I will turn my back on the tremendous view from our hotel room at the Westin. The view of Elliot's Bay and Peuget Sound is ever changing and mesmerizing. A television is unnecessary in this room, unless, of course an Alabama football game is on.
Ginger was in town for work all week and I joined her for the weekend. It seems that the fabled Seattle rain always clears and we have beautiful temperate weather when we are here. Yesterday was certainly no exception. Clear blue skies and mid seventies temperatures were the conditions of the day. The perfect evening to visit one of our favorite Seattle eateries.
We have eased into Matt's over the years. Our first discovery was while visiting Pike's Place Market and looking for a place for a late lunch. Repeated visits for lunch or drinks and cheese have gradually shaped our view of Matt's as a place where you can always get innovative food served in a cordial atmosphere with fresh breezes through open windows and views of the market and the sound. On the upper floor of the building, directly across from the Market entrance, the place has an open warehouse loft feel and the large windows always seem to be flooded with light.
After much anticipation and walking around trying to kill a couple of hours, we couldn't contain ourselves any longer and showed up 20 minutes early for our nine o'clock reservation. Unfortunately, there had been some kind of snafu and we didn't actually have a reservation. They were definitely slammed, but the hostess was cordial and worked us in for a 9:15 reservation. We waited patiently and spent the time cruising real estate listings on G's iPad.
9:15 became 9:30 and we were called to our table at a window in the bar area, but all good. Our waitperson, Phillip, came quickly and was responsive and helpful without being pushy to get a drink order. We were quick, though. The last time we were here we had a cheese plate and G had a tasty cocktail, so that was where we started.
We also settled on our entrees before Phillip left the table. Matt's menu changes regularly based upon what is fresh. The menu is not expansive, with 5-7 choices in each of the categories (appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts), yet it covers the range of food groups, such that whether you are in mood for fish, fowl, or beast, you can find something that looks good. Though I usually do not order halibut when out at a restaurant, because of the frequency and quality of the halibut that we have at home, the preparation with fresh corn, fava beans, and dashi broth sounded too good to pass on. I would have gone with one of my always favorites of seafood stew, but the preparation was with a coconut green curry broth and coconut is one of the few things that can spoil a meal for me. To my surprise G ordered the stew, so, I could, at least, sample it .
The cheese plate came, five cheeses arrayed on a piece of slate, each with a special accouterments of jam, ground nuts, home made corn flakes, etc. It was a mixture of Washington local cheeses and cheeses from France and Spain. It was also a mixture of cow and sheep milk cheeses that ran the gamut from brie to bleu. It was hard to choose the star of this array. Not usually a huge bleu fan the combination of a very mild bleu with a thin flat of chocolate with dried strawberries made that, I think, my favorite, but it was really like naming your favorite child. They were all special.
The Albarino that we had ordered was really good, pleasantly tart and paired well with the cheese and our entrees.
When the entrees came they were visually beautiful. G's seafood stew came out first and was overflowing with shellfish with nice pieces of salmon and halibut peaking out of the broth. "No way, are you going to eat all of that," I said. My halibut followed closely. It was perfectly seared (how do they do that?) and on a bed of veggies. When the server poured on the dashi broth I was assailed with a smoky aroma that set my salivary glands going. I definitely need to explore dashi as an ingredient.
I quickly snagged a mussel that was not deep in G's coconut infused broth. I could just taste the dreaded coconut, but the mussel was wonderful. G. dug in and the seafood flew, shells clattering into the discard bowl accompanied by appreciative expletives.
My halibut was wonderful. The preparation was fresh and nuanced. My first impression had been that the portion was a bit on the small side, but I found myself just barely able to finish. "Oh man!"
As we sat back to finish our bottle of wine, G. started surfing real estate listings again. Philip came by and, on a whim, I asked him where we might want to look for houses in the Seattle area. After a bit of back and forth, he pulled up a chair and talked with us about neighborhoods.
All in all, it was a great evening and really great food. Matt's is like any great thing. When the food, service, and setting are this good it is going to be discovered and known. We will return again and again, but so will others.