Returned from visit to Seattle from DC this week and figured it's fair to report back on our experiences, many of which were culled from this board.
Matt's: Simply lovely. Showed up at 8:30 on a Saturday night and were warmly accomodated at the counter. I had his anchovy salad (where do those white anchovies come from -- amazing) and a special: sauteed salmon served over a bed of beet-infused lentils (and tiny beets), with a dollop of lemon creme-fraiche. Simply astounding. I am now going to attempt to make this dish myself at home this weekend, and I am sure I will fail to approach the glory. My wife had Mussels in Delicious Sauce appetizer, which were tender and luscious. Staff of 3, including Matt, were all delightful and made great conversation. Matt stopped us on the street the next day because he remembered us. I feel like a true Seattle local now. The bread pudding dessert (crusted with chocolate) was simply amazing, and I'm not a big dessert fan.
Palace Kitchen: This place was right near our hotel and came highly recommended. I found it to be decent -- we had a cheese plate which was exceptional. My wife had the Washington Chicken, which was competent, and I had some lamb cutlets. The lamb was good but it was inexplicably served with weird salty onion rings, placed randomly. The light was dim so maybe I couldn't grasp the architectural intent. I found that dish to be tasty and filling, but nothing too exceptional. We had a coconut cream pie for dessert, which was sort of slimy, but the coconut seemed fresh. Overall, the service was confused (we ate our cheese plate without benefit of silverware), and my martini glass was only about 2/3 full, which is annoying.
Dahlia Lounge: Again highly recommended as another in Tom Douglas' family of restaurants (whose ads I love!), we had a competent enough meal. I had a salmon salad, which was supposed to be served over wilted greens (spinach?). The greens were involved with the same mysterious salty onion rings I encountered at the Palace Kitchen, which I found somewhat disturbing. My wife had a black cod entree of some kind. I don't know what black cod is, but she raved about the dish, and it occurs to me I didn't get to taste any of it. Hmm. Again, overall seems like a decent place with lots of potential, but an equal amount of potential for menu-missteps, which I always find annoying.
We also tried the Pike Brewpub which was OK but unexceptional. I had mussels, my wife sausage. They were out of any cask conditioned ales, so we settled for a pitcher of scotch ale, which was OK but not smoky as promised.
Overall the experience in Seattle was fantastic, and I look forward to finding other haunts there. The local ingredients available there are fantastic. We have blue crabs here, you have salmon. Both useful, but hardly interchangeable.
Let me know if anyone needs any recommendations for Baltimore.