Recently I spent a quick weekend in Seattle hanging out, visiting my boyfriend who's been working there for about nine months.
He's been staying at the Grand Hyatt in downtown (quite a nice hotel, I must say) and so we walked to Oceanaire for dinner after I arrived.
I was a bit surprised at Oceanaire -- from the comments on Chowhound I had thought it would be more upscale and not have such a traditional menu. We started out with a dozen oysters, then I ordered the fish stew and my bf had the sea bass cheeks. The oysters were nice and briny, served with a cocktail sauce and a sherry mignonette. The fish stew had a nice kick but otherwise had a very flat taste -- I made my bf switch dishes with me after a few bites. The sea bass cheeks were much better, lightly coated with flour and sauteed with garlic, olives, and shallots.
My Bloody Caesar drink was rather watery and had an over-reliance on Old Bay seasoning (Old Bay seems to be the favorite seasoning of the restaurant). My favorite part of the whole dinner was the amuse-geule of marinated herring; I loved the mix of the soft vinegary fish with the crunch and smoothness of the raw vegetables. Overall I thought the meal was fine but not worth the $120 bill.
MATT'S IN THE MARKET
Some friends were in town so we met them at Matt's, which I had introduced to my bf during my last visit in August. The hot albacore sandwich which I loved so much last time was not as good this time -- there was not enough enough sauce, making the sandwich a bit dry and unbalanced. However the hot turkey-cranberry sandwich was excellent, as was the chicken-paprika soup. We still like this place.
During my last visit we had a disappointing tasting menu dinner at Union, and at that time I had said maybe we should have gone to The Herbfarm instead. Well this time my bf surprised me with a dinner at The Herbfarm, the detailed account of which is written up (with pictures) here on my blog:
In short, the ambiance and charm are really wonderful, and they make it easy to overlook the problems with the food, which is fine but not really worth the money. For the same amount, I can think of several restaurants in the SF area with much better food, though the Herbfarm trumps them all with its romantic and lovely atmosphere. (I haven't been to French Laundry but it's a lot more expensive so I don't count that.) We both felt that the Herbfarm is a wonderful special-occasion restaurant, but not really a foodie destination.
The next day we stopped at my boyfriend's favorite sandwich place, the Baguette Box. I wrote up on it earlier on Chowhound:
[BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
We were to dine at the 25 for $25 special at Zoe that night, but due to schedule changes we couldn't make it. Oh well, I look forward to many more lovely trips to Seattle in the future and sampling more places!