Monday, June 27, 2011

One Weekend, Two Happy Hours & A New Breakfast Place

When I heard that a new restaurant (soft opening was June 13th) had effectively stolen the Zig Zag's now nationally recognized bartender, I knew that I needed to try the place out. When I heard that the name, RN74, stood for the Route National 74 in France that borders the burgundy wine country, I was even more intrigued. So, on Friday, Matt and I went to RN74 (1433 4th Avenue, Seattle 98101 or www.michaelmina.net) for happy hour to see what the place was all about.

Happy hour at RN74 is Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 6 pm. I arrived at 4:10 pm and there were a few seats left around the bar. I secured two chairs and ordered a glass of their happy hour white wine, which was a semi-decent, drinkable chardonnay for $5. Within 20 minutes of me sitting down the place was packed. When Matt arrived he ordered a Village Sazerac ($9- not on happy hour special), which was much sweeter than a traditional, NOLA sazerac. Pretty much all of the specialty cocktails at RN74 have some sort of wine or wine reduction incorporated into the recipe, which is a cool idea in keeping with the theme of the restaurant, but could really throw you for a loop if you didn't examine the cocktail menu carefully. That being said, the bar at RN74 is STOCKED with every single kind of infused simple syrup, bitters, french beer and obscure liquor that you can imagine. I've really never seen anything quite like it . . . the kind of place boozy dreams and blurry memories are made of.

The decor at RN74 is also very stylized. It is designed to look like a french train station, which sort of disappointed me because the idea was too much like the decor/theme at Bastille in Ballard. They have gas lights, stop lights and an old fashioned 'train station' board-- the kind that is all black but has the little, Wheel of Fortune-esque tiles that flip over with different white letters on each side. However, in the restaurant it is a 'last bottle board' where they list bottles that are down to the last one in the restaurant and their prices. They had wine bottles from the 1940s and one particular bottle of wine that listed at $745 for the bottle. Needless to say, the owner of this restaurant may have paid a lot of attention to the cocktail menu, but their wine selection is where they really intend to shine . . . and it will cost you to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

We also ordered some food off the bar menu. I ordered the duck confit aranchini ($10) with bing cherry jus: totally delicious and very hearty. A great way to get a quick duck confit fix with out spending an arm and a leg to enjoy a full meal. We also ordered the pommes frites (see picture below) with a trio of dips: sour apple, cherry ketchup and basil aioli. Fries were well seasoned and decently good (nothing special though) on their own, but the dips made them more fun and interesting. I think our favorite was the cherry ketchup, the basil aioli didn't really taste like basil and the sour apple was okay, but not as good as the other two.



I would love to go to RN74 for an actual dinner at some point, when I have some serious cash to blow, but for now I am happy we tried out happy hour: mostly because the duck confit arancini was THAT good. I will also say that the bar seemed severely understaffed and we were often waiting for service and trying to flag down the staff for a refill, to order food and even for our check: not cool. Maybe the service at the dinner tables is better.

After checking out the new bar in town, we were still hungry and decided to go to an old Seattle staple, Morton's Steakhouse (1511 6th Avenue, Seattle 98101), for what I think are the best sliders in town (see photo below). The sliders are made with high quality beef, the perfect amount of cheese and are only $6 a plate. Sign me up, right? They also have drink specials on martini's . . . vodka, gin, cosmos and a few other standbys are only $7 each. Did I mention that Morton's is a block and a half from my office? If you are having a beef craving, this is the place to go.


Friday night was spent downtown drinking, eating and seeing 'Bad Teacher' with Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz. (Just so you know, the movie was decently funny, but definitely a renter and not a see-in-the-theater type of flick). However, Sunday morning was spent lazing around the house and then deciding to find a new brunch place to try out. We had been going to the same two places over and over again for well over a year and we decided it's time to expand the old repertoire. Last weekend we went to Pete's Egg Nest in Greenwoood-- HUGE portions and decent food, barring an unfortunate piece of paper or something we found in Matt's coffee. But this weekend we decided to try out The Dish in Ballard (4358 Leary Way NW, Seattle 98107 or www.thedishseattle.com).

The Dish is next to Anita's Crepes, which I have blogged about before, and The Leary Traveler (where I have spent several boozy nights at the hands of the bartender and my GHHS classmate, Kyle). The Dish is super small and cozy, and has a family picnic kind of vibe to it. When you sit down they bring you your water in brightly colored, tupperware tumbler cups and the sodas come in the can. We were originally going to order breakfast, but the lunch menu looked so good (and I had a ridiculous craving for a BLT) that we ordered lunch food and I am glad that we did. Matt ordered the Jen's sandwich ($9.50), which consists of: spicy chicken, bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, red onion, tomato and ranch dressing on a roll. I tasted his sandwich, and I was jealous. My BLT ($8.95) was pretty delicious, but the Jen's was GOOD. Both sandwiches came with your choice of potato sides, but we ordered Tim's potato chips . . .which, of course, came in the bag. Our total lunch bill at The Dish, including tax and tip, was $30. Not too shabby. I think we'll definitely add this one to our rotation.