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Originally published July 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 23, 2007 at 5:43 PM

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Calamity Jane's a felicitous spot for comfort food

No matter how much fun it would be to write that a dish at Calamity Jane's was, well, a calamity, it just isn't so. And that's good news...

Special to The Seattle Times

Calamity Jane's

5701 Airport Way S., Seattle; 206-763-3040

Cuisine: American

Prices: $$

Hours: 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Mondays- Saturdays; bar open until midnight Mondays-Wednesdays and until 2 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; closed Sundays.

Drinks: Full bar.

Credit cards: All major cards accepted.

Access: One step up to entrance.

No matter how much fun it would be to write that a dish at Calamity Jane's was, well, a calamity, it just isn't so. And that's good news for restaurant lovers in historic Georgetown.

Calamity Jane's, which opened almost three months ago on Airport Way, is a friendly, casual hangout that features fine American classics (burgers, ribs, mac and cheese) and cool cocktails such as "The Bitter Undertaker," "Rattlesnake Venom" and "Bordello Elixir."

With names like these, you might expect a saloonlike atmosphere — and the bar is a lovely old-wood construction — but the room is warm and bright, with peach-colored walls and tree-branch-framed art featuring African hunting scenes.

Our waitress was affable, efficient and tattooed to her knuckles. When we jokingly asked if she was Calamity Jane, she replied, "No, but sometimes I am calamitous." She fit right in with the rest of the crowd — gray-haired, pink-streaked, all enjoying themselves.

Burgers are featured, along with shepherd's pie and a couple of vegetarian options, including a grilled portobello sandwich and a cottage pie with lentils, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, mashed cauliflower-potatoes and cheese.

The wine list is short but sweet, with bottles modestly priced. A Tunnel Elms cabernet went well with the Tuesday-night special — nicely spiced baby-back ribs with Pig Iron Bar-B-Q sauce.

Each night features a special: all-you-can-eat spaghetti on Mondays ($7.54); ribs on Tuesdays ($14.75); meatloaf on Wednesdays ($9.60); Cincinnati chili on Thursdays ($10.97); campanelle with clam sauce on Fridays ($12.34); and New York steak with mushrooms, greens and mashed potatoes on Saturdays ($15.77).

Our entrees were, on the whole, well executed, despite a few missteps such as overly crispy ribs. And we found the place endearing. Chances are you'll leave satisfied, if you haven't been done in by that alluring but insidious "Bordello Elixir."

Check please

Baby Back Ribs: The ribs were a bit dry — and maybe a touch too crispy for some tastes, but I liked them that way. I also liked that the meat wasn't fatty, yet still gave me that "I'm eating something decadent" thrill. The barbecue sauce, which had a smoky-sweet complexity, was wonderfully spiced with just enough heat. The meat-to-sauce ratio was perfect. Corn on the cob and red beans were great accompaniments.

Mac and Cheese: It came in a baking dish, with (purists may cringe) chopped red bell pepper inserting its particular flavor into the mix. It wasn't overpowering, so I didn't mind, and I liked a bit of veg in the hot cheesy noodles. Good salad was served on the side: crisp romaine and tomato with a mild Gorgonzola blue-cheese dressing.

Johnny Cakes: This golden stack, which had a slightly sweet cornmeal flavor and texture, came with deliciously tart pomegranate molasses. Can't wait for breakfast service, which may start soon.

Itemized bill, meal for two

Baby Back Ribs: $14.75

Mac and Cheese: $8.68

Johnny Cakes (small stack): $2.97

2 glasses of wine: $10.00

Tax: $3.38

Total: $39.78

Leigh Haddix: haddixleigh@yahoo.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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