Friday, July 24, 2009

Black Bottle - Belltown, Seattle

When we arrived at the Black Bottle Gastro-Tavern in Belltown, I was reminded of an episode of Seinfeld. It’s the one where Jerry made a reservation for a rental car, yet they didn’t have a car available for him. He says, “See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding.” On the bright side, this gave us ample people watching time. Black Bottle is certainly a hip and happening spot.

Once seated, we got to wait a little bit longer for some service. Once our server finally came around, Friend Ed ordered the white sangria, and I ordered a Sakejito. The white sangria was very fruity and smooth. My Sakejito tasted like a regular mojito, and I can’t really complain about that. It’s a very clever name though, which is largely the reason I picked it. Black Bottle has a fully stocked bar, including a long list of "hard-working wines," which are very reasonably priced.

White Sangria & Sakejito

When we were finally able to place our order, the food came fast. And it kept coming! The fried Spanish Olives came out first. They are large green olives stuffed with a cheese and deep fried in a thick batter. While I can’t be sure these are housemade – the breading seemed a bit too perfect, perhaps prepackaged – but they were sure tasty. I loved the spicy kick the Romesco Sauce provided. Dear Ben said they are a “must-try,” and I think why not? They are only five bucks, and you get a decent serving.

Spanish Fried Olives

The House Smoked Wild Boar Ribs were incredible. Friend Jeff tried to pick up a bone, the meat fell off. He picked up another bone, the meat fell off that one too. I’m quietly watching this happen. He impatiently grabs his fork, and finally gets a piece of the meat. In an instant you could see any frustration melt off of his face. The flavor had an intense spice that was like no other ribs. Friend Jeff said they are the best ribs he’s ever had. Friend Ed also agreed that they were the best thing all night. I was only able to sneak away one bite, and I don’t think they are exaggerating.

House-smoked Wild Boar Ribs

The local sausage braised in beer and mustard comes with three different sausages. Friend Ed ate the first one, then Dear Ben and I split the second one. My half was spicy. I loved it; Dear Ben did not. I cut off a bite of the third one, and it had a completely different taste, like something you’d get in Germany rather than Louisiana . Dear Ben liked that one much better. The plate is served with a nice sized heap of arugula with candied walnuts. If you ate this plate by yourself, you’d be full. I don’t know why you’d do that with so many other wonderful choices though.

Local Sausages Beer Mustard Brasied

I tried the Grilled Lamb and Sumac Hummus next. This plate had a little bit of everything: two grilled lamb kebabs, sumac hummus topped with toasted pine nuts, tzatziki sauce, a baby olive salad, and several slices of thicker and crunchier pita bread. While I loved all of the Mediterranean flavors, the lamb was overcooked. This was overall our least favorite dish of the night.

Grilled Lamb and Sumac Hummus

Not to worry though, here comes the Prosciutto and Béchamel Flatbread. Do I even have to tell you how decadent it was? The creamy béchamel was center stage, so it overshadowed the prosciutto strips a bit. There was just an essence of the salty prosciutto flavor. Friend Jeff said that if were coming again for drinks and one plate, this is the one he might pick. I think I’d like to taste the Smoked Chicken and Cherry Flatbread. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Prosciutto and Béchamel Flatbread

The Bacon Lemon Scallops and Frizzled Kale were oh, so delicious. I was hoping someone at the table wouldn’t like scallops so I could have an extra one; there were four on the plate. No such luck, so I savored every perfectly cooked bite. I’ve tried making bacon wrapped scallops at home, and I’ve never been able to master the crispy bacon outside with the barely opaque scallop inside. Fortunately, Black Bottle has this concept down. The accompanying kale was raw with a lemony finish.
Bacon Lemon Scallops and Frizzled Kale

The Natural Hanger Steak was served cold. Friend Jeff wasn’t a fan of the temperature, but the steak was prepared nicely at a medium rare. I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. The soy based sauce had one of those addicting flavors that kept me coming back. The plate is also served with shredded and marinated daikon, which is a large white East Asian radish. It didn’t soak up the sauce like a scoop of rice would, so I didn’t eat much more than a bite of it. Though tasty, I’ll skip this one next time in favor of something a bit more exciting.

Natural Hanger Steak and Daikon/Shiso

I had forgotten all about the Prosciutto and Potato Wheels until they were delivered near the end of the meal. This is an interesting little dish. It looked to me like they took a strip of potato skin, spooned in some mashed potatoes, and rolled it up. Then, the prosciutto was wrapped around the potato wheel and baked. What’s not to love? It was topped with a sweet balsamic sauce and green bell pepper pieces.

Prosciutto and Potato Wheels

Finally, the item I was most anxious to try, the Broccoli Blasted. Basically, it’s broccoli blasted at a high temperature in the oven until the ends are burned. I liked the crispy nature of the florets - I would have never thought to do such a thing. Was this dish created by accident, I wonder? The broccoli was simply seasoned with salt and a touch of lemon, and that was enough for me. Friends Jeff and Ed wished there were more to it though.
Broccoli Blasted

All of the plates were beginning to disappear, and soon our server was back to see if we were interested in dessert. I think Friend Jeff was amazed that I was going to order dessert. I picked the Lemon Curd Ricotta Cake with a Lavender Crust. It was a small round ricotta based cheesecake covered with a tart lemon curd. The lemon gave the otherwise non-descript ricotta cake just enough zest to make this a very pleasing dessert. It was just sweet enough, and I loved the fact that you could actually taste the lavender in the crust.

Lemon Curd Ricotta Cake with a Lavender Crust

There were four people at the table, and I think that entitles us to at least two desserts. Friend Ed picked the Peach and Blueberry Kettle Tart with Fresh Cream. The server probably should have mentioned that the tart takes twenty minutes to bake, but worth the wait if you have the time. The dessert literally comes to your table in a mini cast-iron skillet fresh from the oven. The fresh cream isn’t whipped, and it’s delivered alongside the skillet in a very cute milk glass. We poured about half on top. I can’t really say what the cream did for this dessert though. At this point, I was seriously stuffed. I was only able to eat a few bites, but they were a few very good bites – especially the pastry crust.

Peach and Blueberry Kettle Tart with Fresh Cream

I will definitely come back to Black Bottle Gastro-Tavern. They have an impressive menu with a wide array of interesting food and drink offerings. There’s something for everyone. While we did get off to a slow start, the food made up for it over and over again. Go! If you have to wait, take a few deep breaths, and know that it’s all going to be worth it soon. Trust me, there’s something wonderful going on in their kitchen!

…and those are my Notes from the Napkin!

Black Bottle
2600 1st Avenue (at Vine)
Seattle, Washington 98121

Black Bottle on Urbanspoon


  1. This is one of my best friend Erin's favorite places. She and her friends go all the time :) I'm so glad you liked it!

  2. I loved what you did here, specially this type of cream. I think you're a good chief, and also you have talent to be a good blogger, an special blogger. I think we can't ignore the crispy power, I mean everything which this characteristic has been loving me since a lot time ago. Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing all this imagines with us, just look delicious!

  3. excellent food-wonderful ambience