Friday, October 20, 2017

Restaurant Radar: Bar Melusine, Girin, Salare

Hot new restaurants that should be on your radar this spring.

I’ve been eating my way around Seattle and these are my favorites right now. Bar Melusine in Capitol Hill, Girin in Pioneer Square, and Salare in Ravenna need to be at the top of your restaurant list. They opened within the last year and they are doing things right. Each offers a different cuisine, and all of them have tasty, flavorful food, wonderful service, and a beautiful space.

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Lamb ‘Pre-Sale’. Photo by Jim Henkens.

BAR MELUSINE

Bar Melusine is one of the three Renee Erickson establishments clustered on East Union in Capitol Hill. The others are Bateau, specializing in beef, and General Porpoise, a coffee and doughnut shop. Bar Melusine is a “love letter to the French Atlantic” with maritime flavors of Normandy and Brittany, showcasing local oysters and inspired bites and libations. The room is splashed with mint accents—from the bar stools to the menus—giving it a whimsical, playful atmosphere.

Start the meal with some fresh oysters or the Fried Fish Skin with ikura (salmon roe) and shaved radishes. It’s a crunchy, salty snack that isn’t overly fishy. Lamb ‘Pre-Sale’ is thinly sliced brined and smoked leg of lamb with sauce gribiche (a French mayonnaise-style egg sauce) served room temperature—on the cold side. Think proscuitto, but lamb instead of pork. It’s delicate and luxurious with a hint of smokiness. Frites with an addictive garlic aioli is one top fries in the city—and I eat a lot of fries. The Steak Tartare is good, but nothing spectacular.  I will definitely be back for the lamb and frites.

A 20% service charge is included in the bill, 100% of which is paid directly to the employees.

Open everyday from 5:00 to 10:00 pm and happy hour Sunday through Thursday 5:00 to 6:00 pm.

Bar Melusine
1060 E Union St. / Seattle
(206) 900 – 8808

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Photo by Girin.

GIRIN

This high-end steakhouse with Korean flavors located directly across from CenturyLink Field opened last spring. The decor is beautiful and fancy enough for a date, but casual enough for a carnivorous pre-or-post-game meal in your Sounders/Seahawks/Mariners gear. The restaurant is spacious—great for a big group—and the dishes are meant to share.

Some must-order appetizers include Mandu (Korean dumplings) that can be steamed or fried with pork, beef, and bean sprout and the Octopus Rice Cakes. We ordered the Hanger Steak and the Kalbi Short Ribs. The marinated kalbi is flavorful and seasoned well and the hanger steak is tender and juicy. Both were grilled to perfection. If you’re a pork belly fan (don’t be afraid of fat!) the Grilled Pork Belly and the Bossam (Braised Pork Belly) are rich and indulgent. You can order rice on the side, but the dishes already come with different greens to wrap and eat the meat with your hands.

This is an eating experience: Order dumplings, rice cakes, meats with (unlimited) banchan sides, try a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and repeat.

Open Monday through Friday 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Happy hour runs daily from 4:00 to 6:00 pm and 10:00 to 11:00 pm.

Girin
501 Stadium Place S. / Seattle
(206) 257-4259

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Braised Lamb. Photo by Jennifer Liu.

SALARE

Tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Ravenna, Salare opened in June of last year and features nose-to-tail local meats and creative vegetable dishes. That corner also includes Sushi Wataru and Bai Pai and the increased traffic makes street parking tough to find around the dinner hour, but it’s free! The decor is simple and contemporary with a 14-seat communal table in the main dining space, six spots at the bar, and smaller tables along the windows.

Crudo seem to be this year’s trending appetizer and has found its way onto every menu regardless of cuisine (including at Girin). I’ve been eating a lot of them and I can especially appreciate one that stands out. The Yellowtail Crudo with avocado, jalapeno, shiitakes and red onions is fresh, spicy, and savory and worth ordering. Pair it with some Pickled Vegetables or Marinated Olives to start.

Scallops were cooked perfectly and served with root vegetables, einkorn, and a stinging nettle verde. The verde of nettles is something I’ve never had and is one of the more palatable ways to eat nettles. The Octopus with millet, Romanesco, cumin & Meyer lemon is excellent. The octopus was cooked the way it should be—but rarely is—very tender with a little chew. The Lamb with Peregion beans, lentils, chickpeas, cauliflower and farro is also a solid choice. Aside from missing a pinch of salt, the fall-off-the-bone meat is a win and the accompaniments are fresh, light, and round out the dish nicely.

Open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday 5:00 pm to close, brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Salare
2404 NE 65th St. / Seattle
(206) 556-2192

 

Next up to visit: Vendemmia, Eden Hill, and Naka.

 

About Jennifer Liu

Despite the rain, Jennifer loves Seattle and is a rare native. From the gorgeous summer weather to the drizzle the other 9 months, this may be her forever home. She graduated from the University of Washington and has a master's degree in counseling psychology. She loves to travel, volunteer, and host themed dinner parties. You can find her eating, hiking, hanging out with her awesome dog, or napping. Ice cream, burgers, and sushi are some of her favorite things.
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