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Originally published Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Phinney Market Pub & Eatery offers well-priced menu items in a friendly atmosphere

The family-friendly Phinney Market Pub & Eatery offers moderate-priced comfort cuisine.

Seattle Times arts critic

Phinney Market Pub & Eatery

Pub

5918 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle

206-219-9105

www.phinneymarketpub.com

Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. (Note: coffee and pastry only until 11 a.m., when lunch service starts.)

Etc: All major credit cards; street parking; no obstacles to access; beer and wine.

Prices: $-$$$

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Scouting for a truly family-friendly neighborhood pub with fine grub at a moderate price?

Phinney Ridge has just the place, in the new Phinney Market Pub & Eatery. In a snazzy but unfussy one-room storefront that previously housed some upscale food markets, this welcoming cafe is brightly lit, with a plank-style communal table and a few smaller tables, and a gleaming copper-tin ceiling.

The opening dinner and lunch menus are compact, stressing conscious comfort cuisine designed by chef Mercia Sheets (formerly of Madeleine's Café & Patisserie in Spokane) that's tasty and well-executed.

On a recent evening, the place was hopping with a clientele that included many parents with small children. A caveat: If you crave peace and quiet, you probably won't find it here. The tots can be loud, but the hard floor and other surfaces are also culprits.

Still, if you don't mind the lively acoustics, this is an enjoyable spot.

The menu: Mostly American classics, with fresh, often local-grown ingredients prepared with flair.

There are a few starters (e.g., a tomato bisque soup, a prawn salad); some excellent sandwiches (a Reuben, a nutty curried egg-salad on wheat); several entrees (zesty flatiron steak; underspiced but still delish seared scallops with crisp green beans and smashed potatoes); and a few brought-in desserts. The bar menu has several other items, and there's a discounted kids menu.

What to write home about: The hamburgers are superb: moderate-sized, beautifully seasoned patties topped with bleu or cheddar cheese, fresh greens and a savory honey-mayo sauce. The crispy, pencil-thin fries are a hit with all ages. A melt-in-your-mouth savory veggie tart, a delicate sort of pizza with zucchini, grape tomatoes, marinara, mozzarella and fresh basil on hot, flaky pastry, with a side of mixed greens in a tangy vinaigrette, is also a winner.

The setting: A big, inviting, rather loud room with a small bar. The friendly servers aim to please.

Summing up: A savory veggie tart ($8); a cheeseburger with fries ($12); a curried egg-salad sandwich with tomato soup ($9); and a scallop entree ($20) came to $49 before tax and tip, and served three people.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com

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