Bourbon drinks, Southern food at The Sexton
Rustic charm, Southern food and bourbon drinks makes The Sexton in Ballard a place to add to your list of in-city dining spots.
Seattle Times staff reporter
5327 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; 206-829-8645
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday
Etc: Credit cards accepted; no obstacles to access; street parking; full bar
Boy is Ballard hopping. There's got to be at least a half-dozen new places that opened in the past few months, including this nighttime hot spot, The Sexton, which debuted in December.
Located in the space that housed Madame K's pizzeria, The Sexton is something entirely different. Instead of the pizzeria's bordello stylings, with dark red walls and sassy waitresses, there is Southern charm to spare. Rustic wood tables. Canning jars as light fixtures. Music with soul — and a cool bar plastered with old-school cassette tapes. Friendly bartenders and servers. And the topper? Bourbon drinks that will impress any aficionado.
The menu: Small plates to share. There's nothing light or delicate about these niblets, though. Mac 'n' cheese with bacon ($8). Shrimp grits ($8). Hush puppies with red pepper aioli ($6). Collards braised with smoked ham hocks ($5). Go crazy and order a bunch. None of the plates are huge, but you won't leave feeling hungry, that's for sure. It's fun stuff for a group nibble, so long as your group isn't a low-fat vegetarian club.
What to write home about: We can't believe we're saying this, but it's got to be the Brussels sprouts. The Sexton's version ($5) was everything a Brussels sprout could be and more. Just oil, sea salt and a pile of the much- maligned sprout's leaves, that's it. We also liked the fork-tender cider-braised ribs ($13), though we noticed a touch of gristle. The batter-dipped yam fries ($6) also were gobbled up. But if you don't have a cocktail in this place — especially a bourbon drink — you're really missing out.
The setting: The rustic charm, the attentive waitstaff, the moody lighting — they all scream "date night." There's a patio out back that will be a huge hit in the warmer months. The bluesy music caps it all off.
But here's the thing: There's a ventilation problem. You'll notice right away that there's just too much steamy heat, complete with fogged-up windows and the smell of deep-fried whatevers. When you leave, your clothes will carry the memory. It's something that needs to be addressed.
Summing up: Three of us shared six dishes for $50.37 and left feeling satisfied. The bourbon drinks, alas, were extra.
Maureen O'Hagan: 206-464-2562 or email@example.com