The Market's destination lobster roll—now available downtown.
Seattle restaurants braved rough months, but rose to our surreal occasion with new approaches, new dishes, a new energy that crackles even louder than it did before the pandemic. Then along came omicron, whipsawing our current reality. Some of us have paused on indoor dining, but these indefatigable newcomers brave daily destabilization to bring us katsu and queso, nixtamalized tortillas, and vegan laksa. So let’s go check them out; this time around, our semi-regular best new restaurants feature includes specific details on takeout.
Obligatory exposition: Seattle Met updates this list every few months. Sometimes we bend our own rules (like the coffee shop we couldn’t resist sneaking in here) but one directive holds firm: We write only about places where we’ve actually dined and paid for our own meals.
Most of North Seattle, it seems, is high on Paolo Campbell’s Chicken Supply. The longtime lieutenant at the fantastic Opus and Co. joined forces with partner Donnie Adams to turn this mini space into a wing-slinging tribute to Jollibee and other triumphs of Filipino-style fried chicken—juicy, crunchy, with notes of soy sauce and lemon. This is “hang a U-turn” level chicken, but Campbell’s sides trade American South staples for coconut collard greens, flawless garlic rice, and cold pancit that could rock a high-end tasting menu. Chicken Supply offers only one dessert, but I’d physically fight someone for another piece of Stephen Toyofuku’s butter mochi cake. You can order chicken by the individual piece, provided the kitchen hasn’t already run out for the night. Seldom do restaurant closures come with such happy endings—or such a preponderance of genre-expanding fried bird. Even more impressive: the whole menu is gluten free.
Takeout Intel: Literally the only option here; online preorder is your friend, people.
The saxophone-size beef rib fajita wins Instagram, but the most genius dish at the Jack’s BBQ Tex-Mex spin-off is practically meatless (okay, there’s brisket in the gravy): Enchiladas, burly corn tortillas wrapped around amicably melted cheese. This handiwork is nigh invisible beneath the expressionist swirls of sharp cheddar and queso Oaxaca, and a fusillade of spice in the form of deep red chili gravy. When he’s not dazzling Seattle with smoked meat, owner Jack Timmons gets downright scholarly about Tex-Mex; this seemingly simple dish is the litmus test of a cuisine often undervalued, and underseasoned, outside of the Lone Star State. Jackalope remade the longtime home of El Sombrero into an agave spirit destination that serves lunch and dinner nearly every day of the week. Order the majestic carne asada or a fajita platter and a special machine by the bar will turn balls of dough into made-just-for-you flour tortillas—fresh, hot, and puffy as a Northwest coat closet.
Takeout Intel: Newly available for both lunch and dinner.
Superfans of the Market’s lobster and crab rolls can get that same fix 18 miles to the south. Shubert Ho’s original seafood bastion in Edmonds has spun off a location in downtown Seattle. It’s got all the favorites—chowder, fish and chips, those petite split rolls heaped with barely dressed crustacean. What it doesn’t have: the original’s net-forward fishmonger aesthetic. Which makes sense; this Market sits inside Seattle Art Museum, where you can now tear into a fried soft-shell crab in a bag amid ample lights and white-backdrop gallery vibes. By day, retirees cap off a morning of art appreciation with chowder, salads, and white wine. Later on, Market regenerates as a centrally located destination for happy hour, group hangs that cost less than a steak house, or the sort of Seahawks prefunc that involves lobster claw bloody marys. Don’t sleep on the early morning breakfast sandwiches, either.
Takeout Intel: Preorder online and seek out the dedicated takeaway queue for swift pickup.
The old Silence Heart Nest made a surprisingly smooth transition to serene hues and a deli menu that indexes mindful ingredients with the sort of neatly packaged, delicious dishes owner Jeanny Rhee appreciated at convenience stores in Japan or Korea. The bar is now a coffee station; a glass case by the door offers grab-and-go kimchi pancakes and pumpkin croquettes. A cafe menu lets you sit down with a veggie-packed bibimbap, banchan-esque daily deli sampler, or a properly sizzling stone pot filled with purple rice, crunchy cabbage shreds, and chopped confetti of rib eye. That coffee bar garnishes espresso with frothy housemade alt-milk that blends cashew, hemp seeds, tahini, coconut butter, and salt. Clearly Rhee leaned hard into her own personal jams when she opened this place—and created something with broad appeal for the rest of us.
