Restaurant Name: Spring Hill
Restaurant Location: 4437 California Avenue SW, West Seattle, WA
Well, I have been hearing about Spring Hill from my friends and family in Seattle (see other reviews on this site, in fact) for about two years now. The effusive use of enthusiastic adjectives in their descriptions of the food have long made me sad that I haven't had the opportunity to visit the restaurant. Then, in a recent issue of Food and Wine, Spring Hill was written up as having one of the best new chefs of 2009.
And, finally, this week, I got a chance to eat there. In all fairness, my expectations were high.
I was dining with two other bloggers on this site (Steve and Cindy), both of whom had eaten at--and loved--Spring Hill on many previous occasions.
Dear reader: I am sorry to report this, but the evening we dined at Spring Hill was a lazy night in their kitchen....a disappointment to be sure.
We all started our dinner with some small plates: a Kampachi tartare with salmon roe, a Duck Egg yoke Raviolo, and a serving of Bread and Butter (which, yes, you have to pay for here). Each of these, while tasty, had off-elements. The Kampachi tartare was beautiful, but the chef had missed patches of skin on the underside--a jarring visual and textural element. With the duck egg raviolo, the egg is supposed to be poached and runny but was, unfortunately, set by the time it arrived at the table (despite a specific request for a very runny egg). And the bread was, I am sorry to say it, tough and dry (though the butter was delicious).
A little daunted, we headed into the entrees. I ordered the half Dungeness crab with warm butter and lemon (which was messy as hell, but tasted good, if dull) and Cindy and Steve both ordered the burger.
The Spring Hill burger is $17, so certain expectations are present. It should, for example, be cooked to the ordered temperature. It should be something special, not just another burger. But, it was just another burger and in both cases, overcooked. More disappointment.
I hope very much that this was just an unfortunate off-night at the restaurant rather than a more dire problem (e.g. the place is resting on its laurels, the chef is bored, the staff poorly trained). Given the rave reviews this place has garnered, I'd even be willing to give it another try and hope for better. But, be warned, Spring Hill is teetering.