A lunch at Matt’s in the Market was a delectable fresh halibut sandwich with a salad which was a special of the day- our table got the last two sandwiches they had to offer during our lunch at noon. The fish was delicate and tender, fortunately the crusty but doughy bun held it together. The sandwich was accompanied by what was dubbed a simple green salad but with its touch of toasted pumpkin seeds, crumbled bleu cheese, and roasted garlic dressing was a blockbuster of bold flavors to contrast the gentleness of the fish sandwich. The space was very clean with mostly sunshine and woods and open air (including the open kitchen) to highlight the simplicity but hustle and bustle of this Pike Place Market space.
Dinner at Poppy was something I had looked forward to- so often that I had visited the website to torture myself with what I would order several times before the final arrival at the restaurant in the trendy Capital Hill neighborhood. The restaurant presents its entrees in the style of Indian thalis, which are meals served on a tray in which multiple small portions are plated in individual bowls and plates or compartments, almost like a mix between bento boxes and tapas but which are intended to be eaten in any order and whatever mix you wish. There usually is at least one portion which includes a dhal (soup or thin stew), basic vegetable side, a creamy curd or yogurty side (which balances any heat from the typically curry main), a small pickled relishy acid offering, naan or crispy pappadum for carbs (Indian bread), and a rich main.
At Poppy you can select from 7 item or 10 item thalis. Since I was insisting we have the eggplant fries with sea salt and honey which were so raved about on their Yelp reviews and we wanted the dessert thali (a variation of the same idea with multiple small sweets collected in a tray) we edited ourselves to the 7 item entrees. The eggplant fries were a good balance of the crispness from the battered outside but melt in your mouth on the inside, with just a touch of salt and honey to balance the frying treatment. I also started with my first cocktail (I had three… so maybe I ordered as many drinks as the cost of my entree), what was called the “Tomato Trap: ripe tomato, aquavit, lemon, lovage”. The cocktail was a disappointment- I was expecting a stronger tomato profile, and it was nothing compared to the amazing sangritas I had at Teardrop Lounge.
Sorry for the dark lighting- there is only so much you can do without a flash. For the next course my beverage was the “Papi Delicious: tequila, curacao, red bell pepper, jalapenos, lime, mint” which again, disappointed me with its weak pepper and jalapeno body- the Calapooia Chili beer, an amber ale with fresh Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno peppers had taken better advantage of the cool and heat combination then this drink did and that was a beer, so sadness.
I did love my entree- maybe not all the offerings within it, but overall I would definitely love to give Poppy another try. I went with the fish 7-item thali, which included neah bay salmon with a lemon hollandaise sauce on lentils, pumpkin vanilla soup, carrot leek and salad, roasted squash, corn and basil spoonbread, plum-shiso pickle and nigella poppy naan.
The standouts here were the creamy spoonbread- definitely an inspiration for a future autumn or Thanksgiving dish, and the salmon with the lentils was a good play of the lightness of the fish and light handed hollandaise with the texture of the lentils. The pumpkin vanilla soup was wonderful to start with, but the vanilla became stronger and stronger as consumed so I tried to balance it with the naan and pickles and no longer enjoy it by spoonfuls. The naan was ok but nothing special- plenty of naan I’ve had is superior- and the same with the one note roasted squash. The salad was the worst- it had a taste like it had been sitting in Tupperware so long it had taken in the taste of the plastic container.
Dessert started out with a cocktail that was the best of the three that evening: “Lemon Verbena Drop: lemon vodka, lemon verbena, limoncello, lemon juice”. This was fresh and tart without being overwhelming sweet or sour like most lemon drops are: the use of lemon verbena and limoncello instead of just lemon juice and sugar gives it a good zing, with the lemon verbena tempering the lemon acid while also upping how refreshing it is both on the palate and aroma.
The Dessert Thali: we were offered a choice of one dessert choice, one ice cream choice, plus the other thali assortments would include lavender shortbread, nutter-butter squares, passion fruit pâtes de fruit, and salted caramel truffle. For the dessert choice we went with coffee-avocado ice cream sandwich with mocha rum dipping sauce, and for the ice cream we went with the Guiness buttercrunch.
The best of the tray were the nutter butter squares in its intensity, followed by the ice cream sandwich. The Guiness buttercrunch didn’t have the Guiness taste to it really, only the buttercrunch gave it some interesting texture and malty flavor. The chocolate ginger cookie was actually quite good and chewy- I wish I had thought to tear it up and mix it with the ice cream but in that kind of martini presentation there isn’t really room for that but that would have really elevated the dish in flavor. The salted caramel truffle was mostly mocha with not enough salt or caramel to balance the heaviness of the chocolate. The lavendar shortbread had too much lavendar and was remiscent of soap, sorry.
The hangover breakfast the next day was at Serious Biscuit, just a block or so away as the Halloween party that caused our hangover. Tom Douglas really does have an empire of food establishments in Seattle, but I can’t say I don’t like this eithers, even though I really hate his website with its difficulty in finding menus and confusing navigation and more space given to the icon/typography of the restaurant then evoking the feel of the restaurant or its food. Still. We both couldn’t resist fried chicken with our Serious Buttermilk Biscuit and tabasco black pepper gravy (both soothing me with its creaminess and making my tongue tingle with every bite). I added a smothering of Beecher’s cheddar to mine, while my peer went with “the Zach” which embellished hers with egg and bacon. That boneless hunk o chicken was juicy and extremely crispy, holding up to the generous drenching of spicy gravy.
Thank you to my coworker for a serious adventure to and at and from Seattle. Although our work relationship started out a little bristly, now we know it’s because we are both so awesome . I can’t believe even though I had my camera and captured our eatings and drinkings that I didn’t take a photo of us in our pizza and beer costumes- thanks for being more clever with your camera. I’m so proud that we didn’t leave the party until 2am…