Takeout Intel: Plenty of stuff comes boxed for takeaway, and online ordering is in the works.
Loud music, neon lights. Chatty baristas, dark cafecitos, pastel hues, and hella personality. This is how Sergio García describes the distinctly un-Seattle coffee scene in his native Miami. Now all those descriptors apply to a former storage space on Ballard Avenue, which Garcia magicked into our town’s coolest new coffee shop. (It’s a journey that started with García’s YouTube search for “how to open a coffee shop.”) Okay, fine…Papá Changó isn’t technically a restaurant, but semantics seem irrelevant once you’ve got your hands on a cafe con miel—espresso with honey, milk, and cinnamon—or one of the ode-to-butter pastelitos, baked by the talented gents over at Raíz.
Takeout Intel: This place is literally the size of a cupboard and once you factor in all the plants, it’s just one customer at a time. So, yeah…takeout is an option.
Few meals make you realize how good we had it before Covid—like dinner at an exceptional sushi bar. Even fewer prompt you to exhale a low and slow F-bomb on the way out because your brain is still so busy processing the aged sea bass and side-by-side uni from Hokkaido and Santa Barbara. Each bite offers hits of fresh wasabi root that languishes on its large grater like a Tim Burton artichoke. This minuscule, megawatt sushi theater hides on the back of a mondo Broadway apartment complex. Sushi Kashiba alum Keiji Tsukasaki presides over an eight-seat, 14-course omakase with that unlikely combo demanded of great sushi chefs: surgeon-level fish skills and the hosting warmth of both Martha and Snoop. There’s a lot of talent (and a lot of Shiro Kashiba gestalt) behind this counter, but Ltd. Edition makes high-end sushi feel surprisingly unpretentious—the sort of meal that comes with surprise beer cameos.
Takeout Intel: When the tiny restaurant shifted to IRL omakase, they sadly left takeout behind. Tsukasaki is considering how he might reintroduce it in some capacity.
Pike Place Market
Tacos and antojitos, made by the family behind Ballard breakfast superstar Sazón. With one crucial difference: Maíz nixtamalizes various types of heirloom Mexican corn to create the masa that powers its tacos, tostadas, sopes, and chalupas. Painstaking revival of Mexican tradition makes for a worthy learning curve, since each strain of corn requires its own fine-tuned process. But Maíz’s constants are many: Your choice of stewy braised meats (all fantastic) to fill those hyper-fresh tacos; a cafecito menu so good it might convince you to ditch lattes in favor of champurrado and atole. A beach vacation of a fruit cup. Oh, and some truly excellent talavera tile decor, featuring skeletons in all manner of compromised positions.
Takeout Intel: Maíz has but four stools, so everything is packaged for takeout.
Dinner starts with an amuse-bouche and the heft of a cut-glass cocktail tumbler in your hand. Preeti Agarwal shifted the winds in the former Salare space with harbor blue walls and a nod to great meals that happen at India’s sports-centered social clubs. Much like her first restaurant, Meesha, Agarwal magpies regional dishes from across India. But here her geographic liberties swing even bigger, like a burrata salad ringed with roasted carrots and spoonworthy pumpkin hummus. A few larger plates come as tiffins; the staff’s ceremonial unpacking of these stacked steel trios is the 2022 version of tossing a salad tableside. Even more crucially, Kricket Club devotes an entire menu section to bread—parathas, roti, and two kinds of kulcha. In short, dinner here is like the sitar instrumental of "Big Pimpin’" that drifted through the conjoined dining rooms one night—unexpectedly, just what you need.
Takeout Intel: Huzzah, Kricket Club’s website has the sort of comprehensive online ordering portal you usually find at more casual walkout windows.
With the teetering exception of Katsu Burger, Seattle’s landscape of fried pork cutlets remains relatively restrained, even as our Japanese food scene gets cooler by the day. Then came the owners of Thai 65 Cafe in Redmond, who channeled their off-hours katsu fandom into a 15th Avenue hangout that’s all about cutlets (pork, fancier pork, jidori chicken, even cheese). Expert frying delivers radio static crunch levels. Chef Don Tandavanitj researched from Tokyo to Vancouver, then whirled the results together with his own scratch ingredients and creative brain. The result: katsu with darkly chocolate curry, floated in bubbling nabe or unadorned and glorious. The showstopper channels chicken parm; it comes swathed in tomato miso sauce and hiding beneath a pile of grated parmesan that demands its own snow shovel.
