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Belltown Restaurant Spotlight

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Today marks the start of the tastiest week of the season- the triumphant return of Seattle Restaurant Week!

We here in Seattle are so blessed with an abundance of fabulous dining options, ranging from simple and inexpensive to exotic, lavish and extraordinary, which usually doesn’t come too cheap. Seattle Restaurant Week is an opportunity for people to explore many incredible restaurants they may not normally spring for by offering fabulous deals you won’t want to miss out on.

Every Sunday through Thursday from April 2nd to April 19th, over 165 restaurants across the city will be offering up $33 three-course dinners, with many also offering $18 two-course lunches as well. These restaurants range in price, type of cuisine and location, giving you tons of options to choose from, in every department!

To maximize your SRW experience, check out a list of participating restaurants here (click on the name of the restaurants to see their location and view their SRW exclusive menu) and be sure to check out The Seattle Times lists of best overall value, best ambiance, neighborhood favorites and SRW newcomers.

If you are going to explore SRW (which we highly recommend you do!), remember to be patient, make reservations and tip your servers well! While SRW is a great opportunity for diners, restaurants do tend to get swamped, and the nicer and more understanding we are as patrons, the better the experience for everyone!

Now, go out and get a healthy dose of YUM, before it’s too late!

Gather up your squad and head down to the market on Friday, March 23rd for a fabulous, fun event that brings together a diverse selection of over 70 local vendors to delight you with tastes of their delectable products. And their vendor list is still growing!

Arcade Lights is a wonderful opportunity to sample a selection of delicious drinks, foods and sweet treats, from a wide array of local, small-batch, and artisan vendors. Arcade Lights is always a great time and a wonderfully festive event, where you can enjoy something local and tasty, try something new and have a blast, under the Arcade Lights!

Year after year, Arcade Lights brings new comers and local favorites together to showcase their products and have you wanting more, and this year looks to be no exception. Where else will you find Elleno’s Greek Yogurt, Etta’s, Swede Hill Distilling, Fremont Brewing, Poquitos, Nutty Squirrel Gelato, Schilling Cider and many more local loves all at the same place? Only in Seattle, and only at Arcade Lights.  Be sure to check out a full list of vendors and brace yourself for taste bud nirvana!

 

2018 brings with it a couple new and exciting additions to Arcade Lights. Explore the brand new MarketFront expansion and be sure to check out the new and improved Night Market at Arcade Lights! On top of the already incredible 70+ artisanal food and drink vendors, some the Market’s own artisan crafters will be getting in on the fun! Night Market vendors will be there to show off their unique, hand-made goods and crafts, all available for sale. Come for the food and drinks, stay for the cool, locally made stuff!

This year’s event is sponsored by Seattle MetDRY Sparkling, DEI Creative, American Lamb and Edelman. As always, proceeds go to benefit the Pike Place Market Foundation which helps to maintain our beloved Pike Place Market and keep the community thriving.

 

 

Grab your tickets before they’re gone, and get ready for fun under the Arcade Lights!

Arcade Lights at Pike Place Market, 7:00 pm, Friday, March 23rd

Tickets-

General Admission – $75
Tickets include tastes of as many of the hand-crafted savory and sweet bites as your heart desires – while supplies last – and include five tokens for tastes of beer, cider, non-alcoholic drinks such as root beer and sodas and wine. Tasting glass included. Additional tokens will be available for purchase.

Premium Entry – $90
Limited Quantity Available! Premium Entry into Arcade Lights 30-minutes before the General Admission crowd takes over the Arcade! Includes 5 drink tokens, unlimited food, plus EARLY ENTRY at 6:30PM.

VIP with Early Entry – $150
VIP guests have exclusive access to the VIP Lounge on the *NEW* MarketFront, which includes seating, music, and sweeping views of Elliott Bay and the Seattle Skyline with exclusive food and beverage tastings from elite vendors. VIP Guests receive 5 drink tokens and unlimited food, and can enter the VIP Lounge at 6:00PM to begin celebrating before entering the Main Arcade at 6:30PM with Premium Entry. VIP guests can use the VIP Lounge at their luxury anytime throughout the night.

Arcade Lights is a 21 and over only event, so please plan accordingly.

For more information, visit the Pike Place Market website.

Popular Cutters crabcake with corn succotash

Situated just north of Pike Place Market in Belltown, you’ll find Cutters Crabhouse. This writer has regularly lunched at this restaurant with its incredible waterfront views for well over a year now. In this time, the food, view, and friendly, professional service provided have made this a consistently good experience and reason to return. Although seafood is featured on their menu, Cutters also has a great selection of other fare to choose from. Their fettucine, for example, isn’t a bland white sauce typically found in most eating places, but a mix of fresh spinach and tomatoes in white sauce, sprinkled with bread crumbs.

