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Seattle trip report

moe hong | Oct 5, 200506:20 PM

Last weekend my wife and I were in Seattle for our anniversary. We stayed at the Monaco, on Seneca and 4th, and walked almost everywhere (with one exception). We had amazing meals thanks to Chowhound.

Friday night we had the deluxe omakase ($70) at Nishino, which was spectacular. 9 courses which we added to with a bit of nigiri afterwards and a large bamboo of their house sake ($25). Everything was perfect, and I'd compare it to Tojo in Vancouver, with the caveat that the portions were far smaller - at Tojo, they were excellent and large; here they were excellent and very, very tiny - some courses were smaller than my wife's (very small) pinky. The service here was also excellent, we had one server who was very, very attentive but not at all intrusive. The foie gras was especially good, as was the o-toro - bluefin belly - which was rich and buttery and just about perfect. Monkfish liver was also excellent, as was a small salad with a few slices of sashimi and a soup based on fish, mushrooms and ginkgo nuts, served in a tiny teapot.

Saturday we ate at Matt's in the Market - we showed up 45 minutes early, just to peek in and see if there was room, and were prompty sat at the counter, which is better than a table anyway. We had a nice conversation with our waiter and the chef, and were told that they are knocking out the wall opposite the counter, expanding the kitchen (putting in a real stove rather than 3 butane burners!) and a few more tables. I had a porkchop that weighed over a pound with the bone, maybe 1.5 lbs, and was just perfectly medium rare, just right for pork. The prawn appetizer was very good but the mussels were really excellent. Wife was very happy with her salmon, although the portion was small - it was fine as we had already filled up on appetizers, and she had to help me finish my porkchop anyway. Had 2 bottles of a very good, VERY dry English cider with the meal, I forget the name right now.

Sunday breakfast was at the Lockspot Cafe near the Ballard locks, which was good and very cheap. Good BLT with thick slabs of applewood bacon on dark rye toast, local beer, cute flirty server.

Sunday for a late lunch / early supper we had chowder at the Market Grill at Pike Place, excellent as always. The staff there are terrific - chatty and friendly and very accomodating. Bought a 1/2 lb of fried up chicken livers and gizzards from the Chinese vendor across from the donut stall and ate those while wandering through Belltown.

The weather was good and the trip very pleasant - thanks for all your help!

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