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Dining Out 2002Cover Story
My Top Ten

Inserra's baseball memorabilia surround a dish of gumbo, made not-so-traditional with fresh Northwest seafood gathered from Alaska to Oregon. It's served with a saffron basmati rice pilaf.

Sample menu (2MB PDF)
Note: menus may change frequently

My Top Ten
· Saito's Japanese Café & Bar
· Pecos Pit BBQ
· T & T Seafood Restaurant
· The Oceanaire Seafood Room
· Malay Satay Hut
· Le Pichet
· Swingside Café
· Blue Onion Bistro
· Lampreia
· Café Juanita
More favorites
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spacer Swingside Café
4212 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle; 206-633-4057

Maybe I come here because the Swingside's paneled dining room bears a striking resemblance to the rec room of the house I grew up in, or because, like owner/chef Brad Inserra, I have a passion for jazz and a longing to understand the blues. Maybe it's because you never know which local talent (John Miller! Orville Johnson!) might show up with a guitar in hand, hungry for a plate of aglio olio or whatever offbeat revelation the chef's composing in that close-quartered closet he calls his kitchen.

Maybe I frequent the Swingside because Brad is a guy who doesn't know from artifice and, knowing how much I love his gumbo, is not above calling me when he's hooked up with some fresh-off-the-boat Dungeness crab to add to his rustic, Louisiana-style seafood stew. Maybe it's because his is one of the few restaurants I don't have to beg my spouse to join me at, particularly when the aforementioned gumbo is involved. Or maybe I'm a fan because whatever is cooking here at "Seattle's Best Little Italian Restaurant," it's cooked with heart, and when you're cooking with heart, few other ingredients are necessary.

Chef/owner Brad Inserra, a lover of baseball, jazz and his dog Henry, keeps the beat cool and the food unassumingly swell at the Swingside Cafe.

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