Tom Douglas’s New South Lake Union Empire

Our biggest restaurateur has colonized Seattle’s Amazon environs with a vengeance, but how’s a diner supposed to keep all those new nosheries straight? Lucky you have us.

By Kathryn Robinson July 22, 2011 Published in the August 2011 issue of Seattle Met

Coming soon to a food truck near you.

Brave Horse Tavern

Serious Pie
Dahlia Workshop Ting Momo
A classic wood-rafters-and-vintage-signs beer hall offering an exceptional list of global and local brews, and burgers and pretzels for ballast. The 2.0 version of downtown’s intimate home for fine artisan pizza toppings, on the best crispy-creamy crusts in town. Oh yeah, baby…biscuits. The latest culinary craze in Seattle—baked crispy with dense, buttery pastry and stuffed with luscious combos—served from a mostly takeout counter in front of the bakery.

Tibetan dumplings in three permutations—steamed, fried, or bready—served in an intimate lunchroom with an Eastern feel, from the exotic lanterns to the artisan chef hand- pinching dumplings at the door.

Above Cuoco (see Cuoco, Seattle’s Newest Tom Douglas Joint) in the Amazon campus on Terry. In a loft atop Dahlia Workshop, on Westlake. Beneath Serious Pie, on Westlake. Behind Brave Horse; enter off the Amazon staircase from Terry.
Visits must be carefully timed to that sweet spot between your 21st birthday (no minors allowed) and, oh…your 40th. (Shuffleboard notwithstanding, it’s spring break in here.)

Lunch or dinner—but early. The communal tables fill fast.

Weekday mornings after 7, weekends after 9. There’s no tastier way to launch a day than with a red pepper, fennel sausage, and fontina biscuit, gooey with fresh egg yolk. Lunch. It closes at 3pm.
The trolling lady friends. The tavern is crawling with dashing young tech titans oozing testosterone. A crowd of pals. This screamin’ joint is no place for sweet nothings. A bib.

Vegetarians: About half the menu is dedicated to their care and (sumptuous) feeding.

A Boilermaker—can of Hamm’s, shot of Jim Beam—and a pretzel with cheddar- pimento spread. The Yukon gold potato, rosemary, Pecorino pizza—with added guanciale. ("If we got it, you can order it," says Douglas.) Thursday’s biscuit-of-the-day: crispy ham hocks with collard greens. The spicy eggplant tingmo dumpling. "Whether it’s a hum bao in Chinatown or a soft steamed Tibetan bread dumpling, I love that soft yeasty texture," he says.

The malt-boiled, hearth-roasted pretzels: fresh, buttery, yeasty testimonials to Douglas’s considerable baking chops. We like the smoky peanut butter and bacon, but maybe that’s just us.

The roasted chanterelle and truffled cheese pie—and not just because it was one of the Food Network’s Best Thing(s) I Ever Ate. Crisped house-cured ham curling out the edges of a biscuit all goopy with cheddar, egg, and apple mustard. Sweet, salty, savory, substantial: stunning. The pork, cumin, coriander, and apricot-stuffed samo—a Tibetan fried dumpling one dips in coriander yogurt. The casing can go soggy pretty fast—an execution problem that, once addressed, will leave nothing but uncommonly beguiling flavors and exceptionally flaky pastry.


Attention is paid, right down to the Brave Horse signature IPA that Schooner Exact brews for them in SoDo. You’re chowing some Serious Pie while overlooking the flour-dusted industry of Dahlia Workshop. Where else would you be? Culinarily intelligent comfort food—the Big Guy’s most winning trademark. Proprietor Dekyi Thonden spent 15 years applying her Tibetan cooking skills to Douglas’s Western eateries. Here, the boss grants her a playground of her own.
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