everybody likes—even kids, whom Lecosho is big enough, noisy enough, and relaxed enough to accommodate comfortably. Decor is simple—dark wood, light walls—but not so austerely plain as to elicit that bone-rattling chill you get at restaurants that take their food a touch too seriously, a chill known to run through nearby establishments both existent and defunct.

But about that happy hour. Early HH is served from 3 to 6pm daily to those seated on stools along its long, mirrored (watch yourself eat!) bar and a smattering of tables near the front. It includes, among its many little wonders, Chef Mike Easton’s espresso-rubbed short ribs with picked beets ($7). The bartender will wisely suggest pairing those with spaetzle ($5) that has been fatted up with brown butter and sprinkled in pecorino romano. These, along with a glass of the house red ($4), are all you need on a wet winter Tuesday to make life seem like a good thing once more.

The steamed clams in a chili beer broth could maybe use a little more heat, but still make for a rich, warming match with an order of Columbia City baguette that comes with butter and an olive relish ($3). Lecosho’s salads tend towards the substantial, and a soft-boiled egg lends satisfying protein to the house greens ($5) on the HH menu. If you like your salads lightly dressed let your server know, otherwise expect a liberal dose.

Great values, good views, everything done smartly. That’s Lecosho, now offering one of the best happy hours in town.