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Belltown Restaurants

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Late June in 2017, the first expansion of Pike Place Market in 40 years, the MarketFront, opened. Producers Hall and the Pavilion that rises above it is one section of that complex. On a cool, overcast winter day here in Belltown, this is a look at this building:

The newer Producers Hall & Pavilion is just west of the original Pike Place Market (on right in photo). The yellow Joe Desimone Bridge connects the old & the new.   The north end of Producers Hall and the 2nd floor Pavilion that rises above it. In warmer, busier months, the upper Pavilion will provide additional space for farmers and craft vendors. It is partially enclosed at this time of year, with glass somewhat sheltering guests walking through from Elliott Bay winds.

Distinct market pig hoofprints imprinted in the sidewalk next to Producers Hall. Three businesses, at the far end of the block in this photo, now occupy the hall: Honest Biscuits, Old Stove Brewing, and Indi ChocolateLittle Fish restaurant will be arriving in the future, in a different section of the hall.
Above right: Indi Chocolate factory and store. Inside the east entry to Producers Hall.

Inside Producers Hall.  Honest Biscuits (left), Indi Chocolate (in far back at center) and Old Stove  Brewing (right) share an open floor plan which looks out over the waterfront. A quiet winter weekday.

The Pavilion on the 2nd floor above Producers Hall.  The left photo is looking south, the right photo is facing north.

All photos:  Alethea Myers

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

The annual Dine Around Seattle event isn’t until later this spring, but in the meantime the organization is presenting a Shellfish Showcase, where participating restaurants showcase at least four shellfish dishes. Sunday through Thursday each week until January 25th, diners can enjoy one or more of the four crafted shellfish dishes at these two Belltown spots…

 

ORFEO | 2107 3rd Avenue | 206-443-1972

Dish One: Spaghetti alle vongole, with totten inlet manila clams, white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley, and butter.

Dish Two: Dungeness Crabmeat Beurre Fondue with homemade cappellini, and melted butter.

Dish Three: Mediterranean mussels roasted over the coals with garlic, rosemary, preserved lemon, and black pepper.

Dish Four: Charbroiled oysters on the ½ shell with crispy bacon, garlic butter, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

 

Queen City Grill | 2201 1st Avenue | 206-441-4311

Dish One: Seared Diver Scallops with chorizo, potatoes, salsa verde, almonds, and cilantro.

Dish Two: Lopez Island Clams in njuda and a smoked tomato broth, with crostini for dipping.

Dish Three: Smoked salmon and Dungeness crab salad with fennel, apple, and avocado.

Dish Four: Shrimp toast sandwich.

Dish Five: Tagliatelle with clams, uni butter, garlic, chilies, and herb bread crumbs.

Dish Six: Dungeness Crab Fagotini in tarragon butter with micro celery.

Dish Seven: Grilled Lobster “Thermidor” with celery root.

 

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.

There are lots of Belltown events involving food and drink this holiday season! Check them out…

All December: Holiday Pop-Up Bar “Miracle on 2nd”
4pm – 2am | Rob Roy
From December 1st through 24th, one of Belltown’s most iconic bars, Rob Roy, will be transformed into a holiday wonderland pop-up bar, “Miracle on 2nd”. There will be holiday-themed drink specials with a new concoction each day through Christmas Eve. Earn a stamp for each daily cocktail that you order, because 12 stamps earns you a $50 Rob Roy gift card and 24 will earn a $100 gift card!

December 1: Belltown First Friday Wine Share Christmas Party
6pm – 8:30pm | Moda Apartments
Enjoy live caroling, figgy pudding and other tasty holiday treats at the Belltown First Friday Wine Share group’s Christmas Party! The group will be collecting warm clothing for women and children to donate to Mary’s Place. Bring a bottle of wine to share!

December 2: Free Tour of The Paramount Theatre
10am – 11:30am | The Paramount Theatre
On the first Saturday of each month, The Paramount Theatre offers free tours of its historic facilities. This month, the tour is from 10 a.m. until about 11:30 a.m. on December 2nd. Meet in the main entrance of the theatre by 10 a.m. to participate.

December 4: 11th Annual Cookbook Social
4pm – 7pm | Palace Ballroom
Enjoy tips and tricks from some amazing cookbook authors at the 11th annual Cookbook Social on December 4th at Palace Ballroom! Take the opportunity to buy cookbooks as holiday gifts for the chefs and foodies in your life, or expand your own cookbook library. Tickets are $20/person, and include a glass of wine and bites from featured cookbook recipes to snack on.

December 5: Offal Good with Chef Chris Cosentino
6pm | Hot Stove Society
The Hot Stove Society is hosting acclaimed celebrity chef Chris Cosentino for a cookbook demo class, Offal Good. The event includes a demo from Chef Chris himself, delicious samples of the dishes he’ll make, and a copy of his new cookbook, Offal Good. Tickets are $85/person.

December 8: Belltown Art Walk
6 – 9pm | Belltown Community Center
Belltown’s December Art Walk begins at the Belltown Community Center then sends walkers off to local businesses, galleries, dive bars and venues to enjoy works by local artists. Start at the neighborhood community center to pick up a gallery map and snacks between 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 8th, and then wander throughout Belltown to check out the work of various artists and establishments participating in this monthly event.

December 10: Lobster Sunday Feast
6 – 9pm | Tavolàta Belltown
The December monthly Sunday Feast at Tavolàta will feature Lobster. There will be delicious lobster-centric dishes such as Saffron Spaghetti, Lobster Agnolotti, Grilled Lobster Tail, Lobster Risotto, and more. This Tavolàta Sunday Feast is prix-fixe at $70 per person and served family style. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Call to reserve your place (reservations required): 206-838-8008.

December 14: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Opens at Cinerama
10:30 pm | Cinerama
The Star Wars saga continues with “The Last Jedi”, which follows Rey on the next stage of her epic journey.