It’s all about spice and the small things at Ballard’s Middle Eastern eatery.
Golden Beetle’s reputation undoubtedly precedes itself due to the Ballard restaurant’s James Beard award winning chef, the organically enthused Maria Hines. One might think an ego would turn things toward gaudy, but her vision for the maroon hued, perky eatery is that of simplicity and spice both in food and drink. The concept for GB came after a research trip to…(not France – “non!”)…(not Italy – “momma mia!”) but the Middle East, where the street food stole her heart with sharp starches and prickly spices. What she has since created is an homage to those vendors in eats and drink while keeping things very Seattle.
Must Have Eats: One of the fast dishes of choice for those living in countries along the Red Sea is a bowl of frech lentils tossed with an assortment of spice options for a quick carbs hit. GB takes the lentils, adds a spicy tomato sauce, ditaloni pasta, and crispy shallots to make what I consider to be a perfect stick to your ribs meal one wants before intense activities like biking or a Breaking Bad marathon, all for $4. The rest of the happy hour food is $4 as well, making the chili hummus with house made flatbread, spinach salad with apple and feta, and sumac spiced French fries cooked in beef fat (boom) easily worth the charge. More, cardamom spiced donuts accompanied by honey make for a nice finish.
Must Have Drinks: The standards are the right price (Rainer draft – $2, house wine – $4, wells – $4) but the beauty of GB’s happy hour offerings lies with the daily cocktail special at $7, where you can truly swallow history. How? Because the assuredly boozy drinks originate from the Waldorf-Astoria’s historical cocktail list, which is conveniently located in book form at the end of the bar. My kick in the pants was entitled the Queen Elizabeth where dark rum found itself swimming with a touch of grenadine and swatch of lime. I found my reaction of, “Oof…(five seconds later)…wow!” to the drink’s mix of well balanced spice and flavor nicely sums up the Golden Beetle experience.
Happy Times: Daily from 5-6
Golden Beetle| 1744 NW Market St, Seattle | (206) 706-2977