Suspending Judgment {Blackboard Bistro}

As much as I’ve talked about me and B not being Eastside people, we also don’t visit West Seattle often. West Seattle is a strange place. With Alki Beach in the neighborhood, it can be a lot of fun, possessing a real beach town vibe. There are also some rougher areas of West Seattle. As we’ve discovered, there are places you don’t want to spend a lot of time. Usually if we venture over the bridge, it’s to visit Alki. We’ve been to Prost! and Spring Hill. Both were a disappointment.

As it’s Valentine’s Day week and B was also leaving Thursday for his annual snowboarding trip, we had our Thursday night dinner on Wednesday night. I’d been following Blackboard Bistro on Twitter for awhile and they looked and sounded promising. Based on their website, I was expecting something similar to Bastille. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I admit, when we walked into Blackboard Bistro, I became a bit hesitant. The space is tiny (which is never a drawback for me), but it had the same slightly old building smell that Tilikum Place Cafe had. I understood right away that they’re trying for a French bistro feel, but it just doesn’t quite work. The odd radiator style space heaters placed in various spots around the restaurant, the garish black and white striped booths, walls trying to be gold but looking more beige and the out of place industrial carpeting all add up to a bit of a strange effect. The blackboard theme and the tiny adorable bar, though, are both very endearing. Still, I jumped to a premature conclusion that the meal wouldn’t go well. I say all of this up front to get the drawbacks out of the way. This was the end of what I didn’t like about Blackboard Bistro.

I don’t know how many different ways I can say it, but I place just as high a value on friendliness and sincerity in service as I do on attentiveness or precision. Our server at Blackboard Bistro was super friendly and she set us both at ease right away. Everyone I observed around us seemed to fit the same bill. One of the big benefits of such a tiny space when you’re trying to get a feel for a restaurant is that you really can see and hear everything that’s going on around you.

Our server let us know everything on their menu was entree sized. She brought bread to the table with brown butter and pumpkin seeds. B and I decided to split two entrees, the duo of Lamb with crispy kale and Brats with polenta and red cabbage. No photos for these. Sadly, they came out far too dark to use. Trust me when I say they both looked absolutely beautiful.

One bite of the lamb meatball and every bit of hesitation I had about Blackboard Bistro went out the window. Everything was fantastic. I especially loved the crispy kale. The flavors all went together beautifully and the portion sizes were perfect to share the two. Of course there was room for dessert, though!

For dessert, we chose the molten chocolate cake wtih peanut butter ganache and currant ice cream. B has a bit of a funny history with currants. He hates them, but I’m not sure he’s ever actually eaten one. I convinced him the combo would be a little like peanut butter and jelly, though, so he went for it.

I could have eaten a whole pint of that ice cream! It was so, so good! And there really aren’t enough words to decribe the peanut butter ganache and the whole flavor combo in general. So delicious! 

I like to be right as much as the next person, especially when it comes to my first impressions. I must admit, though, when it comes to first thoughts on Blackboard Bistro, I was completely off. Sometimes, the perfect ambiance isn’t anything. I’ve had enough diappointing meals in a perfectly designed space to know this. Blackboard Bistro is charming in it’s eclectic imperfections. I don’t know when we’ll visit again, but that’s just a matter of location. I’d gladly recommend them to anyone looking for great food in West Seattle.

Blackboard Bistro on Urbanspoon


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