Having heard many good things about Bitterroot-including the current Seattle Mag-I planned my work day so as to be in Ballard at lunch time.
And hoping for something tasty. Unfortunately that was not the case.
Now this review is based on one visit, and one meal so I know this may not be the case at another time. Not many folks there at lunch time (a sign?) so I was seated immediately. All the customer service was very nice. Looking at the menu I immediately noticed 2 things-high prices and no brisket sandwich. I was a bit surprised but I will say that when I asked about it I was offered a pretzel roll as a side option with my brisket plate so as to make my own. Nice touch.
I did order the brisket plate but chose the cornbread and the slaw as the sides. The meal came pretty quick. Four slices of brisket, a cup of mainly purple slaw and a wedge of cornbread topped with a bit of butter.
The first thing that was very noticeable was the extreme thickness of the brisket slices. Wow. Anybody with experience eating brisket in other areas-Texas, etc-knows it should be sliced fairly thin. These slices were practically steaks. Also, at first I saw no discernible smoke ring. As I unstacked the slices I did see a bit of it on other slices.
3 sauces were available-on the side,as I like-to accompany the meat but I like to try the meats for their own flavor before adding any sauce. I took my first bite and tasted only one thing-SALT! Someone applying the rub had been very heavyhanded with the salt. Now I could have used this as a reason to ask for a different meal but chose to continue. I added some of the sauce labeled sweet on the table and immediately thought it tasted better, The sweet sauce was quite good-one of my favorite in town. I did not try the hot or Carolina mustard sauces. With the addition of a diet soda that I had not intended to order and I was able to continue my meal.
As I ate my pretty boring, wet slaw and tried the cornbread-which was ok but needed to be either fresher or baked for less time-I noticed that my brisket gradually changed color to gray and looking dry. So now my too thick brisket slices just got tougher and tougher. I believe the slices had been microwaved before plating. OUCH! More sauce and soda and I was able-very hungry-to finish it, I did bring the salt issue to the attention of the staff so hopefully this will be addressed.
Then the bill-brisket with 2 sides, a soda, tax and 10% tip-$24.00!! OUCH again. Overpriced by at least $10.00. $3,00 for a glass of diet pop!!?? Having looked over the location and trying the food, it seems to me this is a Ballard bar masquerading as a restaurant. Food needs work.
Hope others are luckier than I was on my visit.
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