This post is a part of an ongoing series, Date Night Out: Seattle Style. Join us as we explore new restaurants, uncover hidden gems, and surprise our tastebuds.
We’re officially on vacation! This year we decided to do a stay-cation and enjoy the great PNW. I love the summers here and though I have thoroughly loved traveling abroad each year, a little bit of me was sad I was missing out on one of the best parts of Seattle; its summers.
This year we’re thrilled to be able to enjoy backpacking, hiking, paddle boarding, and all the summer activities the Northwest has to offer. We’re also embracing the “be a tourist in your own city” approach which definitely includes food tours. Because let’s just be honest, Seattle has some of the best chefs, the best restaurants and the best local ingredients to work with.
To celebrate the last several weeks of of long nights and working weekends, we decided to hit up the Ballard neighborhood and “wing it.” After window shopping menus on the north side of Old Ballard Avenue, we decided to try the little quadrant at the south end, where four little powerhouse eateries reside. If you’re local, you’re aware of this little corner where Staple & Fancy, Chippy’s, Barnacle, and The Walrus & the Carpenter reside. The two formers are owned by Ethan Stowell. The latter two by Renee Erickson. And whether or not you’re local or visiting, you’ll need to be sure to add one or all of these places to your “must eat at” list.
We had no reservations and the wait was two hours, but luckily there was seating at their outside bar. Though the weather was turning, the clouds coming in and temperatures dropping, we had come prepared with raincoats. Their outdoor heat lamps also kept us dry and toasty for our entire meal.
The inside of the restaurant is beautiful and intimate. Though we ate outside, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. It totally reminded us of our trips to different European cities, where locals embrace the weather, enjoy their drink and food outside, and people watch for hours. I would highly recommend this option; it’s totally worth it. And if you’re concerned about waitstaff forgetting about you, don’t be. We had the most prompt and attentive service and never once did we feel like we were an after thought.
We had originally been drawn to a few dishes like an artichoke ravioli, but their Chef’s Tasting option stood out amongst the rest. I mean, how could you ignore a statement like, “We would also like to inform you that you really should do this.” If Ethan Stowell tells his patrons that you really should do this, who are we to argue with him? We handed the menus back to the server and decided on a multi-course feast crafted by their Chef. We also informed them I was deathly allergic to shellfish and raspberries. Not a problem. Their Chef can do anything. And let me tell you, their “anything” was mind-blowing.
First Course: Eight dishes (you read that right. EIGHT dishes)
All eight plates stand out from each other yet blended so well when eaten together. If we had to pick favourites we would have to say their Peach & Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho and their Beef Tartare were at the top of the list.
Second Course: Pasta Dish
The chef totally surprised us with my favorite pasta of all time. Fresh, homemade Bolognese. What was a pleasant surprise was the addition of fresh mint. I’ve never seen or tasted Bolognese with it and loved it. I’m definitely trying this next time I make homemade Bolognese. By the way, I was so giddy when this came out I made Kyle take this picture before we devoured it.
Third Course: Main Entree
Kyle nearly died when this pork chop came out. I’m typically not a huge fan of pork, unless it’s bacon (just being honest) but let me tell you this was delicious. The outside was seared with a perfect crisp and the inside was moist and tender. Let me tell you, it was like pulling teeth to get him to share this.
Fourth Course: Dessert
We love panna cotta and we LOVED this version of it. The combined flavours of grilled and roasted peaches with dulce de leche pearls were delicious. I’m tempted to figure out how to make these pearls for future dinner parties at our home. Also, their biscotti was hands-down the best biscotti I have ever had. It had just the perfect amount of crunch and tenderness. I didn’t feel like I was going to break my teeth or get sugar all over my face trying to bite into it. Because sometimes that really does happen…just not with this one.
Like the food, we left wine and drink selections up to their staff. Our waitress paired our drinks perfectly to the plates that were coming out. We suggest you do the same, especially since each plate will be a surprise for you.
The four course meal is $55/person and all people in your party must participate. As Ethan Stowell says, “we would also like to inform you that you really should do this.”
We hope you enjoy Staple and Fancy as much as we did. Book your reservation today!