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Restaurants & Bars

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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.

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.