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Spoiled in Seattle: When Good Food Isn’t Good Enough {Betty}

October 16, 2010

B and I both have great jobs. They are not easy jobs, though. There are times of year when we each run at full speed from before sunrise until well after sunset for a week or longer. Fortunately, these times rarely coincide, leaving one person to attend to our home life. B prefers when we’re in this situation at the same time (no envy from one or frustration from the other). I disagree. Someone has to unload the dishwasher. This week was a good test of who is right. While I started every day by 5:00AM (and didn’t end until well after 6:00PM at the earliest), the second half of B’s week was filled by evening events. The condo is a disaster and we’ve hardly seen each other, but the week has flown by.

Last night I accompanied him to his event at Ethan Stowell’s, Tavolata. Anyone who really knows food in Seattle has, at the very least, heard of Ethan Stowell. Though Tavolata is the only one of his restaurants I have visited (they are all on the schedule soon), his reputation precedes him. I was uncertain what the food would be like since even the best restaurant sometimes struggles to produce quality food on a fixed menu for large groups. Experiencing a restaurant for the first time in this manner can quickly jeopardize one’s opinion. Fortunately, we’d visited Tavolata once before (a long time ago) and enjoyed it, so this wasn’t a real danger. Much to my very pleasant surprise, the banquet food at Tavolata was excellent. The Caprese salad was one of the best (AH-MAZING mozzarella) I’ve had anywhere. It was quite an effort not to go back for seconds (or thirds).

This is all a very long way of saying that this week’s Thursday Night Bite happened on a Friday. Tonight we visited Betty in Queen Anne. I wasn’t feeling super confident about Betty, for no particular reason. I often develop an opinion of something or somewhere before actually experiencing it based on some trivial impression or incident. I’m pretty sure this tendency has made B want to strangle me on more than one occasion. With Betty, I was put off because they make a point of stating quite boldly on their website that they do not accept reservations via email. I didn’t take issue with the policy; I was annoyed at the phrasing. Why not just say, “Please call for reservations” instead? I realize this is petty. I also realize that I am utterly and completely exhausted and thus a little sensitive. Thanks to several grueling days in a row, I’ve had a bit of a bad attitude this week, but I take politeness very seriously. I did my best to leave my attitude in the car when we arrived.

I always forget that I love Queen Anne. It’s not even a two minute drive for us, but it feels like a whole different world from Belltown. The weather has definitely turned colder in the last few days, and just walking past all of the shops and restaurants in the chilly weather reminded me that sometimes the winter in Seattle isn’t so bad. Of course, it’s not raining tonight, so a few weeks from now, someone will need to remind me that I said that.

We walked in and the first thing I saw was a large homeade sign that said “PLEASE WAIT TO BE SEATED” in HUGE, bold, red and black letters along with a bunch of other smaller, bold text that I didn’t get close enough to read. Ambiance isn’t really Betty’s thing. The actual space is cute. It definitely has a diner feel to me. It reminds B of Branzino, but I think that is likely just because of the wooden booths.The walls are lined with paintings that incorporate their name and the bar in the back is framed by two very pretty backlit stained glass pillars.

We started our meal with the fried green tomatoes and pork belly. I love fried green tomatoes even though I’ve only had them a few times. These were really good. Even B ate them and he generally avoids vegetables at all costs. He said they tasted like those he remembered eating growing up in Kentucky. The pork belly was outstanding. We were off to a running start.

B ordered the steak frites (his default when given the option). He was quick to point out this evening that it really was steak and fries since they were kept separate on the plate. The menu online says Steak Frites.  The printed menu says Steak and Fries.  I guess you get to decide. 

I had the sausage and ratatouille. I’ve never had ratatouille before, but as silly as it sounds, I sort of expected to see something vaguely resembling the Pixar version appear in front of me.  It didn’t.
Both dishes were fine. The sausage had a good texture and was just spicy enough.  B’s steak was also good, but the portion was enormous. We brought home a lot of food. Dessert was absolutely the highlight. We had a maple pecan sundae which was basically a bowl or praline ice cream with a little chocolate and candied pecans.  The ice cream was awesome.
I’ve had better meals. In fact, I usually have better meals. It’s not fair for that to reflect badly on Betty, though.  The food was pleasant, the service was cheerful and attentive, the environment was warm. When it comes down to it, all it really does is highlight how truly fortunate we are to live in a city where we can afford to be critical of a place like this. 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 18, 2010 6:32 pm

    This is the first semi-critical post I've read of yours and I think you're perfectly within reason to be a little put off by their phrasing.Sounds like a decent enough place, though. The dessert looks especially delicious, but I'm a sucker for ice cream and cookies. :)

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