The last time I went to Restaurant Zoë, they hadn’t yet moved to their new Capitol Hill location. It was a great experience and I looked forward to trying out the brother restaurant, Quinn’s. Well, almost two years later I finally made it. Time, stop slipping, slipping into the future so easily.
Quinn’s, located on Capitol Hill, doesn’t open until 3 and they serve pub food until 1 am. I love pub food, but when a restaurant includes the words “unique twist” to their menu, I’m immediately suspicious. Traditional fare is traditional for a reason–it’s good. Wanna improve it? Use quality ingredients, prepare it properly, and serve it with a smile. But in a town without pity, I guess a pub’s gotta do what it’s gotta to stand out.
The corner of Pike and 10th is not a pretty sight in February. Naked trees, soggy paper ads dangling off light poles, icy cold winds, and dismal gray skies do not invite folks to stroll the damp streets. Spring feels forever away, and the only thing that could make a girl brave this PNW weather is the promise of “one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten” kind of food.
Even on a dismal winter day, the light pouring in that wall of windows was pretty spectacular. Very cool interior and I could see making this a favorite beer sipping spot if I lived within walking distance.
Diet coke with lemon, of course. James is stuck on the water, but when the light is right, even the water looks appealing.
James went with the wild boar sloppy joe ($11) and I had the painted hills beef burger ($14).
The burger comes with bacon, mayo, and cheddar cheese. It seemed kinda tame, but maybe that was the “unique twist”? Or maybe the unique twist was the pink cow toothpick on the bun? Either way, after the first mouthful I no longer cared about anything but getting the next bite.
This end of that rectangular plate is where to keep the focus. Normally a hunk of meat like that would’ve been a turn-off for me, but not from Quinn’s kitchen. High quality beef cooked medium rare, white cheddar, bacon, and mayo all worked together to create a symphony of awesome not unlike a bucket of popcorn, a diet coke, and a Dwayne Johnson movie. I would even say this burger is worth traveling to Quinn’s, but I’m the kind of girl who needs some fries with that, and those potato sticks were incredibly disappointing.
These were not the best of fries. In fact, they were the worst of fries, and somebody oughta be ashamed. The worst thing about that is if they had been right, the burger-fry combo would have been on my top 3 list in Seattle.
The sloppy joe came with a giant roasted red pepper which wasn’t tasty, or spicy, and added an extra something that was forgotten after one little taste. This sandwich…smelled. Weird. James kept saying “It’s gamey, but it tastes alright.” If by “gamey” he meant “smelled weird,” then ok. Either way he ate the whole thing, so I guess he liked it.
The curly fried onions would normally have pulled me in, but ooh ooh that smell.
However, what could’ve been an evening to be remembered by “Yeah, that place we had that great burger?” turned into “Remember that time Tabasco burned my thigh?” James had asked for some hot sauce to go with his sandwich–maybe to kill the smell of the wild hog–but had unfortunately made a very small dent in the ramekin the server had brought over. The server came to remove our plates after we’d finished, yada yada yada, the manager said “The Tabasco’s on you, the burger’s on me.” When we left, I thought my thigh was icy because my jeans were wet from the soda water, but in the car ride on the way home, what had been cold turned hot. Words to live by: Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line, and Ride home pantsless when Tabasco’s on the jeans.
Overall, unless I was strolling Pike on a warm summer night, I can’t see a quick return in our immediate future. Great burger, good ambiance, very, very spicy Tabasco, but not a whole lot more.