Quietly Awesome

Unsung Heroes: Nell’s

There’s no scene here, just chef Philip Mihalski’s inventive cuisine.

By Allecia Vermillion July 17, 2012

Welcome to Nosh Pit’s week of unsung heroes, in which we gently remind you of some fine establishments that sometimes get overlooked for newer spots.

Open Since: 1999

It’s easy to forget about Nell’s, tucked up in a curve of Green Lake in a building that screams “office building.” But you shouldn’t. And, in Seattle Met critic Kathryn Robinson’s words, here’s why…

Quiet and classic, from its unembellished white linens and blond walls to its invisibly gracious service, Nell’s appeals to a sedate brand of epicurean, including folks from the retirement community next door. The lack of scene thus spotlights the food, a selection of Continental riffs on fresh local ingredients like pork tenderloin with Yellow Finn potatoes and fiddlehead ferns in caraway sauce; or a golden chunk of perfectly grilled halibut over a spring-green mélange of leeks and celery root, pearl onions, and sliced fingerlings sublimely perfumed with truffle oil. The invention level in this kitchen is nobly high, which can result in the occasional tone-deaf pairing, like a too-briny aioli alongside calamari. Desserts are not afterthoughts in this kitchen, and shouldn’t be for you either.

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