Takeout Intel: Various limitations (staff, katsu’s soggy travel mojo) keep this place dine-in only. If you’re hesitant, bookmark it for our post-omicron reality. It’s gooooood.
South Lake Union
Nobody will mistake the crispy Lao salad for the nam kao at Viengthong. Embrace this lunch for what it is: a bed of arugula, Beyond Sausage, crispy chickpeas, and cherry tomatoes. Massive amounts of mint, fried shallots, toasted rice powder, and housemade vegan nuoc mam fill in the crunch and funk your brain expects. Like so many of us, Eric Banh seized upon plant-based eating, even as he remains a carnivore champion of high-quality pho. His particular interest takes the form of a walkup window at the entrance of Ba Bar’s South Lake Union location. This menu-within-a-restaurant narrows its focus to vegan, then expands its arc beyond Vietnam, across broader East Asia. Chef Chris Michel’s dan dan noodles conjure cold, sesame-smooth heat; laksa delivers warmer comforts. The soyrizo banh mi borrows from a few continents' worth of cuisine. But damn, it works, especially on a skillful butter-free banh mi.
Takeout Intel: Everything is packaged for takeaway, though you can snag one of Ba Bar’s outdoor tables (or take it inside if you buy a drink or something from the main restaurant).
“Welcome to the queso zone,” reads the menu board. Owner Matt Davis floods that zone, putting Oaky’s piquant cheese sauce on burritos and next to chips. It coats fries along with meat and sour cream for a Texan poutine of sorts. But Davis—also the meatsmith behind Wood Shop BBQ across the street—doesn’t coast on processed cheese dip bona fides. Oaky’s menu benefits from liberal access to a smoker; the carnitas, brisket barbacoa, and chicken verde are good enough to stand alone. Oaky’s first flickered to life as a counter inside an Interbay distillery. Here—with the cocktail bar, the Jennifer Ament mural in desert tones, the shrine-like portrait of Willie Nelson—Oaky’s has tapped into its rightful persona as versatile neighborhood refuge. Devout worship of carnivoral pleasures doesn’t stop this place from putting out the best vegetarian taco fillings in town, a crispy cauliflower laced with chimichurri.
Takeout Intel: Less-mobile dishes, like fajita platters and chalupas, are dine-in only, but sturdy takeout containers and online ordering help you crest the queso wave at home.
Coats get checked, cocktails whisked from the lounge pre-game to your waiting dinner table. The hay-smoked, dry-aged porterhouse springs from a cobalt Le Creuset with all the ceremony of an Academy Award presenter, a literal smokeshow of steak. Last year, Michael Mina made velvet-lined lemonade out of a prolonged pandemic closure, retooling his previous restaurant RN74 to join his seven-location steak house chainlet. He didn’t need to make it this good, given the hotel-adjacent location and this town’s appetite for trophy meat. But Mina grew up in Ellensburg (also the source of his kitchen’s smoking hay) and runs restaurants in other, comically discerning, dining towns. His Seattle-ified steak house also benefits from chef Adam Reece, whose Hood Canal upbringing plays out in beautiful shellfish dishes, a local counterpoint to the company’s decadent lobster pot pie.
Takeout Intel: It’s tough to package up a hay-smoked spectacle; Bourbon Steak just launched a separate to-go menu that tailors its dishes for transit.
Yes, these are sandwiches social media built, folios of toasted brioche filled with scrambled eggs, grilled corn, and assorted other fixings. Big ruffles of lettuce poke out of the top just so; layer in the dual tomato slices and drizzles of various mayo sauces and these creations look a little bit like muppet faces made out of food. Don’t let that stop you from eating it. Eight maximalist breakfast sandos spring from a minimalist Bellevue cafe on the ground floor of an apartment tower, a Korean-led chain that rolls into bingsoo as the day wears on. Versions stuffed with bulgogi, lox, ham, or chicken and jalapenos give your brain a lot to process, but in a good way.
Takeout Intel: Sandwiches come in upright little cartons for easy transport. Yep, there’s online ordering.