Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Are You A Foodie? Spring Hill Restaurant - West Seattle



Restaurant Name: Spring Hill
Location: Seattle, Washington

In my view what makes someone a foodie is not just the love of food, but rather someone who is not afraid to be challenged by new food experiences – whether in ingredients, techniques, preparation, or presentation. If you are a foodie you will love Spring Hill Restaurant.

My wife, Cindy and I (2 of the dedicated team at http://www.betweencourses.blogspot.com/) have made 2 visits to Spring Hill in the last few weeks. I have also reviewed many personal and professional reviews and blogs, and it clear it just keeps getting better.

I am a skilled and ambitious home chef, so my reasons for enjoying a foodie restaurant experience besides the obvious are that:
1. It gives me a chance to see and sample new techniques, preparations, and ingredient combinations that I can use to build on my own arsenal for future entertaining.
2. I can enjoy tried and true things that my lovely wife does not enjoy so I don’t usually cook at home even when entertaining- these include yummy things like very rare (see “almost raw”) meat, seafood, and egg preparations and ingredients like sweetbreads.
Spring Hill excels in both of these areas!

Mark Fuller (former head chef and Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Lounge) and his wife Marjorie have recently opened a foodie heaven in West Seattle. Virtually everything from pasta, freshly hand ground beef, catsup, bacon, etc is made in house by a very talented staff. The seafood is exquisitely fresh and premium and the emphasis in every part of the menu is on fresh, local Northwest artisanal products.

While I am sure they will overcook things for you if you insist – the real experience and taste treat here is runny egg yokes, very, very rare, or raw meat and seafood. Order anything that says it has an egg in it, bacon on it, or mentions seafood.

The famous ½ lb “baseball shaped” burger may be the best I have ever had and the basic reason why is that ordered “pink all the way through” it was an amazing caramelized exterior (on a very hot, open, apple wood fired Aztec Grill) and essentially a tartar of freshly in-house ground Strawberry Mt. Or. natural, sustainably raised beef chuck on the inside. With the teleme, white cheese, sauce, in-house made bacon on a perfect bun, every bite was exquisite. The accompanying fries were also a revelation. They were larger rectangles of slightly al dente potato (not necessarily my favorite way to do frites) with a preparation addition that I will forever add to my homemade frites (which are amazing good) to take them to the “next level”. That is, tossing the fries at plating in fresh herbs along with a nice large drizzle of garlic oil.

Cindy – who doesn’t like runny eggs or anything too rare, ordered the rib eye steak medium rare thought her steak was fabulous but too rare. I had a few bites and thought it was perfect. While watching it’s preparation I also got another great flavor building tip as I observed Mark Fuller squeeze a large, fresh lemon over the steak as it seared on the apple wood grill. It added that flavor freshness that was perfect. I’ll add that to my grilling arsenal as well.

In our two visits we have also tried several small plates, the salmon pate, the sweetbreads, seafood plates, the duck, and the tagliatelle, and watched many more prepared and plated. Basically you cannot go wrong if you are adventurous or if you see ingredients you know you like. They know what they are doing. BE ADVENTUROUS!

There are a few two-tops that have an outstanding view of the goings on in the open kitchen and the pass – so one can really learn and enjoy a lot by watching closely what’s going on.

The menu make either a traditional coursing or small shared plates approach work well However, I would really recommend the latter as the menu is loaded with attractively priced sharable small plates of appetizers, raw seafood, cheeses in the $6-14 range that you feel bad about ordering the main courses (which are great) instead of trying 3-4 of the smaller items. The wines are almost all Northwest small makers and are in the $10-12 a glass range by the glass. Or most recent visit included a glass of wine, a small plate each, the steak, the burger, a scoop of ice cream each (the caramel, sea salt was fabulous and will be on my home menu soon) and was $120 including tax and 20% tip. You need to plan $40 plus per person “out the door” to really appreciate what’s going on here. Its well worth the price based on the quality and cost of ingredients as well as the cooking talent you are dealing with.

Spring Hill on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Darce said...

You clearly liked Spring Hill. Why then does your title say "Doesn't Like It" ? Just curious.