The Mexican Moose is loose in Ballard
Seattleites frustrated in their search for local, authentic Mexican food that's not served from the side of a truck can find solace in the...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Señor Moose CaféMexican
5242 N.W. Leary Ave., Seattle
Hours: Breakfast/lunch 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; dinner 5-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Etc: MasterCard and Visa accepted; no obstacles to access; on-street parking.
Seattleites frustrated in their search for local, authentic Mexican food that's not served from the side of a truck can find solace in the land of lutefisk.
Ballard is host to a small restaurant that exudes Mexico, from its smoky moles to its painted clay dishes.
People might be forgiven for skipping a restaurant with the improbable name of Señor Moose Café, housed in the first floor of a weathered, 108-year-old wooden building on Northwest Leary Avenue. But they would be missing out on some excellent, moderately priced food.
The menu: There's a rich selection of dishes from central Mexico — with plenty for seafood lovers; people craving pork, chicken or beef; and enough selection to keep the vegetarian in your party happy. Don't expect your waiter to ask, "How hot do you want that?" My vegetable medley (mole colordito de Tututepec vegetariana) was coated in a pleasingly tongue-scorching dark mole made from 25 ingredients. The rockfish was milder, with salty olives and capers.
What to write home about: Start with freshly fried chips and chunky guacamole for an appetizer. The watercress salad (ensalada de berros) is a wonderful, sweet/salty palate cleanser with slices of radish and a citrus dressing. Finally, don't miss the moles. Not too sweet, not too mild. Just right.
The setting: A humble exterior, inside it's packed with Mexican folk art, votive candles and aging furniture. Belly up to a diner-style counter, or wait for one of eight tables. No reservations for fewer than six people. It was humming on a Tuesday night, with a 15-minute wait. If it's hot outside, come dressed in shorts and prepared to sweat. No central air-conditioning here.
Summing up: Two entrees, guacamole and chips and a shared salad rang in at $46.30 with tip and tax. We were too stuffed to try the tantalizing desserts. Next time, I'll save room for the chocolate three-milk cake.
Warren Cornwall: 206-464-2311
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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