Bustling hubs, great grub at 2 family-friendly pubs
When the temperature hit sweltering on a recent workday, Kyle the World's Nicest Carpet Cleaner had one thing on his mind: beer. With the clock nearing...
Seattle Times restaurant critic
Elliott Bay Brewhouse & Pub and Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub
255 S.W. 152nd St., Burien; 206-246-4211, www.elliottbaybrewing.com
4720 California Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-932-8695, www.elliottbaybrewing.com
Prices: Starters $2.95-$13.95, salads $6.95-$10.95, sandwiches/burgers/entrees $6.95-$10.95 (some specials higher), desserts $4.95-$6.25, children's menu (12 and younger) $3.55-$4.50.
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sundays. Happy hours: 3-6 p.m., 10 p.m.-close.
Drinks: Beer here! House-crafted beers and guest drafts, rotating taps offering seasonal brews, cask-conditioned specials, hard cider, Thomas Kemper root beer. Wine? Yeah, they have some.
Sound: It's a brewpub. With kids.
Who should go: Who shouldn't?
Credit cards: MC, V.
Accessibility: No access to mezzanine-level dining area.
Elliott Bay Steamers: $11.95
Brewer's Burger (beef, chicken, garden): $8.95
Philly Cheese Steak: $8.95
Fish & Chips: $9.95
Cobb Salad: $10.95
House Beer Sampler: $6.50
Catch Nancy Leson's commentaries on food and restaurants every Wednesday on KPLU (88.5 FM) at 5:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 4:44 p.m, and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Listen to "Nutritional information on the menu," her latest commentary.
When the temperature hit sweltering on a recent workday, Kyle the World's Nicest Carpet Cleaner had one thing on his mind: beer. With the clock nearing noon and a hard day's work stretching before him, he downed a swig of Gatorade, poked his head into my home office and asked, "Have you been to the new brewpub in Burien?"
I hadn't. But hot on the trail of a cold one, I took his advice and went.
The popularity of Elliott Bay Brewhouse & Pub — purveyor of more than a dozen handcrafted beers and plenty of Big Food to go with them — will come as no surprise to fans of its sister store, West Seattle's Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub.
Owners Todd Carden and Brent Norton are celebrating the 10th anniversary of that friendly little West Seattle beer joint this month by offering Anniversary Ale Ten, a blend of 10 different hop varieties. They're also selling Saison von Boorian, a light, bright, Belgian-style beer, perfect for celebrating summer — and the success of their gargantuan second venture, which debuted in Burien in March.
There Carden and Norton have transformed a former Dollar Store into a bustling family-friendly beer hall. With its brick-red walls, dark wainscoting, private party-worthy mezzanine and stash of highchairs in the corner, it's a blown-up version of its West Seattle sib.
House taps at both places spout citrusy Luna Weizen and chocolate-hued No Doubt Stout. And in the kitchen, those brews, among others, lend flavor to everything from the barbecue sauce (a notable addition to a messy-good, Caribbean-inspired, pulled-pork sandwich) to the tempura batter that adds crunch to the fabulous fish 'n' chips. Both menus tout pub-food classics (steamer clams, chicken wings) and then some (Dungeness crab cakes, buffalo burgers), served in substantial portions at less-than-substantial prices.
Each pub is a great place for girlfriends to gossip over Frambaweizen, a lipstick-pink blend of hefeweizen and Lindemans raspberry lambic that's the beery equivalent of a Cosmopolitan. At both you can watch the game. In Burien you can play one: Competition shuffleboard tables are part of the draw.
Do bring the kids. Their menu includes a pint-sized portion of the same golden-fried beer-battered Alaskan cod that Mom and Dad get. And if they order a burger, they'll enjoy the same ground Angus Beef as the grownups, served on buns custom-made with the brewery's own spent grain. (Train 'em early!)
And talk about getting in on the ground floor.
In the exposed basement in Burien, Elliott Bay's longtime beermeister Doug Hindman produces fresh product twice-weekly in a 10-barrel facility — twice as many barrels as they're brewing in the back of the house in West Seattle. And if you think the new joint's busy now, just wait until next year, when Burien Town Square, presently under construction across the street, is poised to turn downtown B-Town into the new "New Ballard."
Plunking myself down at the long expanse of gleaming bar in Burien, I eyed the list of Pairing Specials and asked my busy bartender for advice. "Mussels with frites or New York strip with watermelon?" Her answer, spoken with the same authority with which she riffed on the merits of cask-conditioning: "We're not a steakhouse." 'Nuf said.
Next thing you know, I was happily up to my elbows in petite Penn Cove mussels, an entree-sized appetizer whose flavor profile recalled a classic bouillabaisse, thanks to its aromatic ingredients: fennel, orange zest, tomato and saffron. Though this was meant to be paired with Saison Von Boorian, I was still working my way through a House Sampler ($6.50), the five 5-ounce tasting tumblers I'd ordered to complement a B-Town Brewhouse Platter.
That platter's centerpiece was a soft pretzel on steroids, baked at Tacoma's Hess Bakery. Sides include honey- and stout-laced brewer's mustard (if they bottled and sold it, I'd buy it), cheddar cheese, pickled cherry peppers and summer sausage from "Dan the Sausage Man" whose sausage emporium resides up the street.
Both Elliott Bay locations pride themselves on local product, and their menus differ a bit. While in West Seattle, I could have ordered a cheese plate proudly advertising "Jack's 13-year-old stash of sharp cheddar." Don't know Jack? He's Jack Miller, third-generation proprietor of the iconic Husky Deli. That's his ice cream on the brownie sundae — the one you won't have room for if you finish your (ho-hum) Cobb salad or (fantastic) Philly cheesesteak.
Tipping my hat to Jack, whose ice cream I love, this Philly girl has to say: Have the sandwich. The shaved flatiron steak from Vashon's Misty Isle Farms is better than the cheap minute-steak served in my old hometown; the American cheese as oozy as it should be; and the sturdy-yet-squishy bun is almost as good as the Philly classic from Amoroso's.
Kyle the Carpet Guy likes the Burien brewpub because he can go alone, drink a cold beer after a hard day and watch the ballgame. Or come with his wife and kid and eat good food at great prices alongside his neighbors. "Every time I go in there," he says, "I see someone I know." They've been saying the same thing in West Seattle for a decade. And now I know why.
Nancy Leson: 206-464-8838 or email@example.com.
More reviews at www.seattletimes.com/restaurants.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.