Tom Douglas - Etta & Serious Pie

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 
If you read this blog, you know that hubs and I had made our way to Emerald City last month and that we ate some amazing food.  Prior to our arrival, I knew that I wanted to eat at any Tom Douglas restaurant because of his influence in the city.  Not to mention, he is kind of a genius when it comes to seafood, which I adore.
We made our way to Etta's in the Public Market around 7 for our reservations.  We were seated early - which was great because the restaurant was packed - and escorted us to a booth in the corner by the bar.  The restaurant was very dark - my only complaint - because though I love having the atmosphere, it made for taking photos horrific.  So I apologize in advance - they are not even close to showcasing how great the food actually was.  But I had to tell you how great the food was because it was some of the best food I've ever had.  You need to check out the website because the photos will make you drool.

We each started off with a glass of wine and noshed on the warm bread as we perused the menu.  I wanted oysters, sashimi, crab cakes...I wanted it all.  Douglas is famous for his crab cakes - so you think that would be an easy decision.  But I didn't know if I wanted it as an appetizer or for dinner. In the end, we settled on it as an appetizer and I couldn't have been happier.  These were the best crab cakes I've had.  There wasn't a lot of fill - it was all crab meat.  There was a mild crunch from diced red peppers, but really, holding it together was the crab.  It was lightly breaded on each side to give the saute pan something to grasp onto.  They were smaller in size and served with a green cocktail sauce.  To be honest, it didn't need the sauce, just a squirt of lemon.  Don't get me wrong, the sauce was great, but those crab cakes stood on their own and didn't need anything.

Dinner arrived shortly after I finished gushing about how great our appetizer was.  Hubs ordered the Alaskan Halibut - and yes, it was phenomenal.  He had ordered the smaller size and immediately regretted it after the first bite (as did I, because I wouldn't have felt bad to ask for a second bite!)  Simply seasoned, it was the best cut of halibut one could have.  Fresh, tender and perfectly cooked, it was served with smashed potatoes.  Normally, hub goes for these potatoes immediately, but he didn't even touch them until the halibut was cleared from the plate.  This is a must try for you or someone at the table when you dine here.

I decided (after being reassured my our wonderful server that it was fantastic) to order a house special - the "rub with love" salmon.  The Wild Coho Salmon was breathtaking.  The spices (don't think heat) were rubbed into this fine piece of salmon before being grilled.  It flaked easily with a fork - cooked perfectly - which is so refreshing after trying some not so great salmon here in the Midwest (coastal cities know how to do it, and Tom Douglas is a master and has taught his staff well.)  It was perfect on its own - but when paired with the shiitake relish on top, it was even better.  The mushrooms gave it an earthy element which played well with the variety of spices on the fish.  Underneath were crisp green beans and a cornbread pudding that was the best cornbread pudding money could buy. And portions were generous for me as I sopped up every last bite not wanting to waste a single memory of this food.

For dessert, we opted to share the triple coconut cream pie.  It is great to know that chef's who excel in some great seafood also excel in some great sweets.  This pie was not overly sweet or strong in coconut flavor.  Don't get me wrong, you can taste the coconut, but it was creamy yet crunchy with the slivers of white chocolate.  Honestly, it was the perfect ending as it wasn't heavy like our meals.  With fresh whipped cream, this will be a pie to remember!

Etta's - a must try - but Douglas has many other restaurants in Seattle as well.  We did head to Serious Pie too - a pizza establishment.  I wasn't as impressed (the dough was salty for me) but it was still good.  That restaurant was (once again) extremely dark so my photos REALLY did not show up.  Which is unfortunate because the food was beautiful.  We had a great appetizer involving speck and thinly sliced Parmesan (see below) and hubs enjoyed a buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomato pizza.  His pizza won over my taste buds and our friendly "who has the better dinner" competition, but my Penn Cove clam pizza with pancetta (pictured below) was also delicious.  I even had good intention of splitting dessert, but I somehow consumed the rice pudding with apples and caramel/cinnamon sauce to myself.  I also discovered hubs isn't a fan of rice pudding, but only after I had selected it.  Oh well, my tummy was grateful for sure.

2020 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 443-6000

Serious Pie
316 Virginia
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 838-7388

If you've been to Seattle - where would you say has the best seafood?  Have you dined at a Tom Douglas restaurant?