My top four Seattle Restaurants, bistro category

Boat Street Sign

1. Pair
I have connections to Pair (know the owners, did the graphics for them), but even if I didn’t this place would be my number one pick in Seattle. It opened in the middle of a wash of one-syllable restaurants, many serving small plates, but Pair nailed it on a few levels that some of the others missed. Pair made it unpretentious. The service is great, but not formal. The price is reasonable for the quality of the food. The wine list is short, but very smartly chosen — I’ve never had a bad glass there. The food is presented simply, and it’s as tasty as could be. Their accolades are well deserved.

Some might disparage the small plates concept, but I’m sold. I am not a man that needs massive amounts of one thing to be sated. I prefer the small amounts of many tastes.

2. Boat Street Cafe and Boat Street Kitchen
Pay no attention to the awful website (startlingly bad. It bears no resemblance to their attention to detail in the real world. Owners: if you are reading this, I can help you. I’m only a wire away). We first visited the new location of the Boat Streets last weekend for brunch at the Kitchen. The Cafe and the Kitchen are in the same location and share a kitchen, but have different dining rooms. Both are extremely simple and nicely done. Not pretentious or over wrought at all. The Cafe does have these colorful umbrellas hanging from the ceiling that seemed a bit superfluous to me, but it was pointed out by my compatriot that they are likely for noise abatement in the concrete and brick room.

Our brunch was marvelous — I had a cornmeal custard cake, sitting in a thin bath of maple syrup, simply appointed with banana and a sausage. Christine had the benedict with a mouth watering sharp cheddar on top.

The food and experience was so good that we had to visit again last night for dinner at the cafe. We started with a cheese plate, moved on to the pear salad and I had a sausage special that came perched atop a cabbage gratin, with some peppers (either Mama Lil’s, or very similar) on the side. Christine had a pork chop that was sweet and succulent, pickled raisins, lacinato kale with chanterelles, and roasted potato. Very simple presentation that was all about the food, which was delicious. I have a feeling we’ll be visiting both places often in the future.

3. Matt’s in the Market
Hidden away in the market in a location I remember fondly as Cafe Counter Intelligence, Matt’s has become a popular hideaway, but it never fails to please. Sit at the counter or table by the arched windows overlooking the market, and have some great wine and the best pick of the goods below. His focus is mostly seafood, which I am not a huge fan of, but there is never a lack of succulent items on the menu for me to find. We mostly go for lunch, but I’ll bet it’s great in that room at night when the neon is glowing in the darkness outside.

4. Le Pichet
Another favorite daytime haunt for us. Is there a time of day that Oeufs Plats isn’t the best thing in the world? Not for me. This joint is like walking into a Paris street cafe. Tile and mirrors and a full bar in a skinny long room. Try the Salad Verte with butter lettuce and hazelnuts, a side of the cured sausage, and if you are brave and have a strong heart the pot du chocolate is mesmerizing.

What’s your favorite Seattle bistro?

Posted by: Martin McClellan
On the date of: September 30, 2006 06:51 PM
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