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Restaurants & Bars 10

Original Pancake House in Kirkland, Washington

Tom Armitage | Oct 22, 200204:13 PM

The Original Pancake House in Kirkland is a frequently recommended Seattle-area breakfast spot on Chowhound’s Pacific Northwest board. After my initial visit, I can’t figure out why. I was aware of its popularity and the typical wait for a table. So I figured the half-hour wait was a reasonable investment. Once seated, my wife and I had to wait a long time before a waitress appeared, and an equally long time before our food arrived. I had the Dutch Baby, which is frequently mentioned as the restaurant’s signature dish. And it was very good. Essentially an egg-rich popover (also called a “German pancake”), the Dutch Baby was plate-sized with a nice, custardy base and light, puffy sides. The potato pancakes that my wife ordered, on the other hand, were an absolute disaster. There was an off-taste of stale grease, but otherwise the thin, light-textured pancakes were totally tasteless. My wife and I each took a couple of bites, grimaced, and left the rest of the ample serving untouched. My wife also ordered a side of smoked ham that was totally unexceptional. I looked around the room, but didn’t see anything on the plates of other customers that made me think that we had ordered badly and that there were other wonderments that would be worth a return visit. It all looked like very standard fare to me. The potatoes are the soft, as opposed to crispy, variety. The omelets all looked like the hard, overcooked encasements served at most breakfast spots. Then there’s the matter of the prices. My wife’s soft drink was $2.00. Very average coffee was $1.75. The modestly portioned single slice of ham was, I believe, $4.25. The potato pancakes were around $8.00 or so. Our total bill for two (orange juice, coffee, soft drink, Dutch Baby, potato pancakes, ham) was over $30. My take is that the Original Pancake House is a one-trick pony. If you don’t mind a wait for a table, slow service, and high prices, the Dutch Baby is pretty yummy. But I don’t see evidence of any other redeeming virtues.

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