I love this Asian-influenced spot in Capitol Hill, the neighborhood that’s long been the epicenter of LGBTQ life in Seattle. While its main inspiration lies in places like Cambodia, there’s a deft touch and an international flair to this place that proclaims itself (correctly) as serving a “global cuisine.” I love the duck “fresh rolls,” wrapped in rice paper and dense, hearty, warm, and somehow smooth and crispy all at once. For mains, my favorite is the pumpkin in a mild curry sauce, livened by little curlicues of dried yuba (tofu skin, which is a hundred times better than it sounds) and brightened with little shreds of rice paddy herbs sprinkled throughout. The menu is divided into small, medium, and large, so you can mix and match appropriately, perhaps leaving room for something sweet (the goose egg custard with a Thai flower tuile is a winner). Wash it down with The Coconut, a concoction of rum mixed with their house blend of lime leaf, galangal, lemongrass, and fresh lime juice, served in its eponymous fruit with the ever-fun umbrella topping it. With the lovely staff and the chic but casual feel (a hallmark of most Seattle dining), you can see why Stateside packs them in, and why every friend to whom I mention that I ate there comments, “Oh, I love Stateside!” 300 E. Pike St. Tel: 206-557-7273. www.statesideseattle.com
FLINT CREEK CATTLE CO.
Great dining in Greenwood? Yes, the phrase is not an oxymoron any more, thanks to Flint Creek Cattle Co., which has brought a new culinary interest to this out-of-the-way neighborhood. As the name indicates, beef is the focus here, but you don’t have to be a carnivore to enjoy Flint Creek. Have a seat in one of the long rows of tables facing the open kitchen or in the large mezzanine (the spacious proportions reveal the restaurant’s former incarnation as a fish market). While the menu gets some seasonal updates, I hope they’ll still have the grilled kuri squash with burrata when you’re there, because it’s a total winner, the charry squash contrasting with the rich, creamy burrata, topped by crispy-fried sage leaves and surrounded by pistachios. Heirloom grits with maitake mushrooms are deep, rich, and earthy, a touch of grana padano giving them an extra little kick. The bison hanger steak is popular, as is the salmon, redolent with fennel and onions. Dessert? Well, how could a Valrhona chocolate cake with peanut/caramel ice cream go wrong? Wonderful service and creative cookery have come to Greenwood, and there’s no going back now! 8421 Greenwood Ave. N. Tel: 206-457-5656.
Stacks of logs and a nine-foot-long woodfired grill give you a hint of what James Beard–award winner Jason Wilson is up to at Miller’s Guild, and the steaks, whether filet, sirloin, or New York, are a new flavor sensation when cooked to perfection on this “Inferno Live Fire Grill” (though the result is something more like heaven). Vegetarians (well, everyone) will love the black garlic gnocchi with spinach, mushrooms, smoked truffle salt, and Parmesan, while the king crab ravioli will please those who just have to eat seafood while in Seattle! With a rustic- chic look of concrete, wood floors, and plants in cement planters, it’s unpretentious and oh, so good. I love the brunch here too, with their craft-yourown mimosas, Benedicts of ham, smoked salmon, or mushroom/spinach, and the pancakes for which you can choose anything from blueberries to bacon to be mixed in the batter. Don’t worry, if you just can’t live without that Inferno, you can get steak frites or steak and eggs at brunch time! 612 Stewart St. Tel: 443-3663. www.millersguild.com
You can probably guess the focus of this restaurant from its name. If I add the phrase “Seafood and Oyster Bar,” it will become even clearer. Yes, this restaurant at the Loew’s Hotel 1000 offers such delights as wild king salmon with fava beans and fiddlehead ferns, coriander-crusted halibut with cauliflower purée, and a daily selection of Pacific Northwest oysters (and even soothes the non-pescatores with a smoked pork loin or roasted half chicken with goat cheese/potato purée). The pleasures don’t stop there, though, and it’s just as popular as a brunch spot, drawing a wide range of locals and tourists for joys like Dungeness crab frittata and smoked salmon/avocado toast. With a sleek look and great service, it’s a perfect getaway any time of day. (By the way, don’t miss the chowder fries, drenched in a pour-over of chowder “gravy” that instantly became one of my favorite indulgences in the world.) 1000 1st Avenue. Tel: 206-957-1000. www.loewshotels.com/hotel-1000-seattle/dining/restaurants