hillary | Sep 8, 200409:35 PM     1

a friend and i had the opportunity to dine at ten mercer a few months ago while on a trip to seattle.

we'd eaten at the flying fish the night before and, after having read raves on this board, been rather disappointed all around. we had the crab cake appetizer to start and it was fine but not outstanding - perhaps we should have gone with the mussels. i had soy-doused snapper for my entree - boy was the fish salty! my companion had a delicious thai-style seafood stew - no complaints there until the shellfish were tallied up - 2 shrimp, 4 scallops, 1 mussel. ah ha, we said, now we see why it was so (relatively) cheap.

we left flying fish before dessert opting instead to head over to dahlia lounge - a great choice! we got to experience the lovely restaurant interior without having to pay for dinner. we had two wonderful desserts - the carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream and the devil's food cake with mint ice cream. the carrot cake combo was absolutely terrific - my non-carrot-cake-loving companion was quite glad i had made the final selection.

so, it was with much trepidation that we approached the second night's dinner selection process. after dismissing every restaurant on the lists we had made before arrival - what else to do when your number one choice is so ... salty? - we happened upon ten mercer on the internet. and it was WONDERFUL. not making the same mistake two nights in a row, we ordered their mussel appetizer. it was enormous. and delicious. we loved it so much we asked for the recipe (which they very kindly delivered - i have yet to make it on my own but am excited to try to replicate the flavor). we also had a well-prepared salad to start - greens with pears, grapefruit and candied nuts. the restaurant was quiet (we sat on the second floor with only one other party) and the service was good (not superb). we then moved onto the main courses - oh my! i had a wild salmon stuffed with something very rich, the precise nature of which escapes me at the moment. the fish was very tasty and well-proportioned. my friend's meal, however, was the piece de resistance - asian crispy whole fish served (as though swimming) upon a trio of cabbages (bok choy and two others) and accompanied by crisp sweet potato chips and two dipping sauces - one sweet and one which we cannot remember. while too stuffed for a real dessert we could not abandon ship prematurely and the server kindly obliged, bringing us (on our request) a half order of pound cake with fresh strawberries and cream and charging us a mere $2.50 for it.

the meal and indeed the experience were great and put us in a much better food mindset for the rest of the vacation. the neighborhood is perhaps not the best after dark but, no offense intended, what part of seattle really is?

apologies for the at times fuzzy memories but i wanted to give ten mercer its due.

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