Posted on | February 9, 2008 | 17 Comments |
You all must be tired of reading about my birthday by now. It really wasn’t a never ending birthday as some of you thought. Since my birthday is my favorite day of the year, I have been talking about it for a while, so I can see why you would think that. But the celebrations lasted for barely two days, a dinner with friends the night before, and dinner with Siv the birthday night. So I promise, this is the last time you will hear me mention my birthday till next year… Actually this post is not even about my birthday, it is about the dinner we had at the Boka Kitchen and Bar, and it just happened to be on my birthday.
Boka (short for Bold Original Kitchen Artistry) is a sleek, modern lounge/restaurant next to Hotel 1000 on 1st Ave. Siv and I reached there before everybody else, since we live closer. We didn’t want to sit at our large table alone, so we found ourselves two seats at the bar. The place was buzzing with the Friday night crowd, a very New Yorkish downtown bar to hangout with friends on a weekend. The whole place looks very chic and I especially loved the color-shifting mood lighting on the walls.
The cocktail menu was fantastic, a nice selection of signature cocktails at $9 a glass. I tried the Frost – rosemary infused vodka, triple sec, pomegranate and lime juice – and the White Peach Cosmo, both were fantastic, but the Frost especially was out of this world! So I stuck to that for the rest of the night. The guys went for Stoli Elite dirty martinis, at $18.50 a glass, that was the most expensive part of our meal!
While waiting for our friends to arrive, we ordered the Boka poke ($6) – ahi tuna, cubed and served with fresh avocado, vinaigrette and ginger, accompanied by house made taro chips , this was fresh and tasty, but nothing special about it I thought.
By the time we finished a cocktail each and the poke, our friends showed up and we moved to our large table. I am not fond of rectangular tables for large parties, since it is hard to see and talk to everyone, I wish all the restaurants had round or square tables for parties more than 6, but I know it is a space issue, and it is the case with most restaurants. We spent a lot of time on appetizers and drinks before moving on to the main courses. These red wine braised short rib sliders($5 for 3) served on buttermilk biscuits, with horseradish cream was the hit of the night, I don’t even remember how many plates we ordered. Biscuits for sliders is a fantastic idea, melt in the mouth soft, and the beef was so flavorful!
Another appetizer we tried were these sugar cane skewered crab cakes($6 for 2) with fresh herbs and lemongrass aioli. The sugarcane skewers were a nice touch, and crab cakes tasted just fine, but again not extraordinary.
The pear and blue cheese bruschetta ($5.50) with candied pecans served on baguette crostini were really delicious. I absolutely love this combination, and this is is the second restaurant where I have had this dish recently, and both times it was fantastic.
After a bunch of these appetizers and drinks, we moved on to the main courses. I got the pan roasted wild king salmon($29) served atop a creamy yukon potato horseradish gratin, with caramelized baby beets and dill crème fraîche. I am a big salmon fan, and this was a well made dish. The salmon was perfectly seared and roasted, though a bit lacking in flavor on its own, but along with the caramelized beets it was delicious.
M, who was sitting next to me got the bacon and eggs ($13) from the small plates section. The bacon was in fact port braised and crackling pork belly served with sunny-side up quail’s egg and brioche toast. I have declared my love for pork belly many times, I got a taste, and it was fantastic!
Siv got the celery root soup($5) finished with cream shaved Oregon black truffles and truffle oil, which was phenomenal. He also got these pork meatballs in a tomato gravy adorned with pine nuts from the small plates section which I didn’t care for, since I am not a big fan of tomato gravies or meatballs.
Then as usual they brought out a small tart with a birthday candle, and luckily the staff didn’t sing happy birthday. It is fun when it is other people’s birthdays, but I hate it when strangers sing for mine. We were all pretty full by then, so we decided to get just one dessert for the whole table. We got a dessert named chestnuts roasting… ($10) with roasted chestnut cake, chestnut almond baklava and chestnut ice cream. That is a lot of chestnuts in one dish, it wasn’t as good as I expected, but with ten people sharing one dessert, everything tastes just fine.
We had a fantastic night. Boka is a fun place to hang out and have cocktails and bar food, very vibrant and chic, you will have fun here for sure. Perfect place for a happy hour. The food really is mediocre, not bad, but not up there with some of the fine culinary delights Seattle has to offer. But the drinks and the hip ambience more than make up for the so-so food.