Friday, May 22, 2015

Marjorie - Seattle

What's in a name?  For me, a lot.  Maybe it's the teacher in me; memories of a good kid or not-so-good kid can predispose me to an opinion.  The only Marjorie I ever had in class was just as sweet as sugar, so I came into Marjorie - the restaurant - with high expectations.  (A teacher should always have high expectations, though, right?).  While the restaurant doesn't dot her i's with a heart, this place did not disappoint.

We arrived 45 minutes early for our reservation on Friday May 8th, and almost without even approaching a hostess, we were greeted with a warm smile.  The option for outdoor or indoor seating was given, but how could we pass up the chance to sit outside on a beautiful evening in Seattle?  The patio is not in the sunlight, but with the heaters, it was comfortable all night. The metal chairs were colorful, the feel was cozy, and the lights set the mood for a lovely evening.

Well, hello there, Patio. Sure, I'll take a seat. Thank you.
Menu posted on the window.

As our menus were handed to us, we immediately ordered a full order of plantain chips with guacamole and added the bay shrimp ceviche. According to the reviews I read prior to our visit, this is a must.  The plantain chips were great - not greasy, not too sweet, not too salty - the perfect vehicle for getting food in my mouth. The guac was artfully presented and the taste was a fresh delight. I think next time I'll skip the ceviche though; Bay shrimp just isn't my thing.  Want to try these plantains and don't have time to get over to Marjorie for a meal?  Hop on over to Whole Foods to find them!  In fact, while you're at it, head on over to the Marjorie website for the guacamole recipe too!! 

Picture Perfect - Eat with your eyes first!

After the plantains, we picked a few other starters to get the night rolling.  Yeah, I wanted to order everything, but alas, I had to choose.  

Burrata is my first choice, hands down, every time it's offered, and tonight is no different.  I equate burrata to a rich molten chocolate cake, but made of cheesy goodness. I can't overstate the deliciousness of their Gioia Burrata with grilled king oyster mushrooms.  Usually I try to leave the last bite for someone else in my group (can't seem too eager, you know), but I feel sure I had more than my share of this plate.  Love!  

Next came the large order of Grilled Octopus.  I don't know when I became such a fan, I can hardly stop myself from ordering it lately.  (If you're sensing self-control issues, so did my first grade teacher.  Some things never change).  Luckily our friends were equally enthralled with the choice. This plate could have been a meal on its own, with the marble potato, watercress, marcona almonds, and pickled shallot.  It was a nice, sturdy combo. 

Our final app of the evening was the King Salmon Crudo. My single best bite was a crudo at Anchovies and Olives nearby, so I'm always on the hunt for a good crudo, and this one was gorgeous. Add some blood orange, red onion, cured olives, with a bit of fresno chili, and there you have it!  A decent palate cleanser before the main plates appear, too.

After the appetizers and our initial catching-up-on-life conversations, we had a chance to look around and take in the atmosphere.  Dear Ben snapped a pic of the kitchen on his way to the bathroom.  He sent several other pictures of the actual bathroom too.  He was a fan of the record player.  You'll have to see for yourself, I suppose. 

We asked our kind server what she liked the best off of the menu, and she said, though it seems trite, she loves the pizza.  The current combination did have some allure (nettle pesto, baby artichokes, pecorino, olive, vin cotto, and arugula), but none of us took her suggestion.  

Dear Ben and Friend Priscilla went big for the burger, The True Burger, adding the aged white cheddar.  Friend Priscilla ordered her meat medium well and Dear Ben ordered it as the chef recommends, which is on the rare side of medium-rare (aka "rare roadkill," according to Friend Priscilla).  Each wished the meat arrived a little bit more in the middle, but it didn't stop them eating most of the plate.  

I just could not decide what I wanted.  I was strongly leaning toward the Spring Vegetable Fettuccine or the Neah Bay Halibut. I gave the server the third degree:  Which dish has more flavor?  Which dish is more popular?  She was steering my toward the pasta, but I chose the halibut.  

Thank goodness Friend David ordered the pasta and was generous enough to share a bite. That's how you know you've got a true friend.  I actually preferred that homemade dish of thick fettuccine, almost pappardelle, to the halibut.  The taste of springtime in those sweet English peas and baby artichokes, combined with the innovative twist of the chickpea puree with Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, white wine, and butter.  That dish, on a night like this one, was pure perfection.  In fact, Friend Priscilla notes that when her Dear David really loves his dish, he will scrape up any last remnants from the plate, and that's just what he did! I'll go out on a limb, and advise you to order whatever pasta dish they have on the menu.  They obviously know what they're doing. 

With all of that praise of the pasta, I should also say that my halibut was terrific.  Just comparatively, it had a heavier feel, with the acidity of the tomatoes, the buttery melted leeks, and the Fiddlehead Ferns (guess where those cute things are in the picture?).  Here's your food education of the day - these delectable additions are full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and are high in iron and fiber - and in real life, they have a nice kick of flavor that I quite enjoyed.  

And dessert... Friend Priscilla says it's a must.  "Always," she says.  How can you argue with that?  So, we picked two.  I am fundamentally against bread pudding; so much, I can hardly type the words.  I had a bad experience with it probably 15 years ago, and I'm not over it.    Friend David gave me a hard time, "Bread with bourbon? What's not to like?!"  I have to admit, when you put it that way, my aversion does seem silly, so I bucked up and tried it.  Ok, ok, it was good.  Brioche bread with bourbon caramel, toffee, and cream.  What's not to like?  It's pictured in the bowl.

Now, a S'more.  My favorite, favorite, and with Espresso - Yes, please! House graham, espresso-dark chocolate cremeux, and a marshmallow brûlée. Just the words alone might have me dancing!  Both desserts were spectacular. Thank goodness, Friend Priscilla is a dessert girl! 

As we got up from the table, I turned to take a quick last glance at Marjorie.  It was a nice night, with a delicious meal from start to finish, and such wonderful company.  Good Night, Miss Marjorie... Till next time. 

Marjorie on Urbanspoon

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