Posted on | July 8, 2009 | 6 Comments |
You know you are going to love a restaurant when you are greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne as soon as you walk in the door. That too after you’ve announced that you are just going to wait for 45 minutes till a table at the restaurant next door frees up. Then when you are not pressured by the hovering staff to order something as you wait for the rest of your party to arrive, you really start loving the place. When you feel guilty about the free champagne and order the cheapest item in the menu so that you don’t feel like a total freeloader, and you are still served with a smile, you get a bit more attached. But finally when the order gets there and you get a taste of that generous-sized portion of truffle popcorn ($3), you are head over heels. Nope, you are not going anywhere else, who cares about the pretentious restaurant next door, this is where you are going to dine tonight!
That was my experience with Elemental Next Door aka E.N.D. , the welcome addition to the neighboring room of the famous Elemental restaurant at Gasworks. E.N.D. is owned by the same folks who own Elemental, and their web site says that E.N.D. is what they “originally intended with Elemental: Somewhere you can go to get good simple food, good wine and feel like it was a good value.” If you have ever been to (or tried to get into) Elemental, you know how hard it is to get a table there. We have gone to Elemental many times, but have eaten there only once. We’ve always been too hungry to wait 45-90 minutes to get a table! Now if that happens you can just walk in to E.N.D. next door, I think it is a brilliant concept!
The E.N.D. menu which is scrolled on a big roll of butcher paper in the front of the restaurant (no menus brought to the table here) says – Same Food, Less Attitude. It is such a cozy, laid back place with great ambience. You have to walk up to the front to check the menu and you can walk over to the wine-wall and pick your bottle too. Every wine bottle here – they have about 100 wines per the website – are $30 each and half bottles are available for $15. Menu is divided into Snacks, Planks and Platters. Platters are the entrées and these are available in small and large sizes. There is also an option of the Family Four Course Menu at $30 per person (the website says $40, but if I remember correctly the menu at the restaurant said $30). There aren’t that many items in the menu, but all the dishes are scrumptious, made with fresh ingredients. Our lamb, salmon, duck and vegetarian entrées (all small sizes) were all great.
We also had a few desserts, and the most interesting was the Bacon Truffle! Yep, you heard that right! I had only read about using bacon in desserts and here I got to try it. A chocolate truffle covered with crunchy bacon bits! Loved the texture contrast, but I wasn’t really blown away by the taste, it was interesting, but tasted more like a salty chocolate.
Before I wrap up I have to say that the service was extra-ordinary. Our server(I think he is the manager) was super friendly and helpful. Also, he didn’t even make a face when four drunk and loud girls stayed way too late into the night after everyone else had gone home. E.N.D. is on top of my list of places to go for a relaxed casual dinner in Seattle, I might even use the word favorite if my next visit turns out to be as great as the first one.