According to Brett Gardner Howell, Executive Chef, their most-requested dish is the crabcake with creamy corn succotash, made with both Alaskan and snowcrab meat. The crab sandwich is flavorful, mixed with artichokes, shaved onion, parmesan, cheddar, topped with a tomato. All of their food is from the Pacific Northwest, sourcing the next door market and fresh, local venues whenever possible. For example, their menu currently has local Beecher’s fried cheese curds as an appetizer and Mick’s Jelly, both sourced a block away, and excellent when served together. Cutters has a “Fresh Sheet” which changes every 2-3 months, in addition to their seasonal menu, and they always have a soup of the day.

Concerning those panoramic views: Cutters Crabhouse has expansive windows, looking south over Victor Steinbrueck Park to Pike Place Market, eastward spanning the Big Wheel, working waterfront, ferries as well as other boat traffic, and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains across Elliott Bay. Even on a cloudy winter day, it’s pleasant to eat here.

Beautiful view at Cutters Crabhouse, even on a cloudy day

They often partner with Pike Place Foundation, and recently won a 2017 Hoofprint Award for their ongoing support for these events, donations and their participation. “Cutters Bayhouse” was the original name when it opened in 1983, and has remained at the same location. Longevity extends not only to the business but to some of the people who work there: 15-and-20 year anniversaries were recently celebrated for two employees. And families are made welcome with activity sheets that kids can draw on, as well as on the large white paper “canvas” spread on each dining table. As Chef Howell commented, “The best thing about our restaurant is our people. We take a lot of pride in our family atmosphere.”

Cutters Crabhouse, on many levels, is a cut above.

Left:  Cutters’ Kale & Romaine Caesar Salad with Oregon Bay Shrimp.      Right:  Delectable Beecher’s Cheese Curds & Mick’s Jelly

A smaller Italian restaurant, Mercato Stellina, opened December 1st less than a block from the north end of Pike Place Market. It creates a diverse compliment to its neighbors in the same building: the long-established and fine seafood restaurant Cutters Crabhouse, and Mercato Stellina’s also newly-opened sister restaurant Chavez, which serves Mexican food.

Mercato Stellina has an intimate feel: the narrow galley shape of the space, low lighting, sophisticated high-end music, and the combination of tables and counters, some at which you can directly watch chefs/cooks as they prepare your dish. Seated at another counter, you can sometimes glimpse head pasta maker Joe Obaya creating fresh pasta for the restaurant through a glass pane. He has worked extensively in the restaurant business, doing his internship at the Herb Farm after culinary school years ago and now exclusively forms pasta for both Mercato Stellina as well as Cantinetta’s two locations. Last summer, Joe spent time in different areas of Italy researching and shopping for good Italian pasta-making machines and also studying techniques used by generations of pasta makers in the little town of Lecco.

Mercato Stellina’s Tagliatelle and also Sausage Pizza.   All photos:  Alethea Myers

Some of the ingredients on the menu are somewhat adventurous, such as utilizing unusual seeds grown at Steel Wheel Farm in Fall City, WA for pickled watermelon pieces (similar to sharp chutney) which accompanies honey on the burrata cheese antipasti. Or giant Alaskan octopus, cracked raw egg, rabbit, and toasted grasshopper, all featured on different pizzas or pasta.

Aspects of the menu will be changing out 4-5 times per year depending on the season, including some cocktails, and eventually may include a special Market Menu that features specials of the day. If you live in this zip code or work in the restaurant industry, you can receive 10% off your bill with their Neighborhood Discount. A 20% service charge is added in lieu of tip.

Ever notice the colorful lights in Etta’s Seafood restaurant? And did you know there’s a lunch card deal for us regulars?

Named after the daughter (Loretta) of local restaurateur force-of-nature Tom Douglas and wife/partner Jackie Cross, Etta’s is located a ½ block north of Pike Place Market on Western Avenue. Set against a backdrop of mostly black and brown tones, colorful lights from Kasala (located a few blocks away) illuminate and highlight the interior space of the restaurant. A definite bright spot on an overcast Fall or winter day.

Dining there is also a highlight: all food and most drinks are locally sourced from the Northwest. They even cure and smoke their own meat and seafood, often purchased from Pike Place Market. Fresh vegetables from their farm in Prosser, WA, are prepared and served on their menu during the growing season, which is May through November. Certain menu items shift in a subtle way to match that month’s bounty. Vegetables currently being featured and where they originated from (along with some fun drawings) are sketched on their chalkboard near the front entrance. Below that, Tom’s autographed cookbooks are displayed for sale, and multi-colored, fish-shaped chewy candies invite you to take a spoonful. The True Cod Fish and hand cut Chips accompanied by a unique, good coleslaw, are definitely worth repeating, and the Dungeness crab cakes are excellent.

Chalkboard inside Etta’s front door, as well as autographed cookbooks, food rubs, and candies.   All photos: Alethea Myers
The lunch card.

For those of us who frequently eat lunch here, you can request an Etta’s lunch card, which your wait person or manager will initial at the end of each visit. After purchasing 10 lunches, your 11th one is free. That’s a significant savings, and a good incentive to keep returning.

Seattle Restaurant Week is coming soon, October 15th through November 2nd, in which 165+ local restaurants offer 2-3 course lunches for $18, and 3-course dinners for $33. Etta’s is participating in this event, and you can view their special menu here.