The occupants of maybe two dozen apartments can glance out their windows to see if Single Shot has an open table. It won’t—this joint is the hottest ticket in town—but its location in the midst of North Capitol Hill’s densest density is woven into its rather epic appeal. It feels like a twinkling little rabbit hole you’d tumble into off a sidewalk in Brooklyn. And whatever intangible it takes to invest a place with a sense of place—Single Shot has it, with an understated white-on-white elegance from marble bar to starry votives, and a 12-foot antique rifle stretching across the mirror-backed bar for arch counterpoint. Best, you are welcomed by the sincerest guy in the restaurant business, Altura’s former front man Guy Kugel—all of which conspires to make this the most enviable neighborhood in Seattle…and we haven’t even gotten to the cocktails yet.
So with all this in the plus column, it’s a little deflating to pronounce the food improvable, from a hamachi tuna starter whose avocado and grapefruit embellishments aren’t interesting with it, to a pork chop fanned over spaghetti squash that doesn’t add up to anything beyond the sum of the parts. Now and again you can taste the gastronomic IQ of chef James Sherrill (Restaurant Zoë, Re:public)—roasted cauliflower and kohlrabi in a smoky romesco sauce had me scribbling OMG all over my notebook—but consistency evades him.
He can, however, cook a piece of Arctic char to within a millimeter of perfection. And the good sense he demonstrates by showcasing that fish on a menu that defines the perfect neighborhood gastropub—a flatbread, a mac and cheese, some charcuterie, a pub cheese, four entrees, a few sweets—heralds good things, one hopes, to come. Allow time to find parking, though moving to the neighborhood may be faster.
This article appeared in the March 2015 issue of Seattle Met magazine.