Seattle Met's food team counts down to December 25 with our favorite food memories from this year's crop of new restaurants. (In no particular order other than in service to the lyrics of a centuries-old earworm Christmas carol.)
Three Meatballs from Homer 🎶
It’s hard to truly mess up a meatball. It’s perhaps even harder to make a comforting combo of meat, seasoning, and some sort of warming sauce into something awe inspiring. Do not conclude a meal at Logan Cox’s smashing new restaurant on Beacon Hill without at least one order of Homer’s lamb and pork meatballs. They come as a trio, in a tomato sauce with layer upon layer of flavor—dried fruits, cinnamon and yogurt whey—hiding underneath coins of tomatillo that deliver a happy hit of acid.
The sauce benefits from all those ingredients, but also a lengthy reduction to pack those flavors even tighter. Like everything else at Homer, a lot of unseen labor perfects dishes that come off rustic and casual.
Two Halves of Sawyer's Burger 🎶
At first, ordering a familiar burger from a menu with jojos and matzo ball pho and oxtail nachos feels like a missed opportunity for adventure. But then it arrives, a majestic butte of bun and double-decker wagyu patties, grilled in mustard, and a fat slice of golden tomato. Here, the secret sauce consists of caramelized onions and mornay, a far richer way to achieve the melty texture usually bestowed by processed cheese.
After dissecting all the other items on chef Mitch Mayers’ fantastical menu, I ran out of space before I could sing the praises of this burger. But here I am, weeks and months later, remembering it with an ardor that borders on inappropriate.
...And an Ikura-Topped Hot Dog in a Dark Bar 🎶
Is it the hot dog itself, or the act of eating it at a gracefully undulating bar, whilst rubbing elbows with a taxidermied grebe inside a glass cloche? There's no arguing that ambience reins at Renee Erickson's new cocktail destination, a luxuriantly dim midcentury Manhattan hotel bar that’s hurtled across space and time to occupy the, uh, undercarriage of the Amazon Spheres. But as hot dogs go, Deep Dive’s is a carefully crafted upgrade—complete with silver platter—of the drunken late-night Seattle Dog. Beef comes from cows that rubbed shoulders with Erickson’s own herd, smoked with hazelnut shells. House baker Ben Campbell fashions the superlative seeded buns. On top: cream cheese whipped to texture-balancing perfection, and slices of jalapeno and pickled onion that add a level of gaiety in keeping with the room. A luminous, liberal dose of ikura on top delivers pops of salty goodness.