Friday, September 27, 2013

Lunch | lunchin' in downtown Seattle

Since I was in Seattle from Wednesday to Thursday, I was able to hop in a couple restaurants for a real weekday lunch (none of that hybrid stuff that happens on the weekends where waits and prices can be unfavorable), including Local 360 and Il Corvo.

After an activity-filled morning at the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden & Glass, and the Olympic Sculpture Park, {1} we stopped into Local 360 for a legit lunch. {4} In fact, Local 360 is a sustainable restaurant and food producer in the heart of downtown, emphasizing local sourcing, as 90% of its raw ingredients come from farms/purveyors/vendors/artisans within a 360-mile radius of Seattle. {2,3,6} The interior of Local 360 has a feel of an old school tavern, comprising of mostly maple-colored woods.

02E - Local 360
{5} Even our soft drinks were locally sourced -- the restaurant's very own soda, Local 360 Low-Cal cola, as well as Rachel's ginger beer (which is handcrafted right here in Seattle at Pike Place Market). The Low-Cal cola was very light (not too much sugar at all, but didn't taste artificial either) while the ginger beer with nice and biting (as it should be) in that refreshing way. {7} We also shared an order of mussels with bay leaf, white wine, and frites, where the mussels were juicy and plump in a lovely wine sauce. {6} As my main course, I tried the oyster po' boy with tarragon remoulade and apple slaw, while {7} my guest had the butcher's grind house burger with lettuce, homemade red pepper relish, aioli, cheese, and bacon. The oysters in the po' boy well-fried and really tender and flavorful. However, I was not a fan of the seasoning -- not sure if it was the tarragon or some other spice, but it was really overpowering, taking away from the overall enjoyment of the dish. I've never had an authentic po' boy from New Orleans, so I can't say what seasonings I should expect on this sandwich, but one thing was for sure -- I just wasn't crazy about this one, which made me really sad because I loved everything else about it. The burger was very redeeming in contrast, as my guest said it was one of the best burgers he's ever had. Cooked to the perfect, juicy temperature with the right consistency of melty cheese and two perfectly seared pieces of bacon on top, the burger had everything you'd look for in the ideal burger. Plus the blend of meat in the patty, light spread of aioli, as well as the tangy relish made it that much better.

{1} The next day, we hopped on over to Il Corvo in Pioneer Square (also near downtown Seattle) after a morning of exploring Pike Place Market. {7} Even getting there relatively early at 11:30 PM (it opens at 11), there was already a line almost at the door! Expect a 15-minute wait at least during peak lunch hours (though, please note that Il Corvo is only open for lunch on weekdays). The space inhabited by Il Corvo is pretty basic -- a bunch of communal tables with {3} a shelf of vintage pasta makers/extruders/etc. and large scale prints featuring pasta along the walls. {5} The menu is pretty bare-bones simple as well -- a selective list of antipasti and a short list of pasta specials, all of which are fresh handmade!

03F - Il Corvo We made sure to order {4} some homemade focaccia as well as the salami misti to nibble on while we waited for our pasta dishes to come out of the kitchen. Really fresh focaccia that was perfect for sweeping up pasta sauce later on. The salami was well-cured and gave a savory start to our lunch. {2} We both had the baked pasta misti with bolognese and béchamel -- essentially a traditional Italian lasagna (as indicated by the inclusion of béchamel) made using three varieties of pasta as the layers (other than lasagna pasta sheets). Quite possibly the best lasagna dish I've ever had because it was the perfect amount of sauce, meat, and creaminess/cheesiness without feeling overwhelmed or overdone, where the pasta wasn't drowning in sauce or cheese. Plus, the fact that all of the pastas were made by hand just made it THAT much more enjoyable. We also had a side of the al infierno sauce just to give it a taste. It had a sweet-and-spicy kick to it and would go great in a fra diavlo pasta dish.

Findings: Seattle definitely has some great lunch spots in its downtown area -- I thoroughly enjoyed the two spots we got to try. Local 360 had really awesome, locally-sourced American comfort food (still wishing for another bite of the butcher's grind house burger!) while Il Corvo has some pretty badass housemade pasta dishes. So if you find yourself in the Seattle area during the week, you'll be sure to find something delicious to satiate your lunchtime hunger at both these spots.

Price point: $10-15 for each sandwich at Local 360, $12 for each large plate, $3-6.75 for each beverage;

--August 22-23, 2013

Local 360
2234 1st Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98121

Il Corvo
217 James Street
Seattle WA, 98104

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