I seriously considered changing the location of this week’s Thursday dinner. I’m not sure why. I had no preemptive negative feelings toward Emmer & Rye. I just didn’t feel like making the trip up Queen Anne hill. Yes, I know it’s a five minute trip, but it’s cold outside. I didn’t feel like taking a chance on someplace new. Afterall, there must be someplace close to home, someplace reliable that I haven’t written about, right? I’m sure there is, but the day got away from me and before I knew it, the time of our reservation was closing in on us and we were somewhat obligated to Emmer & Rye.
It’s was a crazy week. I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, but I just didn’t think much about this week’s dinner. Normally I look forward to it for days. This week has just been one dose of chaos at a time and there hasn’t been much time to think about it. B and I also booked a trip to Ireland for the first week in March and we’ve been busy getting ready for that on top of unusually busy work schedules. There are strange things to take care of. B discovered his passport was expired, we needed to order voltage converters, there were doctor appointments to be made since I get sick every time I fly… nothing major, but all details that added up and need to be handled. Dinner this week just sort of snuck up on me.
By the time we arrived at Emmer & Rye and scored parking right across the street (one of the benefits of eating as early as we do), I was just going with the plan… not particularly excited. I meant to take a photo of the outside on our way out, but I got a little preoccupied with running across the street without getting run down by traffic. As soon as I saw the outside, though, I became more enthusiastic. Emmer & Rye is located in a large old two story house, complete with front porch. B and I both had the same thought. It reminded us a lot of Pope House Bourbon Lounge in Portland. The two couldn’t be more different, but they looked quite similar as you walked up to the door.
It seems like a lot of restaurants in Seattle are in old homes. I like the idea, but I don’t particularly like it when they go to great lengths to make the inside look like this wasn’t the case. Emmer & Rye has definitely maintained the integrity of the space.
I was a little surprised at how busy they were so early in the evening. Definitely a good sign. Everyone we encountered from the first moment was super friendly. I know it might seem a bit obvious that a restaurant staff should be friendly, but it’s not as frequent an occurrence as one might think. There are plenty of restaurants with cordial, polite or professional staff, but to me, friendly denotes something a bit different, a bit more sincere.
They sat us right next to the front window. If it was summer, I would have been thrilled with the seat, but it was so cold and the inside of Emmer & Rye looked so warm and inviting. I wanted to explore a little and see further inside. It’s a good reason to return, though. We did have perfectly lovely seats.
B doesn’t often offer for us to split a bottle of wine, so I was a little surprised when he did. We chose a bottle of Hestia Cellars Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc is B’s latest gateway wine. When we met he would only drink the sweetest German Reisling. Little by little over the years, we’ve moved the needle and while he’s still partial to the super sweet, there are a few less sweet that he enjoys now. We don’t often agree on wine, but this one was a good fit for both of us.
We started our meal with the Farro fries with sage-yoghurt dipping sauce. I wasn’t honestly all that impressed with my first bite. They seemed a little bland. They got better with each bite, though, and the dipping sauce was wonderful. B liked them from first taste. He even liked the dipping sauce. Surprising since he normally really dislikes yogurt based sauces.
Their menu stood out to me for one very specific reason. They have a variety of portion sizes on their menu. For starters, you can choose either tasting size or appetizer size. Entrees can be chosen in full or half portions. Even desserts are available this way. We both ordered the full sized portions with every intention of having food to take home. We didn’t so much make it home with leftovers. I had the chicken with grilled mushroom, galette potatoes, wilted greens, black truffle aioli. B ordered the cider braised pork shoulder, root vegetables and rosemary-bacon potatoes.
Both were delicious. Mine was a little hard to eat without dissecting. I would have liked to blend the flavors a little better, but each individual aspect was wonderful all on it’s own. B’s pork shoulder was absolutely incredible. He didn’t even need a knife. Although I often lament the fact that he won’t eat vegetables (this limits our sharing options dramatically), once in awhile it works in my favor. I get to eat his carrots, mushrooms and other foods I love that he finds distasteful. They were delicious.
For dessert we shared the chocolate pot de creme with caramel corn on top. I loved it and probably could have eaten another all on my own. B still likes the pot de creme at Barracuda better, but I don’t really consider the two anything alike, so I can love them both equally.
Our server was awesome, the space is warm and inviting, the food was fantastic. I don’t have an unkind word to say about Emmer & Rye. Dinners like this one are the very reason we do Thursday night dinner. In a city like Seattle with all its richness of and variety of amazing food, it becomes all too easy to get stuck in a rut and keep returning to the same places week after week. What a waste that would be when there are new and amazing jewels hidden all over the Emerald City.