Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Steelhead Diner - Worth the wait, minus the Huskers

Steelhead Diner
95 Pine Street
Seattle, WA. 98101

I am always on the hunt for a good place to take someone for a birthday or to take family from out of town - and so a week before my husbands 36th birthday, I started to ask around -wanting to find somewhere special to take him that was worth the extra cash it may cost per plate. His only preference - he wanted a good crab cake and some GOOD fried chicken, like he would get at his Granny's house.

SO the overwhelming consensus? Go to Steelhead diner. Its a bit pricey but worth every penny. So i visited their site, and after salivating with my co-workers over the online menu - I conveniently found the place to make online reservations.

Friday night came a long and our close friends double dated with us. Turns out it was a downpour - but providentially we found parking literally right out front - so it wasn't too bad of a walk in the rain. For a Friday night at Pike Place - we were lucky indeed.

We arrived about 5 minutes before our reservation time of 7:30. The hostess staff was kind and accommodating, explaining that our table was being cleaned and set and it would be just a moment. When I made the reservations - I made sure to note it was my husbands birthday, so when coming back to check on us - the hostess was even sweeter and said they had a better window table that was about to leave that they would rather put us at and that it would be just 5 more minutes. They were very kind and lovely about the extra wait that it seemed like nothing at all.

When we did get seated - we were brought a lovely basket of mixed breads and a seasoned butter. It was pleasant and the presentation was very pretty, the photo doesn't do it justice.

If you are a drinker - their bar is very extensive and I highly doubt there is anything they could NOT make. For us - the Pomegranate Martini's were lovely.
For appetizers - we had to order the Crab cakes - it was on the birthday boys wish list. We also decided to order the fried cheese curds - we had had them before and were interested to see how they fared here. The appetizers were pricey, the same cost as a meal - so we were a bit skeptical. When they arrived - we keep looking for more when it came to the Crab cakes. Correction, it was ONE Crab cake. For $15?? I was shocked. HOWEVER - it was GIGANTIC and it was the best crab cake any of us had ever had. Huge chunks of fresh crab - wonderful blend of spicy and lightly friend perfectly, not too much oil. It was lovely. Perfect way to start off the meal.

The Cheese curds were also good - not as phenomenal as the crab cake, but a great companion. They came with a light mustard sauce and tartar which both were yummy with the lightly fried cheese bits. They were very rich and you really couldn't eat more than a few.

Our dinner took a bit longer to get to us than seemed normal. It was a Friday night, and they were packed - however it seemed a bit long. We had our appetizers to munch on, and good company so it was forgivable. The only downside was that somehow - some random Nebraska Cornhusker fans found the place and were quite a distraction in my opinion. The Nebraska/Husky game was to be the next day and the fans were all in their teams gear and half way tipsy. With Husky fans across the restaurant - they would throw playful but LOUD banters and BARKS across the establishment. At first it was cute, the third time, chuckleable, and at the end of their meal (the middle of ours) it was downright annoying. I felt like telling them to go find a Red Robin...but then they left, and all was well in the world (until they beat the huskies the next day and I'm sure they raised hell somewhere else as well).

Our dinners came and were WELL worth the wait for every one of us. I had the American Wagyu Kobe Beef Burger. I love burgers and was so intrigued with this special Kobe meat. The waitress explained how special this meat was, with its captivity, its feeding and its location and how its marbled specially. I had to pick up my chin from the floor and wipe the drool to order it. I ordered it medium rare and I must say - I rarely get a restaurant to actually produce that. But they did. The meat was juicy, amazing texture and cooked to perfection. It was topped with sauteed and caramelized mushrooms and onions. The only surprise was the pickle, which I am not fond of - but it was easily removed.

The birthday boy ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken sandwich with a tangy coleslaw dressing. He said it was amazing, the coleslaw dressing was sweet and it complimented the salty fried chicken perfectly. With above average fresh french fries served on the side - the meal was perfect to fulfill his birthday wish.

Our friends ordered the Southern Fried Draper Valley Farms half chicken with creamed Spinach, and the Kasu Marinated Oregon Black Cod, served with Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms,and a baby buck choy and carrot ginger salad.

I watched my friend with the Cod - she ate it with her eyes closed half the time, saying she was enjoying tasting the distinct flavors and that the fish melted in her mouth. It was one of those kinds of dishes that you savor. When the fish was gone, there was a lovely dark broth left and she stole my spoon to enjoy more of it - fearing that putting the bowl to her face wouldn't go over well in this type of restaurant ha!

Her husband had the fried chicken - and said it was amazing. We had gone to Highlife in Ballard for their Sunday friend chicken weeks before and he said this was 10 times better. Not as heavy or greasy. It was served over a rich dark gravy with creamed spinach on the side. The only issue he had was that he would have enjoyed some mashed potatoes with this meal - he said it needed it. So he ordered french fries - which he said helped to make it feel complete. Overall - he said the dish was top notch.

With our bellies full we tried to decide whether or not to have dessert. At one point, while enjoying the full silence one of our friends said "This food is MEDICINAL!!" It was true, we were relaxed and happy. Watching various choices being served to tables around us - we were convinced. Their selection is really vast, considering. There were so many things I wanted to TRY. With such imaginative and amazing choices - my only suggestion to them would be to do small bites or tapas type servings and have a plate where you can order a small taste of them all. But alas - that is the suggestion from a sweet tooth with a never ending appreciation for wonderful and new dessert inventions.

So my friend and I had the Red Haven peach and blueberry crumble, with Cinnamon Ice Cream and caramel sauce. His wife had the Earl Grey tea Creme Brulee and the birthday boy had the Theo Chocolate peacan pie w/cocoa nibs and bourbon chantilly cream. The crumble was scrumptious. Lovely homemade crust - almost like an individual pie. Not too much fruit as sometimes happen.

The creme brulee got mixed reviews. She just kept saying "it is interesting", but no other words - she didn't finish it, so I'm sure it wasn't amazing but rather, interesting.

Finally - the birthday boys dessert. Theo chocolate pecan pie. In Kentucky they make a pie similar to this but its called Derby Pie -and its made during the Kentucky Derby traditionally. He said the pie was wonderful, with big chunks of locally owned Theo Chocolates. He said it was the perfect finishing touch to an amazing dinner. They topped it with a candle - sparred him the goofy singing and clapping most places do - and at the end of the night didnt charge him for his dessert.

The end of the night had arrived and we all were in the first stages of our food comas. A few days before when searching for a good place to have Friend Chicken - a few people also mentioned the King Fish Cafe. We have been there twice and both times, while the food has been great, the service is below average - even teetering on apathy which in my opinion should never be the attitude of people trying to sell a restaurants food and experience.

The Steelhead Diner was leaps and bounds ahead of the rest on the topic of service. Every employee smiled, greeted, the waitress was pleasant, sweet, attentive but also stayed away the perfect amount of time as not to meddle. Many restaurants could learn from this one as far as customer service skills go.

The food - phenomenal - the service - lovely. Total rating ***** You must eat here!

No comments:

Post a Comment