Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Black Bottle

Black Bottle Seattle Exterior

Comedian Chelsea Handler recommends spending one full week each year with one's family. Personally, I find a slightly modified version of this--two to three days at a time, two to three times throughout the year--works best, and keeps my parents at bay on issues like 1) Why didn't I catch an earlier ferry to their place and 2) Why haven't I produced any grandchildren.

These carefully constructed jaunts to the Pacific Northwest are also most successful when they begin and end with an eating spree in Seattle. During our recent stopover in the Emerald City we happened upon urban tavern Black Bottle. Even though the Belltown hangout was closed during our first stroll by at 3:30 in the afternoon, it still looked positively welcoming: wrought iron tables lined its sidewalk and large glass windows told the story of a place that would be bustling by 5 with neighbors ready to usher in the weekend. A menu printed in lowercase (since Happy Hour has no place for punctuation) and posted at the door divided the locally-sourced selections into six mouth-watering and reasonably-priced categories: meat, seafood, veggies, flatbread, "also" (read sides) and sweets all priced at or under $12 (with most coming in at $8). But while the prices and descriptions may suggest small plates, the dishes we tried were anything but.

Lemon Caper Squid Salad: $8

Fresh and light, this salad came with a bounty of calamari considering the nominal price tag.

Black Bottle Seattle Salad

Fresh Sardines Namban: $8

Delicately fried fillets married with vinegar, soy sauce, onion and hot and sweet peppers.

Black Bottle Seattle Sardines 2

Black Bottle's wine markup looked to be upwards of 100% in some cases, but fortunately is still approachable enough for those of us who don't have stock in Microsoft. We settled on a 2007 Steele Wines Cab Franc ($38) served in rather dinky wine glasses which, unlike the bar's food menu, did leave something to be desired. It was the motivation we needed to make our way to my parents' house and the refuge of their more bulbous glassware.

- K

Black Bottle
2600 1st Avenue + Vine
Seattle, WA 98121

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