Maroon Me Here – Restaurant Marron

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My bi-monthly dinner explorations with Salumi continued this month with Restaurant Marron. There has been a lot of excitement from foodies regarding this restaurant because it was supposed to be a 16-course journey. While that menu hasn’t quite come to fruition yet, a carte blanche for $98 is. Consider it their version of the tasting menu. How is it different from a tasting menu? Chef Eric Sakai makes dishes up as he goes along and it is splendid. There is no better way to get a sense of the chef’s chops than the tasting menu (the Black Knight would agree whole-heartedly with me on this) and so both Salumi and I ordered the carte blanche and waited to see what magic the kitchen could concoct.

 

restaurant marron - avocado & kumquat

avocado & kumquat: the amuse bouche, light refreshing with just enough acidity to make you start salivating

restuarant marron - red beet salad

red beet salad – with smoke cherries and mustard green, our veggies for the night; the beets were sweet and firm pairing nicely with the crunch of the greens and light dressing; the cracker, paper thin, was full of flavor and the best part of this dish

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Let It Marinate – Marination Ma Kai

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On a nice day, the Black Night and I dropped by Marination Ma Kai after a day at Lincoln Park as he liked the idea of kalibi beef in a taco form. It’s one of those Asian fusion concepts that you have to try in order to fully appreciate its brilliance. The patio was crowded on a sunny day, but be warned, the draft coming off the water makes it really cold. Bring a jacket if you think you want to sit in the sun or get a better view of the cityscape. This is after all, one of the most iconic views of Seattle, after Kerry Park.

marination ma kai - tacos, pulled pork slider

kalibi beef tacos – the original Asian fusion tacos, you can’t miss these! It’s a twist on the koren kalibi beef that you love delivered in a convenient taco.
pulled pork slider – a nice balance of savory, smoky, acidity, crunch tucked between two pillows of sweet rolls

marination ma kai - katsu burger

katsu burger – lots of crunch with a nice balance of their cabbage coleslaw

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A Good Life – Hi Life

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When Mr. Lo returns from Washington D.C., we always celebrate his return with good food and good friends.  It’s a Good Life. We were going to go to Brimmer & Heeltap, but the restaurant was too small for a party of 9 and wasn’t child friendly, so Nutkin moved us to Hi Life not too much further down the street.

I’ve been there for their friend chicken Sunday dinner, which at $15, is an amazing deal and most certainly a must-try!  I had not been there for other entrees, and I enjoyed the atmosphere and thought it was great for children and large groups.  Their build your own cookie for children’s dessert was so much fun!  They provide cookie dough and sprinkles and let the kids get to work.  It is truly an edible work of art!

high life - burger

burger

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Lebanese Breeze – Cafe Munir

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My mom likes Middle Eastern food because of all of its exotic flavors and spices, so when it came time to celebrate Mother’s Day (along with 3 other people’s birthdays) we went to Café Munir as we had heard great reviews about it.  It’s a nice family restaurant in a non-descript neighborhood and no sign above the store.  The sign is in the window.  We had 4 people at our table and our order was just the perfect amount of food.  The pastries are on the small side, but you’ll fill up on the hummus and baba ghanoush. The entrees are fairly generous.

cafe munir - lamb hummus

lamb hummus – they poured the sizzling lamb with au jus into the center of the hummus, giving it a rich flavor balanced by the pine nuts

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Unpronouncable – Mamnoon

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Mamnoon has been on all of the restaurant critic’s best restaurant lists, inluding Seattle Magazine and Metropolitan Magazine, so Salumi suggested that we give it a try for our next dinner.  Mamnoon is Syrian and Lebenese food, which seems similar to middle eastern food in general.  Lots of yogart, hummus, and flatbread type breads on the menu.

There’s a walk-up window for kulage sandwiches and mana’eesh (similar to pita/flatbread) and the restaurant itself is large with a very modern design.  We were lucky enough to be seated in a small corner in the back of the restaurant, but it was still very loud.  After some research on what other people said were must try items on the menu, we ordered:

mamnoon - fattah hummus

fatteh hummus – fresh chickpeas with tahini and fried pita; while we were expecting green hummus, this was definitely different as I have never had fresh chickpeas. They are in my mind, like spring, what the chickpeas should taste like before they get turned into the tan garbanzo beans at the salad bar; a nice mix of textures, this is difficult to get eat with the bread as everything tends to want to escape.

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Food for the Soul – Roux

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I had wanted to go to Roux ever since it opened since Southern food is one of my many weaknesses.  The last time I tried to go to this restaurant, it was snowing and we ended up at Toulouse Petit as a compromise.  Some of the same crew from Toulouse are now at Roux, which makes sense given that both have a focus on Southern and Cajun food.  However, they are completely different when it comes to nuances and taste.  Whereas Toulouse is a crowd pleaser with an extensive menu, Roux elevates everything to the next level.  Toulouse is a bar where people go to see and be seen, and Roux is similarly packed on a Saturday night, but the bar here is also part of the kitchen.

We had the best seats in the house, right next to chef Michael Robertshaw, and watched everyone work their magic on delicious looking dishes all night long. The only drawback of sitting next to the kitchen is that everything looks so good and you want to try ALL OF IT!  I guess that just means we have come back to try the rest of the dishes.  We ordered:

jalapeno hush puppies: drizzled with honey, these are honestly the best hush puppies in town and I’ve had them at every restaurant that serves them…  They weren’t too dense or too dry, which is often the problem with over-fried hush puppies.  But these were so amazing, with just the slightest hint of spiciness and plenty of honey to give a nice balance of flavors. Continue reading »


Setting a High Bar – Bar Cotto

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Dining with Nutkin and the She-Nutkin, we decided to try Bar Cotto, yet another Ethan Stowell restaurant. This one is a pizza and salumeria (cured meats) restaurant. It’s located right next to his other restaurant, Olives and Anchovies, and on a Thursday night was rather empty.  As this is a pizza and salumi restaurant, we ordered exactly that:

The salumi plate:
- Spicy coppa: flavorful with a hint of fire, the milder version of a sopresetta
- Petit Jesu: a hunk of cured meat that’s the size of the baby Jesus, delicious and hard to find in most places!!!
- Mangalitsa Lardo: back fat, and I’m not kidding.  It melts between your fingertips, but it’s sliced so thinly that you won’t find it too rich
- Torta Frittas – little pillows of fried pizza dough crust, perfect for wrapping for stuffing your cured meats in.  For 3 cured meats, you’ll need two orders of these. I’m not sure if they have bread to go with the salumis… Continue reading »