Friday, April 21, 2006

Blackbird Bistro

We eat out occasionally but I rarely write about it because, so often, good ingredients are spoiled by pretentious seasonings or amateur cooking, or pleasant food is tainted by untrained or self-absorbed waitstaff.

So, three cheers for the small, friendly, and highly professional Blackbird Bistro in West Seattle. Their tagline is "local, seasonal & organic flavors" and that pretty much described what we ate, from tasty greens in subtle dressings to manila clams in a nice reduction of butter and proscuitto to a steak with seasoned potatoes. Everything tasted fresh and subtle, including the desserts: vanilla bean ice cream (me) and creme brulee (Zorg).

The Blackbird is mid-size and spacious. Even when it was full (by 6:30 on a Friday evening) the buzz of conversation was not overwhelming. Much of the seating is in high-backed booths, which enhances the sense of relative privacy.

Top marks go to the friendly Blackbird staff, who seemed genuinely interested in how we were doing. They weren't at all put off when our party of four didn't all arrive at the same time. When I remarked that the espresso-infused vodka cocktail garnished with coffee beans I'd ordered was, well, a bit overwhelming, our waitperson offered (twice!) to replace it with a less powerful cocktail. I had to reassure her that it was not a problem.

We certainly have our share of trendy new bistros here in Ballard, but I like the Blackbird Bistro better. The food is far superior to that of Dandelion (and less expensive), and Blackbird is more welcoming and less of a "scene" than the delicious but rather precious Volterra. Chalk one up for West Seattle.

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