Dinner at Staple & Fancy, Ballard

We came here for the restaurant week menu and we loved it! Of course we’ve never met an Ethan Stowell Restaurant that has disappointed us so far.

The SRW menu here featured a bunch of small plates for appetizers – you get all of the little bites in the appetizer section, not just one.

First up was a plate of prosciutto and pecorino. I thought the pecorino could be stronger but this was pretty good as is.

Seared albacore tuna, which I didn’t eat except for the cooked edges, which had a really nice charred taste

Foie gras mousse on baguette toasties – definitely the highlight of the meal. The foie gras mousse was so light and creamy and decadent, smeared on a hunk of macrina baguette and drizzled with olive oil – it doesn’t get better than this.

Caesar salad with anchovy dressing was not bad, finally a place in Seattle that does it properly with lots of anchovies instead of lemon juice.

Arancini in marinara sauce and fried basil – this was a pretty dense ball of risotto mixed with mozzarella cheese. It went well with the marinara sauce – don’t think arancini could be served without!

Arancini cross section – look at that cheese.

Z got the culotte steak, which was three generous wodges of steak perfectly done (they don’t ask you what level of doneness you like it, because there’s only one correct answer) – even I ate it. It was really pink inside but did not taste gamey at all.

I got the braised pork loin and maitake rigatoni which was absolutely delicious. The pork loin was the tenderest pork loin ever and went really nicely with the maitake in a creamy, porky, wine-y sauce.

For dessert, Z got the lime panna cotta with rhubarb compote. It was a bright green, and we forgot what flavour it was so we thought it was matcha. Turned out to be lime, and is extremely sour, almost like a yoghurty sorbet-y custard. We probably wouldn’t order it again! The zestiness totally overcame the idea of panna cotta as a light, creamy dessert.

I had my chocolate terrine as usual, only they don’t serve it with candied macadamias here like in Mkt but with regular macadamias. Still it was really delicious.

I called the place up at the last minute (15 minutes before we arrived at the restaurant) and managed to reserve a spot at the bar. When we arrived there was a line of people waiting outside. There are merits to sitting at a table (more quiet, more spacious, you can have a nice private conversation) but sitting at the bar is definitely the way to go. You get to watch everybody working in the kitchen, feel the heat (900F) from the wood fired grill and appreciate all the work that goes into preparing your food. The bartender is a delight to talk to, as are the other patrons at the bar. Everyone is in everyone else’s business, your bar mates will have no qualms talking to you to find out what that delicious thing you’re eating is so they can order the same. We met this Greek guy there who told us that their grilled whole branzino was perfect, even though it was farm-raised :P We’ll definitely be back to try that – we saw the grill guy flip the fish on the wood fired grill and it looked fantastic.


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