Happy Hour: Hotel lounges are swanky settings for food and drink
Seattle's Fairmont Olympic and Four Seasons hotels are genteel happy-hour field trips for artisanal-cheese buffets, crab and truffles, and other gourmet fare.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Happy Hour |
There are things I will always associate with The Fairmont Olympic and Four Seasons hotels: Impeccable door service is one. The uttering of "Pardon my reach" is another.
And recently, walking through their marbled lobbies — "No, thanks, I'll park my own car" — I found another common thread: all-you-can-eat deals in their lounges.
Times must be tough in the high-end hospitality business, because these bar deals cost less than your neighborhood pub happy hours if you've got an appetite.
Last fall, the Four Seasons rolled out a gourmet cheese buffet for $12, and later a Northwest-themed tapas buffet for $14. You can get both for $20.
Last month, the Fairmont returned the salvo with an all-you-can-eat appetizer deal for $12 and a $12 "endless cheese" deal during happy hour.
Which hotel bar offers better food depends on — I hate this expression, but it works here — what you're in the mood for.
The Four Seasons' ART Lounge buffet is trendy, seasonal and regional. Six dishes. Lighter fare. Changes every week. Last week, four salads, including a watercress-and-smoked-salmon dish and a plate of crispy pea vines, heirloom tomatoes, artichokes with bacon vinaigrette. Light, refreshing, a sign of spring. Too salty was the arugula salad with grapes, goat cheese and chicken. But addictive were the fried leeks that came with the olive-tomato crostini. A surprise was the zesty and salty burst from the anchovies topped with manchego cheese, marinated red peppers and lemon.
Its cheese spread is the best of the four deals. About two dozen cheeses, flanked with crackers, dried fruits and nuts. Perfectly complements $5 happy-hour wine. Featured are local favorites such as a Camembert from Mt. Townsend Creamery and Beechers' aged Cheddar.
The all-you-can eat appetizer deals at The Terrace inside The Fairmont are richer than The Four Seasons, more hedonistic. Lots of seafood, but not done with a light touch. A buttery Dungeness crab sandwich with truffle fries, a bowl of deep-fried popcorn shrimp with basil aioli and mac and cheese with crab to name a few. Even the tuna tartar ratchets up the fat with avocado.
A pair of smoked rib-eye truffle-melt sliders with house-made potato chips are available, but get the more flavorful beef carpaccio. Best bar food: applewood-smoked salmon sticks, salty and smoky goodness. Ignore the Meyer lemon crème fraîche sauce that came with it. Food service was slow; though I suspect that's intentional to encourage you to order more drinks and to pace yourself.
The Fairmont's cheese deal features a wedge each of sheep, cow and goat cheese served at your table with two stacks of crackers and shot-glass-size serving of dried apricots, dried cranberries, honey and walnuts.
The Terrace at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., offers happy hour 3:30-6 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, with all-you-can-eat appetizers and all-you-can eat cheese, $12 each (206-621-1700 or www.fairmont.com/seattle/GuestServices/Restaurants).
The ART Lounge, inside the Four Seasons Hotel, 99 Union St., offers all-you-can-eat tapas and cheese buffet daily. Buffet, $14; cheese buffet, $12. Buffet is offered daily from 4:30-10 p.m. Lounge happy hour is 5-7 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, when bar food, beer, selected wine and cocktails cost $5 (206-749-7070 or www.artrestaurantseattle.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or email@example.com
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.