Globe-trotting cuisine at funky little Leary Traveler
The Leary Traveler pub in the nondescript stretch of road between Seattle’s Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods known as “Frellard” features fancy pub grub from around the world.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Leary Traveler
4354 Leary Way N.W., Seattle206-783-4805 www.learytraveler.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
Etc.: Full bar; credit cards accepted; wheelchair accessible; parking in restaurant’s lot and on the street.
The logo for The Leary Traveler pub is an explorer with a feather in his cap riding an elephant. He hoists a beer mug in one hand and teeters on the elephant’s back as if he had one pint too many and somehow wound up in Delhi on his way home from a corner pub in Dublin. The restaurant/bar itself has a delightfully disorienting approach to food and drink that is only accentuated by its location along a nondescript stretch of road between the Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods known as “Frellard.”
The cheeky formality of the bartender on the night I went added to the sense that maybe I’d landed somewhere not quite on the map.
“Is there a cocktail in your future?” he asks one patron. “Should we discuss your beverage needs or shall I just execute?” he says to someone who appears to be a regular. “Do you surrender?” he asks as I swallow the last bite of my whopping sandwich.
“Born to be Wild” and other rock anthems blast from the speaker system. The big-screen TVs are tuned to All-American baseball. Meanwhile, the woman next to me goes into a state of ecstasy over her tzatziki-smothered falafel dish.
Your cultural compass will go haywire, but there’s no reason to be leary. It’s all in good fun.
The menu: For a small, neighborhood joint, The Leary Traveler boasts a surprisingly sizable menu featuring fancy pub grub from around the world. Steak frites ($15), poutine ($9), corned-beef on rye ($13), cauliflower and spinach curry ($10), seasonal beggars purses made of stuffed phyllo pastry ($8) and the aforementioned falafel ($11) highlight the lunch/dinner menu. Brunch features corned-beef hash ($9), eggs Benedict ($9), Italian and Greek scrambles ($10) and Belgian waffles ($8).
What to write home about: Any sandwich that leads the server to ask, “Are you sure? It’s big,” is worthy of note, in my book. The tender, addictive Argentine roast-pork sandwich ($12) came as billed, with a healthy topping of chimichurri sauce, garlic aioli, onions and tomatoes. The server couldn’t believe I ate the whole thing, but I couldn’t help myself.
The setting: The small room, decorated with travel-themed tchotchkes and contemporary paintings, is divided between a friendly bar on one side and tables and chairs or stools on the other, with a shelf of board games for patrons who want to stay a while. There’s also a patio out back.
Summing up: Argentine roast pork sandwich and fries, along with an Ommegang Hennepin saison ale came to $20.87 plus tip.
Tyrone Beason: firstname.lastname@example.org