Seattle knows how to make a quiet impression, despite it too often being overshadowed by its hip neighbor city to the south. (That would be Portland.) These four new spots prove that this Pacific Northwestern hub knows from good dining and drinking:
Terra Plata: It's gratifying to watch a hometown chef open her own restaurant. That type of warm, fuzzy feeling, bound with intensely delicious hyperfresh food, is the centerpiece of Tamara Murphy's new restaurant. Look to the vegetables given the spotlight in dressed-up dishes like porcini carpaccio drizzled in a bagna cauda sauce. And make sure to come early: The restaurant is located at Melrose Market, Seattle's Ferry Building equivalent.
Dot's Delicatessen: The great deli revival has hit Seattle in the form of this small operation. Instead of quotidian cold cuts, the case is filled with myriad sausages, rillettes and several pâtés. But the real draw is the sandwich menu: Grab a smoked-pork sandwich, hooded with melting Gruyère, pickles and red onions.
Restaurant Marché: For those who long for the culinary days of yore, Marché is your place. At 52, its chef, Greg Atkinson, employs a veteran's touch with a menu that sums up that perilous genre, comfort food. Think moules with the frites of your dreams, duck breast painted with brandy sauce and the perfect roast chicken.
Essex Bar: We're smitten with husband-and-wife team Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg, thanks to their first two operations, Delancey (an inventive pizza joint) and The Pantry (an event-space-cum-cooking-school). Their latest deserves its hype: Pettit makes practically everything, from a house amaro to custom-aged spirits, in house.
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