Last month during Seattle’s Fall Restaurant Week (participating restaurants feature a three course meal for $25) we decided to re-visit a place we’d been to before but hadn’t eaten there because we were too busy good-timing it with good-timing people. Restaurant Week’s a good time to visit spots I hadn’t to get a taste of something I normally wouldn’t. I know that restaurants participate in these events to attract new customers and remind the old ones of how good things are, but the menu is often limited to a few select items to choose from and not necessarily the best items, either. Which prolly makes sense because there’s the cost of food and preparation to take into account, and I imagine the majority of these restaurants aren’t making money from these deals. So what is the benefit of this Restaurant Week business? Am I really getting something new and different and is the restaurant really showing new customers what they could experience at their place? Maybe it’s the “oh look, you could be having this” tease that makes it all work into luring folks back?
Though there are dozens of spots on the list, the only one we got to was Crow. But we had such a great time, I’m gonna make out like we visited at least three.
Crow is open for dinner and is located on lower Queen Anne, a couple blocks from the Needle. Translation: great central location for meeting up with folks for drinks, but really craptacular parking. The bonus that makes up for parking is that it has one of those bars that face the kitchen instead of a bartender and a wall of liquor. Even though it was a Wednesday, when we arrived pretty late for dinner, the bar had the only open seats in the house (I took the two photos of the bar toward the end of the meal as we were leaving, closer to closing time).
The folks in the kitchen were friendly and polite, not to mention smooth with the pots and pans. I expected one guy to do some flair with skillet, but who’d want to risk pan drippings? We ate the complimentary bread with oil and vinager (loving the bread service, Crow) while watching the show.
I don’t remember what this dish was, but it was interesting to watch the intestines being stretched over the sausage patty to create a fatty flavor netting. Our first course was soup and the shrimp and grits.
I don’t remember if it was lentils or peas, but the chunks of veg and ham made for a good soup. James liked it better than I did, but he’s a big soup eater.
The shrimp and grits were pretty spectacular. The shrimp were sautéed with bits of bacon and piled on top of creamily delicious grits, and then the whole thing was drizzled with those famous pan drippings. I do love a good pan dripping, man. From what the guy said when he delivered it, Crow changes their menu fairly frequently, so get this when you see it.
Carlo the chef took the time to tell us about Crow while he was doing the voodoo he do. After watching Carlo grill some figs and bread and add it to a plate with a dollop of herbed ricotta and then drizzle the whole thing with honey, we had a taste of that, too. Brilliant.
James had the braised short ribs on top of potatoes. If you’re thinking “This looks like a hot mess of good eatin’” then you’d be right. The perfectly seasoned meat fell off the bones and the green beans were cooked nicely. The potatoes could’ve been chunkier, but they full of flavor.
I had the house lasagna, which was probably my least favorite item of the night. I don’t eat lasagna often mostly because of the layer of ricotta cheese in there. While I love cheese, the ricotta and cottage members of the cheese family are essentially barely cousins to me. Which really made the fact that I liked the figs and herbed ricotta so awesome. However, the awesomeness didn’t stretch to the lasagna because I was overwhelmed by the strong flavor of tomato and the blandness of the ricotta. I saw a lot of plates of lasagna going out, and I believe it’s on the menu most of the time, so apparently it’s just me who wasn’t a fan. James liked it and enjoyed the leftovers the next day.
James went with the apple crumb for dessert which was ok, but absolutely nowhere near as fantastical as the maple pecan sundae I had.
Pecans swimming in maple syrup on top of ice cream with a side of cookies? Genius. Since it’s been about a month since we went, I don’t remember a lot of things about the menu items, and I know that wasn’t vanilla ice cream, but I can’t remember the flavor–maple? Cinnamon? Or was it cinnamon ice cream on the crumb? Since Crow changes up their menu, their online menu isn’t shedding a clue, either. There are ups and downs to those rotating menus, but I have to admit I like the comfort of knowing that a core menu stays mostly the same, especially my favorites. Like those figs! Crow, keep the figs all the time, man.
The food was great and the staff was very nice to us, which isn’t always the case when you go in for a meal deal. Since we both ordered the $25 three course meal (I like trying as many things as possible, even if it means going home with a couple of boxes of food that may or may not get eaten the next day), it was still a pricey tab, but worth it. If you go, sit at the bar and watch the show and hope they have the figs on the menu.